Basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer – they’re what comes to mind for many families when they think about sports, but there are so many more fun and unique physical activities for kids in this city. If you’d like to try something new, consider a little cross-training with these different sports.
Got a swimmer who wants more than just endless lengths of front crawl? Synchronized swimming at the Ottawa Synchro club is a fun alternative. Ages 5 and up can have fun learning the basic moves and experiencing the joy of moving to music in water. If they get really hooked, move up to the competitive level and learn how to work as a team and compete across the province.
UCUA Ultimate Frisbee
Ottawa has one of the biggest ultimate Frisbee leagues in the world, and with good reason—it’s like all the best parts of soccer, football, and basketball rolled into one. Players pass the disc up the field and try to score by catching in the end zone; as a co-ed sport, it’s contact-free and has a surprisingly laid-back, friendly vibe that stems from no referees or penalties. Kids aged eight and up are placed on a team that’s local and matches their skill level.
Huntley Curling Club Youth League
It’s practically Canada’s (other) national game on ice, and there’s no question we own the sheet when it comes to international competition. Give your little future curler a start with the youth league at Huntley Curling Club. Kids as young as eight can get started throwing rocks and learning the basics of sweeping, and for a full year of weekly games, it’s one of the best values for sports around.
Did you know there’s a super cool dirt track for BMX biking in Nepean? Located just off of Strandherd west of Greenbank, it’s run by volunteers who are passionate about biking. There’s a weekly racing event for multiple age groups (with prizes!) and training is offered to those who’d like to get into the sport. There’s a racing clinic this weekend and weekly events run into October—check their Facebook page for details.
Ottawa River Runners Kayaking
We think it’s pretty awesome to learn how to kayak on the Ottawa River itself—and the coolest place to launch is from the Ottawa River Runners’ location at The Pumphouse, the Fleet Street Pumping Station outlet right downtown, which provides a Level 2 white water experience. Classes begin at age 10 and while spring and summer camps and classes are available, there are also winter pool sessions.
Build character, fitness, and self-confidence with martial arts. We think you’ll love Karate Fit at the World Karate FIT Centre because kids and parents can train side by side. The whole family can learn to increase focus and work towards a goal, while getting stronger and keeping active.
Ottawa Children Fencing School
En garde! Ages eight and up can learn how to wield a sword like their favourite literary or movie character at the Ottawa Children Fencing School, which runs beginner classes all through the fall and winter. Learn footwork, attack, and defense stances, and if you’re really keen, there are city-wide competitions to try.
RA Archery for Kids
The RA Centre has a great archery program for your little Katniss Everdeen or Hawkeye. Kids aged ten and up can learn to stand, string, aim, and release on provided equipment. The shorter sessions will give your child the chance to try it out (for six weeks) before long term commitment.
Capital Wave Splash Polo
Water polo is a sport that isn’t well known in Ottawa, but the Capital Wave Water Polo Club is working to change that. Their head coach has invented Splash Polo, a simplified version for ages 5 through 8. We love the idea of all that splashing around in the pool adding up to an actual sport.
Cheer Sport Sharks
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We love letting little ones with big spirit turn their love of gymnastics into a love of cheer. At Cheer Sport Sharks, girls as young as five can get involved in fun tumbling, and there’s even a couple of small local competitions where they can earn trophies and ribbons. Bring it on!
Tennis Centre West Ottawa
Tennis is a great game for indoor winter play, and Tennis Centre West Ottawa has several sessions of beginner and advanced classes from September through May. Kids as young as 5 can get started swinging a racquet and learning the shots, and the end-of-term tournament is lots of fun. If they show signs of being a young Eugenie Bouchard, there are competitive levels, too.