Starting little kids on unis

From another thread:

So at what age did anybody get their little kids a uni? My oldest is just 5, and I don’t think yet old enough - he doesn’t have the dedication to keep going at something he doesn’t get instantly. Or will he learn quickly enough at that age for it to be a lot less of an issue? I’m sure from comments he made that he’d have been really excited to get one for his recent birthday, but he wasn’t so set on it that he’s disappointed not to. I should point out that he was riding a bike at 3 1/2, though he was almost certainly physically capable of riding at just over 3, but refused to get on it without stabilisers as it was “too wobbly” (despite being a whizz on a scoot bike) - which is indicative of why he might have problems with a uni. I don’t want to get him one too early and put him off.

Oh, and I’ve seen the videos of 3 year olds riding - however I was more interested in “average” kids, or anybody who has any comments given what I’ve said about mine.

My daughter could ride 4-5 meters at the most at 6, 5 years old (last summer) on her 16" unicycle. I got her a Dodger 12" the year before and I think she could have learned then if she really wanted to. I hope she keeps trying next summer. It would be fun to ride with her.

I’m in the same boat. I have a 6 year old son who has been riding a b*ke since 5. I am considering purchasing a UNI for him in the next 8 months or so. I also have caution because I don’t want him to get frustrated and “put off” by trying to introduce him to the sport too early. He is starting to mature some, so I think sometime in the next year will be fine. I think I might buy one on a random day and just put it in the garage for him to find. I think buying it as a birthday present or Christmas present would put added pressure on him to learn it, which could slow progress down.

My son learned when he was a pre-teen and already an accomplished mountain biker, but it was still a struggle to keep him going and to push his limits. If I were to teach a younger child, I’d look at building a trainer, maybe one that has two parts:

The first part would be a front / back strut with a wheels that can be adjusted up and down, so like training wheel but turned 90 degrees. I’d expect that this part of the trainer would more permanent in the short term.

The second part would be a ring with small wheels or slider on each side, this would be more for getting the initial feel of unicycling/riding, esp if they don’t already ride a bike.

If you start young enough, they could learn to unicycle before learning to bicycle, how cool would that be?!

There some examles out there already; the AUS UDC had some on their blog I think. I have even considered building a trainer to use when teaching, as much as that happens; damn lazy hillbillies! Okay, they’re not really hillbillies, most are just lazy normal couch potato fatties who think riding a bike is hard enough :roll_eyes:

Okay, off the pulpit. Yes, teach them young, that’s my only regret, that I never learned how to ride as a kid.

My son started at 8 and that worked great for him. I didn’t start riding till after him so I had no idea how to teach him. He pretty much picked it up himself and made enough progress each session that he did not loose interest.

My daughter is 7 (close to 8), and she just learned how to ride. I bought her a uni about a year and a half ago. She has practiced on and off since then, and I never pushed her too hard. Scott and Tomas visited last month, and after that, she got motivated again. Now, she can ride and is excited about it. Tomas’s daughter, who is 8, also learned to ride recently.

Ziggy Cohen rode at 2 1/2.

Basically big enough to fit on a 12". I read here of a guy who helped his daugter to learn but she was still too small to ride a cut down 12" frame, so he added blocks to the pedals. She did it at 3.

The most important thing is for them to want to ride. If he/she isn’t really into it, that’s fine maybee later.

My son turns 4 in a few months, and I’m getting him a unicycle. The only thing that worries me is how hard it will be to teach him. He lives in a different city with his mother, and so I only see him once a month or so. Just don’t know if he’ll like it when every month he’s back to learning it. Then again, he’ll be 4. By the end of the 1st day he’ll probbaly be doing uni spins and crank flips (dang kids and they interwebs and jPhones!)

The question of how old a kid has to be before learning to uni is difficult to answer in general as each kid is different. Just as a two year old can’t reach over his head with his right hand and touch his left ear (arms are too short, head is too big) there is no exact date when this is no longer the case.

I my experience most kids need to be around 6 before they have the interest and the coordination, but this is a VERY rough estimate. We have a girl that just started riding and can already ride accross the gym the long way by herself and I’d say she is probably 5 or 6. This age distinction is also because, since our team is connected with an elementary school, we don’t usually see kids until 1st grade - so about age 6. Several years ago we had a 4 or 5 year old rider that was comfortable on a uni but had yet to learn to ride a bike. It didn’t hurt that her entire family rode unis already.

My personal feeling is if they are interested enough they will figure it out regardless of their age. The little buggers can learn fast!

Kids Learning to Ride

I have two boys they are aged 6 and 7. The seven year old has a 16" uni and the 6 year old has a 12" uni. For over a year now I have been taking them to the tennis court to practice. They are just now starting to let go of the fence. They could ride bikes no problem at the age of three and I have been doing cross country rides with them for a few years now. Them on thier bikes and me on my KH24. I have stopped trying to push them because it is just the right speed with them on thier bikes while I am on the KH. (I will have to move up to the KH29 though soon.) They just don’t seem that motivated even though I promised them money when they could ride accross the court.
I am sure that they will get it when they want to.

I too have promised my 6 year old daughter a small reward for riding a specific distance, but she got frustrated because the progress did not come fast enough. Instead I promised her the reward for practising a lot, and that seemed to help a little.

Yeah - that’s just about where I am with my 5yo and my 26" - motivation for me to keep improving before he outpaces me. It was interesting when I first started riding the muni on stuff I’d taken him on his bike, and suddenly I understood why he needed to get off and walk stuff - I was walking the same bits!

Thanks for all the comments - I’m getting the feeling I’m right in my decision to put off getting my son a uni for at least another year. Not really keen on having to offer rewards for riding - I’d much rather he was self-motivated, as he is with riding a bike.

I agree, but would you consider it if your kid lacked motivation to keep on practicing?

I bought my daughter a unicycle at age 3 - it was too young, but she just turned 5 and now is totally into it. We practice a lot, but she is not there yet.

Maybe if I knew he was going to get the self-motivation with a little help. Not if that was the only thing keeping him going - I’d just put the uni away until later.

I agree. They have to be interested and want to do it.

MUC had a 7yo boy who wanted to learn. He was interested and his parents kept bringing him to practice. It took him 6 months. He learned to ride a unicycle before he could ride a bicycle.

My daughter found the motivation to learn shortly before her 9th birthday. She’d been telling her friends about her unicycle and some of them didn’t believe that she had one.

My son, 2 years younger, found the motivation when he saw his sister learning.

I promised them their own hockey sticks when they were able to ride twice the length of my stick unsupported. My son pretty much lost interest once he’d passed that challenge, though he still occasionally rides (and they both love coming to hockey with me on a Wednesday evening during school holidays).

I am very happy to resurrect this thread as my daughter, now 8 years old, has picked up unicycling again all by herself. She had not forgotten the reward I promised her, but I am sure that was not her motivation.

Here is a video of her record breaking achievement:

I was 10 when I got a unicycle for Christmas. My motivation was that someone else at my school had one, and I thought it was cool, so I asked for one. My dad gave it to me with nothing else in the way of instruction. (It didn’t have a unicycle seat, either, it was a real cheapy with a regular, cheap bicycle seat, which was really hard to ride.) I took it out to the street in front of my house, balanced hanging on to the front fender of my dad’s car, and launched. I did this about a thousand times. It took me a couple months, but eventually I learned it. Unfortunately, with no support group or friends for encouragement, I gave it up after a few months. I would ride one occasionally over the years, but never seriously again until a few months ago.
Having the internet (youtube videos) and a support group (like this forum) are huge factors that I think give young people starting out today a great advantage.

My son got his first unicycle for his birthday at 7 years old. He also got a scooter that shoots sparks out the back. Occasionally he would try the unicycle, but he was mostly interested in the scooter.

Just after his 8th birthday he decided to learn how to ride it. I told him we were going to the unicycle nationals and that I wasn’t going to register him to compete if he couldn’t ride 150 ft. Within 5 hours he did it and now he rides it all the time. He loves the attention he gets from other people. So much cooler then the scooter! He even got a really cool bike for his 8th birthday, but prefers the unicycle.

Just don’t buy him a scooter at the same time. Then try to motivate him. We also made it a game - like what superhero pose can you make when you fall off.

My daughter took forever at an older age. I think the difference wasn’t age. My daughter had a strong fear of falling. My son really didn’t care.