Happy Family Fun Month! This August, treat your family to something special by introducing them to the world of soccer. Even if your kids aren’t quite ready to play for the big leagues, they can still get into the spirit for the game and have a great time. Here’s a list of things you can try to get them interested:
Choose a fun location. Kids who are always playing in the backyard may want to try something a little different now and again. Don’t feel like you need to stay close to home to have a good time—think about bringing the game to a new park you’ve been wanting to visit, or maybe even the beach if you live next to one. Remember, this isn’t major league soccer… the ground you’re playing on doesn’t matter as much as the playing itself!
Stay covered up and well hydrated. If you’re planning an afternoon of soccer with family, be sure that everyone is wearing the right gear and is well hydrated. Equip each player with their own jug of icy cold water, and have everyone dress in lightweight clothes, caps and sunscreen. The more comfortable everyone is, the longer they’ll want to play.
Play for the age. Unless you don’t plan on playing with any contact, you should probably pick up a pair of shin guards for your child (they make very small ones for young players!). Be sure to play with the right size ball as well—young kids under eight should play with a size three, and those under 12 should play with a size four.
Switch up the game. During your pickup game with the family, you don’t need to always play by the rules. Switch up the game by passing the ball around, trying to keep it in the air, or creating your own obstacle course. Have fun with it! You’ll still be teaching your kids valuable skills about teamwork, ball control and endurance, even if you’re not quite playing by the book.
Make a day of it. Soccer may be the game of the day, but the fun doesn’t have to stop there. Make a day of your soccer excursion by capping it off with a nice lunch or other treat. Whether you pack a family picnic to enjoy in the park or stop for refreshments at the family’s favorite restaurant, you’ll be making memories that start on the field and continue far beyond it.
Don’t take yourself (or the game) too seriously. Maybe you play recreationally or for a club yourself, and you know all the strategies, tips and tricks for the best gameplay. But if you have young kids, they may not understand (or care about) all that… and that’s okay! The important thing to keep in mind is that, by staying positive and instilling in your kids a healthy sense of fun and competition, you’re making great memories with your family. And who knows? Maybe they’ll decide to pursue soccer, too!