Children can begin curling at any age they like! At some curling clubs, there are programs devoted to youth curling. These programs may have children curl with Little Rocks or curling stones that weigh about 20 pounds. This is so children that do not have to push regular, 42-pound curling stones and can still curl easily. A good time to transition between the Little Rocks and regular curling stones is usually around age 12, as participants will have enough strength to push a regular curling stone.
There are a number of opportunities for kids and young adults to participate in the sport of curling and are broken into two categories: Little Rockers and Juniors. Both programs allow curlers to learn the basics of the sport, play games with fellow curlers of similar ages, and work through various drills to refine their overall playing technique. Both programs strive to help participants find a lifelong passion in curling so that they continue with the sport for years to come.
Curling Clubs may have a Little Rockers program, which is for children that cannot push regular curling stones. This program is good for children under the age of 12 and allows children to be exposed to the sport of curling at a very young age. As previously mentioned, the children throw smaller, 20-pound curling stones.
Curling Clubs may also have a Juniors program, which is for youth between the ages of 13 and 18 and can extend to the age of 21 in some cases. In this program, curlers will play with the regular sized curling stones.
In addition to programs at curling clubs, there are a number of bonspiels dedicated to Junior Curlers on a local, regional, national, and international level, and fall into the general category of Juniors' Bonspiels. At the national and international level, there are men's and women's divisions of:
In addition to learning about curling from a local curling club, there are also opportunities to teach curling in physical education classes. Teaching curling in physical education classes will help expose children to curling at a younger age than they would, discovering the sport on their own. While this is already done in Canada, the United States Curling Association has begun trying to bring curling programs into physical education classes.
In one of these kits given by the United States Curling Association, physical education teachers receive:
The best part about the kit coming with an instructional guide is that those teaching the children do not need to have any prior curling knowledge. This is good for exposing children to the sport and helping them develop a passion for the game.
Another possibility in the realm of curling related physical education activities is to visit a curling club and learn from those that play the game. There have been instances in which schools contacted local curling clubs to see if students could try curling as a half-day field trip. However, this type of activity is tailored more towards older students.
You now have the tools to explore the various opportunities in which children can try the sport of curling. Whether it be in a curling club or physical education class, youth can be exposed to the sport of curling and begin their lifelong journey as a curler!