If you’ve got kids who love motion, who love many varieties of sport, and who love to challenge their strength, speed, and precision ... then they will probably love athletics.

Athletics—or track-and-field in the US—is a combination of three categories of sport: running, jumping, and throwing.

The running category includes sprints, middle- and long-distance events, hurdles, and steeplechase. The jumping category includes the high jump, long jump, and triple jump. The throwing category includes javelin, discus, shot put, and hammer throw.

It would be hard to imagine a more full-bodied activity than a series of athletics events, or one that requires such a combination of speed, endurance, explosive power, and varied techniques.

Kids who are full of energy and naturally inclined to test themselves against physical challenges may find athletics a dream come true. As a bonus, athletics is relatively inexpensive. Competitors need appropriate track shoes and access to a track. The other equipment is quite basic (a shot is essentially a medieval cannon ball), and much of it will be provided by the club or facility.

The best approach is to find a local club that offers coaching and competitions. Coaching kids yourself at home may be an option for the running events—but unless you have specialized knowledge in shot put and high jump and the others, you’ll want to turn this work over to a coach. Be sure to find a coach who has significant experience with kids. Training small and growing bodies in these intense endeavors requires sound knowledge of injury prevention.

Most important of all, be supportive but not overbearing. If your kids take to athletics, that’s wonderful. But if they want to move on to something different, please don’t be disappointed. Some kids might just prefer cycling—football, or dancing, or saxophone—to throwing a javelin!