“The Games are just a nice, positive way to build friendships, camaraderie and, of course, self-esteem.”— Greg Louganis
Not all nerdy kids fit the stereotype of the scrawny, anti-social recluse. There is a growing category of people who enjoy many of the typical nerd-related activities, but also have a penchant for engaging in competitive sports. If you’ve got a sporty nerd in your life, or you’re looking for a sport to involve your child in that’s more fitting for his or her activity level, here are some ideas to get them involved in the world of sports.
Beginning the list with one of the most active, yet still nerdy sports, Tennis is an excellent sport to get any cerebral kid involved in. It’s no wonder that many self-professed nerds play professional tennis. While tennis is foremost a great cardiovascular exercise, it is also a battle of wits, forcing one to outsmart their opponent and read their movements. An excellent sport for developing crucial brain training while also getting a full workout, Tennis makes for an excellent choice for the more active nerdy kids looking to break into the world of sports.
Here’s a list of everything your nerdling needs to get started playing tennis:
This tennis racket is listed specifically for beginners, making it perfect for your kids’ tennis starter kit. Depending on the age of your child, you’ll want to make sure that the size of the racket is correct. This specific racket is a 23″ for ages 6-8, but this brand offers sizes from 19″ to 25″. This racket also boasts a youth-friendly head light balance to help reduce vibration and increase stability when hitting the ball. Pst, this listing also includes a table to help you match up your kids’ age with their ideal racket and tennis ball size.
The size of the ball that your kid will play with depends on their age as well. These are qst 60 (for 9-10 year old’s). Don’t worry, they come in other sizes. Why the orange? This allows your youngling to track spin while they’re still getting used to controlling the ball.
This adorable gender-neutral tennis bag has all the space your child needs to carry their tennis gear. A little monster for your little monster, this bag features a space for a tennis racket, a main compartment for some extra tennis balls, and one small front compartment that could be used for snacks, sunscreen or even a good luck charm!
Featuring a kit that can be used to create a net in minutes, this portable tennis net comes in two different sizes. A 10 ft for children 10 and under and an 18 ft for children 10 and over. What’s great about this net is that you can have a tennis court within minutes, so there’s no need for a clubhouse tennis court or a trip to the local recreation center.
Little Tikes 2 in 1 Splash Hit Tennis
This 2 in 1 toy is perfect for your tiniest budding tennis player! Choose from 2 different modes of play: pop up tennis and splash tennis. Your little one just has to step on the pedal to send the ball flying into the air. For those hot summer days, you can connect the hose and keep your little ones cool while they learn the basics.
Ping Pong 🏓
For those who aren’t quite into tennis, but still want a similar experience, ping pong can provide. Ping Pong is widely considered the nerd-sport of choice, as almost any kid who doesn’t necessarily identify with sporty players has hit a ping pong ball sometime in their life. Setup is easy, usually in a basement or at a rec center, and ping pong can actually get hectic at times, leading to quite the workout. Ping Pong is great for developing hand-eye coordination, and hey, it’s an Olympic sport, so your kid could be an Olympian if they stick with it long enough!
Check out our favorite Ping Pong Picks for Kids:
Pick-Up-And-Go Ping Pong Table
Take this ping pong table with you anywhere! Set it up in the backyard, at a picnic or at a birthday party for hours of fun. This portable ping pong table even includes two paddles and three balls so that you can start right away!
Retro Comic Book Ping! Pong! Paddles
PING! PONG! The Amazing ping pong paddles strike again! The two-sided ping pong paddles are perfect for comic book loving nerdlings. KA-POW! Handmade with real wood, these paddles are 0.5 lbs and feature a 5 ply blade.
Why use white ping pong balls when you can play with these bright funky colored ping pong balls? These colorful bouncy ping pong balls are made of plastic and 40 mm in size.
If you’re not ping pong savvy, you might consider getting your child a book to teach themselves how to play ping pong. You can order this in paperback or for free on a Kindle. This Table Tennis for beginners book is great for kids that need a bit more instructions, or just to fuel their obsession further.
This one I admit to having a slight bias for. I took a few years of fencing back in college, and I loved it. What’s more cool than playing a sport with swords? Fencing is actually quite the physically demanding activity, but not so much so that there’s a large barrier for entry if your child isn’t the most physically fit. Fencing relies primarily on planning, forethought, and anticipating your opponent’s movements. It’s a sport of agility and reaction, which are often the physical traits that nerdy sports hopefuls have. Smaller people also benefit from being a more difficult to hit target, though it doesn’t hurt to have both reach and flexibility.
To put a fine point on it, here are a few Fencing related items we love:
Toy Hardwood Fencing Sword Set
Made from an assortment of different types of wood, this set of fencing swords are perfect for your aspiring fencer that isn’t quite old enough for a real fencing rapier yet. Note that these are not meant for competition and are more for play than real fencing.
This book introduces and describes all levels of fencing techniques and was written by an Olympic-level fencing coach! This book is great for both kids and parents and covers some serious topics in a fun way. Please note that this book is specifically for Saber Fencing rather than Foil Fencing.
These wall mounts work for foils, epees and sabers. A fencing family needs somewhere to display their accouterments and these sword mounts are perfect.
However, if you’re looking for a more head-on, action-packed sort of sport for your kids, paintball might be the answer. Apart from likely having their interest the moment it’s suggested, paintball is actually a very safe, controlled sports environment that helps develop strategy, hand-eye coordination, and teamwork. There’s quite a bit of thought and planning that goes into a successful paintball match, making it the perfect solution to someone looking to add intellect into their sport. And, considering that near-obsessive attention to technical details is a hallmark of the nerdy disposition, paintball has a lot to offer. Take a minute to search YouTube for videos of paintball aficionados going into endless details of their marker’s various custom components if you aren’t convinced. If paintball is outside your comfort zone, laser tag may be a more appropriate choice that still maintains many of the traits that make paintball enjoyable and great for exercise.
We’ve painted the picture for you, take a look at these paintball favorites:
Your nerdling needs plenty of safety gear for their paintball journey. These paintball goggles are stylish and ASTM/CE certified for safety. Features a visor for shade, adjustable strap for best fit and a chin strap for smaller heads!
Aside from being stylish, a neck gaiter is a great buy for your aspiring paintball star. These will keep the dust out of your child’s mouth and nose during play. These colorful gaiters are one size fits most and can also double as protection from the wind and cold weather.
This duel kit is a great option for kids who aren’t quite old enough to go to the local paintball field. These paintball guns don’t require CO2 and are spring-powered. Boasting two pairs of safety goggles, 2 paintball guns, and 2 cases of 1000 rounds of ammo, your two kids or you and your kid can enjoy pelting each other with colorful pods.
If you’re a helicopter parent, have no fear. We have done the worrying for you and found a nerdling-sized vest to keep them safe during their paintball escapades. Easy to take off and put on via a buckle, this vest is made with oxford-cloth material and is durable for outdoor performance.
Ultimate (Frisbee) 🥏
Similar to football or soccer, Ultimate is played by two teams on a field, using a Frisbee as the equipment. If you’re looking for a sport for your kid that’s similar, but isn’t nearly as full contact or as potentially hazardous as the above sports, Ultimate might be a good choice. Ultimate is recognized as a World Games sport, so there’s even a competition aspect to the game, if your child is a competitive player.
Catch these Ultimate Frisbee Must-Haves!
In Ultimate, your hands are one of your biggest tools. These gloves offer all-weather grip, so that your kid can play Ultimate in the rain, mud or snow! If these get wet from the rain or snow, or even just really sweaty, their breathable backs allow their hands to breathe during play. The gloves also claim to have some special technology that will help give them more grip and better accuracy when throwing!
This is the official disc of U.S. Ultimate. Not much else to say other than that! $12 for the best frisbee out there? That’s a steal if you ask me. Only the best for your little nerd. You should be able to find some other colors, too!
This super cheap clip will prevent you from having to buy a separate backpack to hold your kids’ frisbee. Clip this to any backpack and be on your way!
If none of these appeal to you or your child, or even if physical exercise is not an option, E-sports may be what you’re looking for. E-sports is a rapidly growing and increasingly popular sport almost entirely occupied by nerds. Many video game genres are recognized by the E-sport community, including real-time strategy games, first-person shooters, and MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arenas). E-sports share many of the positive development traits of video games, such as coordination, response time, and critical thinking, while also adding a valuable team play dynamic, as virtually all E-sports are played on teams. Throw in the fact that multiple world-level tournaments are held with lofty cash prizes, and you’ve got a fantastic developing sport for your child.
Game on! Our Gamer Gear choices Await You
Gaming headsets are a dime a dozen. Unless you’re shopping for teenagers over 15, you don’t want to break the bank. The Pacrate Game Headset is a fantastic value. It’s compatible with PC, Xbox, PS4, Switch, etc. Don’t get suckered into laying down big bucks when your kid is probably going to break the headset after a year’s use. This headset checks off all our boxes: great sound, solid microphone, comfortable fit, and looks pretty rad.
These glasses block blue light that is emitted from electronic screens. Recent studies showed that blue light doesn’t cause eyestrain. However, blue light does mess with our body’s sleep cycle so these glasses help when up late. We listed them because we think your kid will just think they look cool.
This sturdy budget gaming keyboard is perfect for rough hands that are going to wack this thing to death. It checks off all the basic gamer wants but does so without costing a fortune. Includes a handy audio knob in the top right when you tell your child to turn it down.
Talk about a sleek looking mouse at a price you can afford. This Runmus Gaming Mouse has 7 programmable buttons, customizable lights, and a texture for easy gripping. Perfect gift for a budding gamer.