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Running out of ideas for keeping your kids entertained and active? Looking for a new sport you can enjoy together? The world of extreme sports offers opportunities for thrills without chills, though perhaps the occasional bump and scrape. Note: obviously, this article isn’t a suggestion to expose your kids to life-threatening situations. But, keeping safety and youth in mind, here are a few extreme sports you can do with your kids that retain plenty of challenges and excitement (in addition, of course, to running).
Leaping from an airplane, hurtling through the sky, then gracefully floating to the ground is a fun and exciting memory most any kid will love—and so will you. If you have the time and financial means, you and your kids can participate in skydiving lessons as a group project, slowly working toward earning your licenses and your first group jump. If you just want to have the experience once, plenty of skydiving companies offer tandem skydiving, where you take the jump while strapped to an experienced diver. For an additional fee you can get a photograph or video of the jump they’ll cherish forever. Keep in mind, though, that this is one sport you might have to wait to do, since the law prohibits anyone under eighteen from skydiving.
Are your kids more into biking? Whether through racing, distance riding, or just rides to the library and back, bike riding is a great activity. Mountain biking can introduce your kids to a fun and exciting new sport while ensuring they’re getting plenty of exercise, fresh air, and experience with nature and the great outdoors. This isn’t downhill or freestyle mountain biking, by the way, but a type requiring extensive protective gear since participants often perform death-defying leaps and other tricks. They will need a helmet, protective goggles, and naturally, a bicycle capable of taking on rough trails. Have them ease gradually into the sport by riding gentle trails with occasional dips and hills to start out.
Clearly, do not bring your five-year-old to El Capitan at Yosemite National Park and challenge them to a bare-handed, no-equipment race to the top. These days there’s no lack of places for kids (and parents) to climb, indoors and out, and in safety: YMCAs, park districts, and health clubs. As you get better, search for ever-increasing challenges—where’s the tallest wall in your region? If their interest and skills improve, find a natural climbing challenge you can tackle together.
When considering extreme sports you can do with your kids, ask yourself if all of you are acrobatically inclined. Nothing challenges your skills, reflexes, and muscles more than parkour. It might be best to enlist your kids in a local gymnastics and tumbling class so they can get a feel for and develop a basic acrobatics skillset. As they progress, and especially if they’re young, start small with ground-level challenges in the backyard. If you’re handy with tools, share a project of building a parkour course there, or search for fun (and legal) opportunities to run, jump, tumble, and swing. Then, get ready for a majorly punishing—but extremely fun—workout. Honestly, there’s no better way to stay in shape than keeping up with your kids!