As the market for youth sports and recreation climbs into the billions, it can be difficult to gauge where you should invest your money. With that mind, we’ve compiled a short list of some of the cheapest as well as the most expensive youth sports options today.
The Cheapest Youth Sports
Played in driveways, backyards, neighborhood parks and even in the streets, basketball is a game that can be enjoyed by nearly anyone and at any place. Many middle and high schools offer youth basketball at little or no cost to the parent, and some communities even organize their own leagues that are separate from school-sponsored sports. All you really need is a ball and a hoop and you’re good to go.
Swimming is another youth sport that is easy and cheap to begin. The act of swimming can be practiced in rivers, lakes and even backyard swimming pools, and many students are exposed to swim class either in middle or high school. If not, memberships to community pools are usually quite affordable. It can only start to get expensive at the competitive level, where you’re paying for an abundance of pool time and starting to take long trips for meets. That can be true of any sport though.
Simply put, soccer is one of the cheapest and easiest sports for a child to pick up. The game itself can be played in nearly any field that is open and relatively flat, and numerous objects can be used to construct makeshift goal posts or even a net. Even official gear such as jerseys, shorts, socks and footwear are relatively inexpensive when compared to some other youth sports. In fact, shin guards cost about $12 – $25, and that’s all the padding you need.
Track is another sport that can be practiced almost anywhere. Simply running or jogging around the block can achieve the basic necessities of the sport while toning the relevant muscles at the same time. You may even considering setting up your own hurdles around your yard, which can be used to simulate the sport even further.
The Most Expensive Youth Sports
Ice hockey is one of the most expensive youth sports out there today. When you consider the fact that the sport requires so much equipment, even in adult leagues, the costs can quickly pile up. A full set of youth hockey equipment, including full padding, uniform, sticks, helmets and skates, can run as high as $1,000 on an annual basis. Ice time at your local rink can also get pretty pricy too.
Horseback riding is definitely a sport for parents who want to treat their kids to the finer things in life. If you go all out, once you add up the cost of a full riding outfit, the purchase and maintenance costs of the horse and more, you could be looking at upwards of $20,000 yearly.
Although a rather popular sport amongst today’s youth, football still ranks up there with the most expensive sports. Unfortunately, with several hundred in equipment costs upfront, the price tag alone may prevent some children from playing the game.
Our list comes to an end with the sport of skiing. While it might not be the most popular youth sport today, it certainly counts as one of the most expensive. Apart from equipment costs, which add up quickly whether you rent or buy, you’ll also have to make sure your child has access to a nearby resort or ski hill to practice. It’s not a sport that you can practice at home.
If you want to keep your costs for youth sports down, clearly you should stick with the first four sports on this list. Save your money for celebratory postgame dinners.