Sport Bay of Plenty

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The key to getting kids involved in sport? Fun.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

There’s a key ingredient to encouraging kids to get active and involved in sport that’s often overlooked. Fun.

When a group of 10 to 12 year olds were questioned about why they played sport, the top five reasons they gave were:

  1. To have fun.
  2. To do something I’m good at.
  3. To improve my skills.
  4. To stay in shape.
  5. To get exercise.

Surprisingly “winning” didn’t even make the top 10 reasons.

Across the Bay of Plenty kids have a variety of sports and physical activity options available to them to keep them healthy and active. These include activities with families and friends, sport with a club or within their school.


Usually the primary and intermediate school environment is the first structured opportunity young people have to participate in a variety of sports. Here at Sport Bay of Plenty our school sport team is all about nurturing an equitable and inclusive environment for kids to build a lifelong love of sport and physical activity through positive and meaningful experiences. Key to that is making sport and recreation fun.

Study after study shows kids put fun at the top of their list for wanting to get involved in sport. Similarly, not having fun is one of the major reasons 70 percent of kids quit playing sport by the time they’re 13.

More often than not it’s the adults - parents and coaches – who put the spotlight on winning. Kids, however, hardly care. For them, winning is just the icing on the cake. Even at the high school level, most young people would rather play on a losing team than sit on the bench of a winning one. That doesn’t mean kids don’t value winning, just that they prefer playing.

So if you want your kids to play sports, have a look at the ways you and all others involved can make it fun.

Sport Bay of Plenty’s school sport team supports this message by collaborating with Regional Sports Organisations and local sports clubs to provide a comprehensive school sport calendar. The aim is to increase participation levels amongst all primary and intermediate students.

The school sport calendar currently has 42 events ranging from your more traditional school sports like swimming, cross country, and athletics to things like golf, tennis, badminton, squash, rugby sevens and cricket.

We also have a variety of events aimed at beginners and those that don’t normally participate in sport like the Amazing Race, which is about team building and having fun, or orienteering where children work on their timekeeping and map reading skills. And there’s the famous Rotorua Mini Marathon which gives school kids the chance to experience what it's like to take part in a marathon by running the last two kilometres on the actual Rotorua Marathon Course. The 2019 Rotorua Mini Marathon event is coming up on Friday, 3rd May. Last year 2500 kids from local schools took part. That’s 2500 kids having a fun and positive experience with sport.

We aim to have something for everyone in school sport, and we encourage schools to promote what’s coming up to all children to give them a chance to participate. Check out the Sport Bay of Plenty ‘What’s On’ calendar to see what’s coming up in school sport, or to find local sport and recreational activities for the family.

And if you want to find out more about how to make sport a positive experience, then check out our Lead the Cheer campaign and resources.

What’s On Calendar

Lead the Cheer

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x3 May 2016