Most kids are exposed to sports like baseball, soccer, and basketball at very young ages, but many are not immediately introduced to motorsports on a regular basis. Motorsports, however, are excellent ways for kids to both have fun and build character while competing against peers and mastering their skills. Motorsports are also contactless, meaning they don't involve any violence in the same way other athletes like MMA fighters and football players experience. While motorsports aren’t as widely discussed as other sports in many areas, there are actually a lot of them out there for you and your kids to experience and test out. There are also many ways to introduce children to motorsports and possibly find their lifelong hobby or career. Let’s take a look at some methods of introducing kids to motorsports.
If you have sports channels on TV, chances are you can find Formula One and NASCAR races on at some points throughout the week. Kids can learn the different types of cars, tracks, and competitions through watching motorsports on television, and “ooh-ing” and “aah-ing” at the professionals can get them extremely interested in the activities. With so many streaming services available today, you can even get special channels and subscriptions to watch all of the motorsports you want. As with all other sports, motorsports commentators are normally former pros themselves or have been involved with motorsports for decades so they are very knowledgeable and passionate about them. This can get the kids excited, too, making them more interested.
Oftentimes, experiencing something live makes it much more “real” than just watching it on TV. Seeing motorsports in person may get your kids excited about them and give them an “I want to do that!” attitude. Most big cities and many small ones have racetracks that you can take your kids to in order for them to get live exposure to exhibitions and competitions. Aside from big-name races and competitions, many of these offer free entry or an inexpensive entrance fee, so spending a day at the tracks won’t break the bank. If you live in a town on the coast or located near a large body of water, you may be able to find events like power boat competitions if the water-motorsports route is the one you hope your kids will take.
In most areas, motorsports aren’t as popular as other “mainstream” athletics, so kids may be unaware or unknowledgeable about them. The good news is that if you are super into a sport or hobby, chances are your kids will want to at least try it, too. Kids are very motivated by being like their parents, so if you tell your kids about your passion for motorsports and the joy it brings you, they may be inclined to consider getting involved in them. Of course, parents always have to be careful to not pressure their kids into liking something, but having conversations about motorsports may help get your kids interested in them.
Let’s face it - kids absolutely love their toys. Thankfully, there are a lot of options when it comes to what fun things you buy for your kids these days. Car and motorsport toys have evolved greatly throughout the years, and many of the ones on the market today are even more engaging than before. These range from retro cars to cool new motorcycles, so chances are you can find a certain model that your kids are really into. You can even buy remote-control cars and motorized toys for your kids, which will make them more interactive. A bonding activity that may also be good is building a track for these toys so your kids can simulate motorsports with the toys in real life.
Video games have been a huge hit for kids since their inception decades ago and the advancing technology behind them has been quite amazing. Motorsports video games have come extremely far since the first one on the market in 1973, which was Atari’s Space Race. There are now so many different options on the market, and newer ones have amazing graphics that make them seem close to real-life. Of course, your kids can play these on a computer or gaming platform like Xbox or PlayStation and many of them are now affordable, especially if you buy last year’s or other recent releases.
An excellent starting point for introducing your kids to motorsports may be to go to a go-kart park or a theme/amusement park that has go-karts. These are extremely fun and you can spend several hours racing and teaching your kids how to drive the go-karts. Go-kart facilities are actually where many of the pros get their starts, likely because they are so much fun and can easily become a hobby for kids.
Football is probably the most popular fantasy league sports lovers get involved in, but most people are unaware there are also fantasy leagues for motorsports. NASCAR itself offers a fantasy league in which you can learn about the different drivers and types of races involved in the sports. GridRival is possibly the most utilized platform, as it is dedicated solely to motorsports and allows users to pick their drivers/riders and compete with others while also allowing for a lot of social interaction.
If you have a local racetrack, you may want to see if it offers tours. Some facilities highly enjoy showing visitors around and helping to get more people interested in motorsports - especially kids. Some racetracks have volunteers who are more than happy to show off all that racetrack and motorsports have to offer. One of the most visited tours is the Daytona International Speedway tour in Daytona Beach, Florida, so if you’re in the area or are traveling to Florida, you may want to make a stop. Tickets are $25 for ages 13 and up, $20 for ages 5 to 12, and free for ages 4 and under.
What could be even cooler than taking a tour of a speedway with a pro him- or herself? Driving a race car yourself! NASCAR has over 15 speedways where you can sign up for a so-called NASCAR Racing Experience, which entails you driving your own race car! Kids are allowed as passengers as long as they are at least 5 feet tall and weigh at least 100 pounds. NASCAR also offers “junior ride alongs”' for kids between 48 and 60 inches tall at its Daytona and Charlotte (North Carolina) speedways.
Dirt bikes, ATVs, and similar vehicles can be pricey, but if your kids are at the point where they are ready for a “real” motorsport vehicle, it may be worth it. It’s a good idea to see if there is a local place that will let you rent a motorbike or ATV for a specific period of time and see how that works out. However, if it’s evident your kids are going to follow through with their motorsport of choice, you’ll have to be prepared to pay.
You’ll probably want to start out teaching your kids how to operate their new motorsport vehicle in a small area such as your backyard before moving on to actual race tracks, off-roading areas, streets, and so on. It is all for a good cause, as your kids will be having fun and making friends and connections in the process.
Once your kids decide what motorsport they are most interested in, you may wish to get them involved in a league or club. Go-karting clubs, dirt bike leagues, and circuit racing groups are just a few options that may be available in your area. Doing this will get your kids exposed to different motorsports and also help them make friends while they grow their skills. Competing builds character as well, so wins and losses will also help your kids mature as they get older. They will learn how to strive to meet goals as well as both win and lose with grace, which will be important for their futures. Most of the time, it is recommended parents get their kids involved in leagues around age 10.
Of course, keep in mind that safety is the most important component to introducing your kids to motorsports. Like any other sport, motorsports can be dangerous and lead to injuries and equipment damages if not carried out properly. Most of us have seen scary videos of race cars crashing, and while drivers are fine most of the time, it is important to teach kids how to avoid accidents as well as escape in the case of an accident. This can also make kids responsible and careful, which are more great qualities for kids to gain. Once you are sure your kids will be safe during their motorsport of choice, you’ll all be ready to have a lot of fun regardless which they choose.