Sports Canadian Children Favour the Most

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Did you ever think as a parent about which of many available sports activities are the most popular among kids here, in Canada? You probably did some research before discussing with with your kid(s) about what sport or sports they wanted to try playing.

Canada is known as hockey nation, but according to statistical research “hockey is only the fourth most popular sport in this country, with 531,000 kids participating annually”(1). It is not the lack of love for this tough sport that is stopping kids from joining and participating in  hockey programs, but rather the high cost of this activity. “The average cost for a child to be play hockey in Canada is $1,666 annually—making it the second-most expensive organized sport in Canada” (2). Expensive equipment, which kids constantly grow out off, tournaments that require traveling and possible overnight hotel staying contribute to the high cost of this national sport. This may be surprising but dance is more popular than hockey, with 625,000 kids participating in  in dance programs (1).

Soccer is the leading team sport in Canada among both, girls and boys, with more than 750,000 kids as part of soccer programs (1). Availability, undeniable health benefits and relatively low cost (unless kid joins a competitive soccer program) makes soccer very popular for kids from 3 to 17 years of age. Availability of indoor soccer fields makes it all year round sport of preference for many Canadian kids.

The number one organized sport, that can be individual or team, and “more than 1.1 million Canadian kids are part of a swimming program” (1). What makes it so popular? The strongest reason is the cost, which comes to “$408 annually to put a child in swimming in this country—about a quarter of the cost of hockey” (1). Ability to swim is considered a valuable safety life skill  and parents don’t hesitate to agree with child’s wish to swim. After all, water always has been one of the favourite environments for kids to be around from a young age. Kids can learn to swim before they can learn to walk!

While talking about the most popular sports by numbers of participants, it’s important to keep in mind that numbers split not equally between girls and boys. According to research, “more girls aged 3-17 are registered in dance, ballet and gymnastics (24% of all girls) than girls participating in all team sports combined (22%)”, thus girls prefer the individual sports rather than team sports. Even though it seems like the girls’ hockey is on the rise, the sports like basketball, volleyball, and trampoline still ahead of it (2).

Despite the ranks of popularity, always consider your child’s choice (and your financial ability to cover the cost), because commitment is easy when your child enjoys the sport/activity, and s/he will surely benefit from it not only physically but emotionally as well!