11 Offbeat Activities for Kids

Children jump roping.

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Soccer, gymnastics, spinning in circles till they get dizzy and fall down—these are a few of the most popular ways kids can stay active. But what about the kid who doesn't want to join the soccer team or do cartwheels in a room that smells like feet? What about the kids who want to try something a little different? Here is a list of 11 activities that might appeal to adventurous kids who aren't into your typical team sports.

1. Slack Lining 

Slack lining is like tight rope walking, only it's done about a foot off the ground. A great way for your kids to work on their balance (and persistence), slack lines can be set up in your backyard or tied between two trees at the park.

2. Unicycling 

It's not a trike, it's half a bike! Unicycling is a challenging and unique way for kids to get around. They even make unicycles sized for children as young as three, so no excuses, little Tommy. Now hop on your unicycle and head to preschool.

3. Circus Camp 

Circus camp?! Yes, circus camp! There are more of these out there than you would think, and they sound like more fun than a barrel of monkeys wearing pants and smoking cigars. Some of these camps can get your kids on a flying trapeze, teach them how to wind their way through an aerial silk routine, or build on their silliness by turning them into clowns. 

4. Cup Stacking

I have no idea when this became a thing, but cup stacking is all the rage at my kids' elementary school. The idea is to stack and unstack cups as quickly as you can in different patterns and shapes. It takes a lot of hand-eye coordination and will appeal to competitive kids who will want to keep beating their best times.

5. Hacky Sack

If you went to college, you probably saw (or were in) that one group of kids who would stand in a circle outside the cafeteria and pass a small beanbag around using only their feet. Hacky sack is harder than it looks, and it's a fun way for kids to work on their coordination.

6. Bird Watching

If your kids love animals, this is a great way to get them out in nature and moving around. You can even turn it into a scavenger hunt. They'll love checking off the different kinds of birds they see.

7. Geocaching

Kids aren't usually too keen on activities that don't have some kind of end goal. And what could be a more exciting goal than finding a hidden treasure? In geocaching (you can sign up online for free) you get directions and clues on your phone to find a hidden object in your neighborhood. When you find it, you mark it down and then put it back for the next geocacher. It's a great community-based activity that will challenge and thrill your kids.

8. Boogie Boarding

Besides being fun to say, boogie boarding is a great option for kids who love the water. It's similar to surfing, but instead of standing up you lie on the board and ride the waves. It's surfing for the balance-challenged! 

9. Fencing

On guard! Fencing combines your kid's love of swords (because what kid doesn’t love a sword?) with the discipline of a sport that dates back to the 15th century. It's also much safer than one would think—the blades aren't sharp, and fencers wear masks and other protective clothing. Plus, the goal is to tap your opponent, not stab them. Allez! Parry! Engage!

10. Archery

Indulge their inner Katniss by signing your child up for archery lessons. Not only do they get to shoot a bow and arrow (which is awesome), but they also learn how to focus and work on their patience.

11. Jumping Rope

This long-time schoolyard activity is a great cardio workout. Kids can add tricks, jump to their favorite songs, or get a few friends involved and try some double-dutch. Jumping rope is versatile, inexpensive (supplies needed= jump rope), and can entertain kids for hours.

Looking for more offbeat activity ideas for your kids? ACTIVE Advantage members receive a 15 percent discount on private lessons from music teachers, art instructors, academic tutors and more with TakeLessons. Lessons are available in-home, in-studio or online, and TakeLessons offers a 100 percent money back guarantee if you're not satisfied with your first lesson.

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About the Author

Meredith Bland

Meredith Bland is a freelance writer whose work has appeared at Brain, Mother; Narratively; The Rumpus; Time.com; Scary Mommy, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Meredith Bland is a freelance writer whose work has appeared at Brain, Mother; Narratively; The Rumpus; Time.com; Scary Mommy, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

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