Playing rugby can be a fun way for kids to stay fit and active. Although the adult version of the sport is an intensely physical experience, kids can play several different versions of the sport that don’t involve risk of injury. As with all sports for kids, it’s important to keep their interest, enthusiasm and motivation high by placing the emphasis on having fun.
Touch rugby avoids the physicality of regular, full-size rugby by making tackles with a simple touch on any part of the body or clothing of the player with the ball or on the ball itself. Players still score by putting the ball on the ground in the opposition’s goal area, but the number of players, duration of the game and the size of the field are all flexible, making it a practical option for kids.
Tag rugby is essentially a development of touch rugby in which players wear a belt with two Velcro "tags" attached. During the game, players make tackles by removing one of the "tags" from the ball carrier's belt and shouting "tag." Tag rugby is ideal for kids since the number of players on each team is flexible and can be played on any flat surface. It helps kids learn the rules of the full-size game, along with the passing, receiving and positioning skills required.
Mini rugby moves beyond the low-contact touch and tag rugby by introducing tackling and scrums. For this reason a number of governing bodies, including the Irish Rugby Football Union, do not permit kids under 7 to play, while the English Rugby Football Union suggests that it is best played by kids age 9 or 10. Scrums--which involve players from each team pushing against each other for control of the ball following a break in play--involve only three players from each team (as opposed to eight in the full-size game), and are governed by strict rules to ensure the safety of the players. Many of the rules of mini rugby are the same as in the full-size sport.