Playing Outside the Box: 6 Uncommon Sports for Kids in the Triangle

Chaoss Shutterstock 70204393
Photo courtesy of Chaoss/

Soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball and football are among the first activities that come to mind when parents think about getting their child involved in a sport. But what if your child wants to be part of a team or organized activity of a more unique sort?

Don’t sweat it — we’ve identified six options in the Triangle that might be considered a little more uncommon, but will have your child leaping, rowing, lunging, climbing or skating for joy in no time. Click on the numbers below to check them out.


Parkour and Freerunning

According to the World Freerunning Parkour Federation, parkour is “the act of moving from point A to point B using the obstacles in your path to increase your efficiency.” Freerunning is a version of parkour that includes acrobatic moves over and around obstacles without focusing as much on efficiency as it does expression through movement. Here are some Triangle businesses offering parkour and freerunning programs.

Enso Movement (Raleigh): Offers parkour and freerunning classes and camps that teach ages 6 and older how to maneuver through obstacles by running, jumping, climbing and flipping.

The Tumble Gym (Wake Forest, Chapel Hill, Lake Boone Trail, Holly Springs): Offers parkour and freerunning classes that focus on teaching ages 5-12 the proper technique for running, jumping, climbing, vaulting and rolling. 

Knightdale Gymnastics (Knightdale): Offers an agility-based program designed for ages 5-12. Gymnastics equipment is utilized to create obstacles, encouraging creative movement to traverse the course. 

Photo courtesy of Enso Movement



Also called crew, rowing involves athletes racing against each other in boats. Here are some Triangle businesses and organizations that offer rowing programs.

Triangle Rowing Club (Raleigh): Offers a rowing team for kids in grades 7-12 that practices at Lake Wheeler Park. Triangle Rowing Club also offers free “Sneak Peek Weeks” each season and half-day summer camps.

Jordan Lake Rowing Club (Apex): Offers a year-round junior team, weeklong summer camps, and competitive and noncompetitive rowing opportunities for ages 11-18. 

Photo courtesy of Triangle Rowing Club



Ron Miller, head fencing coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, believes fencing is a great sport for kids because “it develops self-reliance, coordination, general athleticism and fosters quick decision making.” Here are fencing programs available in the Triangle.

North Carolina Fencing Development Program (Chapel Hill): Offers ages 8 and older the opportunity to take private lessons as well as participate in Fencing Club, held twice a week in Fetzer Gym at UNC-CH. A half-day summer camp is also available. 

Mid-South Fencers Club (Durham): Offers a year-round youth program for ages 7 and older; includes weekly small group practices, individual lessons and camps. 

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Fencing Development Program


Rock Climbing

Rock climbing enthusiasts and business owners in the area say rock climbing improves problem-solving skills and boosts confidence. Here are some rock climbing programs Triangle youth can participate in.

Triangle Rock Club (Morrisville and North Raleigh): Offers a junior climbing team for kids interested in participating in competitions, and an after-school program teaching an age-appropriate climbing curriculum. Camps are offered for ages 6 and older. 

Progression Climbing (Chapel Hill): Offers a recreational youth team for climbers wanting to improve their basic climbing skills. Summer, track-out and after school camps are offered for ages 7-14. 

Chapel Hill Community Center (Chapel Hill): Offers an indoor climbing wall with approximately 50 different routes to choose from, ranging from beginner to expert. Open climbing sessions are available for ages 6 and older.

Photo courtesy of Carlos Caetano/


Circus Arts

Circus arts and aerial dance activities provide a fun and creative way for kids to exercise, increase balance and coordination and improve attention span and focus. Here are two Triangle businesses offering these kinds of programs.

Cirque de Vol Circus Arts Studios (Raleigh): Offers after-school programs and camps for ages 5 and older on aerial silks, trapeze, acrobatics, juggling, hoops and more.

The Flowjo (Carrboro): Offers aerial, hoop, circus and dance instruction for ages 5-18 through summer camps, performance opportunities and after-school classes. 

Photo courtesy of Chaoss/


Roller Derby

Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams roller skating in the same direction on a banked oval track. While roller derby options are scarce in the Triangle, there is a youth league operating in Raleigh.

Raleigh Junior Rollers (Raleigh): Offers the Triangle’s only youth roller derby league and welcomes skaters of all genders who are ages 8-17. Weekly practices run January through November, with bouts held monthly. 

Photo courtesy of Raleigh Junior Rollers


Robyn Kinsey Mooring is a Durham-based writer and the mother of two boys.


Categories: Family, GPS, Health + Fitness