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Encourage Outdoor Play with These 7 Soccer Games for Kids 

Oct 18th, 2022 | by Karleigh Page

Karleigh Page

October 18th, 2022

Get outside and have some fun with these 7 soccer games for kids. These activities will help build endurance, challenge coordination, improve agility, and encourage turn taking as well as instruction following!

1. Red Light Green Light

Pick spots in the yard or park to be the starting and finish lines. Grab a ball for each kid and practice dribbling towards the finish line while you give the red light/green light. This activity helps with coordination and ball skills, but also attention to task and response times!

2. Musical Balls

This game is for a group! Place a bunch of soccer balls in a circle (one less than the number of individuals playing.) When you play the music, have your kids move around the circle of balls. When the music stops, each child must stop at a ball. Whoever doesn’t find a ball is out. Continue until you are down to the final champion!

There are many ways to change the difficulty of the game. For a simpler form of the game, have kids walk around the circle and sit down on the soccer balls. To increase the challenge and intensity, have kids try to side shuffle, gallop, or skip around the circle then when they stop,  or have them balance with one foot elevated on the soccer ball.

3. Simon Says

Head outside and play an old school game of Simon says! Practice the following commands or get creative and make up some silly ones of your own.

  • Toe Taps on the Ball: alternate hopping from one foot to the other while tapping your toes on top of the ball
  • Jump Over the Ball
  • Balance with 1 Foot on the Ball
  • Dribble the Ball Forward
  • Kick and Retrieve the Ball
  • Run around the Ball
  • Backwards Shuffle around the Ball

4. Target Practice

Assign points to different objects in the yard (trees, bushes, etc.) Take turns kicking towards the targets. Each player gets 3-5 tries and the player who earns the most points wins!

5. Set up Obstacle Courses

Encourage your children to get creative and set up obstacle courses using a soccer ball and any objects they can find outside. Then take turns racing through the course.

For example, they could line up sticks to make an agility ladder, set up pinecones to weave in and out of or set up goals between various objects. This will encourage creative play, collaboration/turn taking, and challenge gross motor skills when completing the course.

6. Crab Soccer

A fun twist on the classic game of soccer. Grab a large playground ball and have your kids get down in the “crab position” to play. The crab position is when you have your belly facing the sky with your hands and feet planted on the ground. The key is to lift your bottom and not let it touch the ground. In this position, your kids can kick the ball to each other, kick towards goals, or even play a mini soccer game. This game is great for core and glute strength, as well as upper extremity strength and shoulder stability.

7. Simple Game of Soccer

Don’t discount getting a group together and playing a simple game of soccer. Invite some friends over or get the family together to play outside. If you don’t have goals, don’t worry! Just pick a couple of sticks or objects and place them apart from each other to create your own goals! Focus on positive reinforcement throughout the game to boost confidence and create a fun atmosphere.

Find Additional Resources and Inspiration in the NAPA Blog:

About the Author  

Karleigh enjoys play based pediatric therapy as it gives her the opportunity to create both a positive and exciting experience for children. Karleigh works at NAPA Denver and likes to ‘jump’ from patient to patient.

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