Kids want to try more non-traditional sports in PE - with rockclimbing, boxing and archery topping wish lists

Liv Butler
Authored by Liv Butler
Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2024 - 01:34

Children have revealed the sports they wish they could do at school, with rock climbing, boxing and archery at the top of the list.

A poll of 1,000 children aged 10-16 found that while the likes of netball and football are still popular, nearly a third want to try more non-traditional sports. 

Dodgeball, rollerblading and fencing also made the list of sports children want added to the school curriculum. 

But traditional lessons like hockey and cross country running are falling out of favour as kids look for more modern sports.               

Some schools are already offering new lessons with 17 per cent of children taking part in circuit training and six per cent enjoying yoga in PE. 

The study was commissioned by SPAR UK which is giving away £50,000 and encouraging schools to apply for £200 grants to buy new equipment and improve their sports day.

SPAR UK teamed up with GB Hurdler Marli Jessop, to encourage schools across the UK to apply for the Sports Day Grant: “When I was at school the sports day was huge for me and I think it’s so important for kids in so many different ways.’

‘I've always loved sport whether it was gymnastics, trampolining or running and my school sports day helped me realise what I enjoyed the most. ‘

‘It gave me confidence at school and when I wasnt very good at academic subjects doing PE helped me to be myself.”

The study, which also polled 1,000 parents, found 67 per cent wish they had as many sporting options as children do today when they were their age, believing sports can help improve teamwork skills (70 per cent), physical fitness (69 per cent) and confidence (60 per cent).

For parents, nostalgic sports including badminton, hockey and cross country running made it into their top sports at school.

But only three per cent of kids today would say badminton or running was their favourite sport, and only two per cent would say the same for hockey.

The men’s and women’s football world cups and the Olympics are the sporting events which have inspired children to get more involved with sports.

But 33 per cent feel there isn’t enough time dedicated to the subject at school, while 23 per cent have limited access to sports equipment.

It also emerged that 90 per cent of parents agreed it’s expensive to buy sports kit and equipment to accommodate children’s varying sports interests and 58 per cent of mums and dads struggle to afford sports activities outside of school for their children. 

As a result, 35 per cent said the only way their children have access to sports is via their PE lessons.

While 18 per cent of those polled, via OnePoll, feel their child’s school sports equipment and facilities requires improvement and 57 per cent agreed that there should be more variety of sports for children in PE lessons. 

Suzanne Dover, Brand & Marketing Director at SPAR UK added: “Sports have always been an important part of school life and it is essential that we invest in providing schools with the resources they need to make sure that children are active and engaged. “

“The SPAR School Sports Grant means you can win sports equipment for your local school and help create an active and engaging environment for students of all ages.”


  1. Rock climbing 

  2. Boxing 

  3. Archery

  4. Karate

  5. Gymnastics

  6. Basketball

  7. Weight lifting 

  8. Yoga

  9. Rollerblading 

  10. Skateboarding 

  11. Golf

  12. Parkour

  13. Dodgeball

  14. Volleyball

  15. Fencing


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