ball play

Olympic Games #6: Benefits of Playing Soccer for Kids

Soccer matches started even before the Opening Ceremony, kicking off the Games. Did you know there are some great benefits of playing soccer for kids?

benefits of soccer for kids

Getting to the Olympics as a team member has been an incredible journey of sacrifice and dedication. Where did that journey start? If you read the bios of some of the soccer team members, many of them started playing as preschoolers, kicking around the ball with family and friends. They played in backyards if they were big enough, and playgrounds and parks too.

Any child, not just future Olympic stars, can benefit from playing soccer. Running around and kicking a ball obviously benefits kids physically. Children need to move and be active. At this stage, young bodies and brains are figuring out how to work together. Soccer is an opportunity to do this. Besides coordination, children strengthen their core muscles and gross motor skills.

Besides physically, soccer gives kids a chance to connect with others. One child playing with a ball often attracts a couple more who would like to play too. Kids practice taking turns and sharing. They watch and listen to each other as they interact. Communicating to others will be a life-long challenge and playing soccer provides kids with a relevant situation for doing just that.

Emotionally, soccer can build self-confidence. Emotions are tricky, even for adults. Self-regulation, that is coping with disappointment, frustration, and anger is a critical skill for kids that will impact them whatever they do. That also comes into play in soccer.

On a mental level, kids are learning to make predictions, manage risks, judge their strength and force, and solve problems. During play, kids are very much thinking on their feet.

benefits of soccer for kids

Soccer is a fun game, and we can all use fun in our lives. With all these benefits of playing soccer for kids, is it any wonder soccer is one of the most popular games in the world?

Science Activities with Balls For Kids

The next month will be FIFA Women’s World Cup football / soccer so what better time for some fun and science activities with balls for kids? As adults we are used to thinking balls are only for sports but they can also be great for science.

science fun with ballsYoung children love to play with balls of any and all sizes, inside and outside. Without anyone telling them, they figure out that a hard kick or push will make a ball go far and a soft kick or tap will only move it a little bit. Kids are experiencing for themselves the scientific explanation that we are transferring our energy to the ball.

importance of outside time for kidsFiguring out where a ball will end up after that kick or push is quite a challenge, even for grownups. That’s the science of predicting using the information at hand—or foot—like which direction the ball is going and its speed. Balls keep kids busy chasing after them.

Rolling, kicking, and throwing are much easier than catching and bouncing but kids like to do it all.

science activities with ballsWhen balls aren’t available, rocks or other things will do. Kids will turn whatever they can into balls, even tin cans, balloons, or plastic bags all squished together and tied with string. Before they even have the words, kids know the best shape for a ball is round, but they use what they have. While round things might roll like a ball, not all of them will bounce.

young children need fun in sportsMore science is experimenting with balls made of different materials. Beach balls are so light the wind can move them. Sponge balls are much better for playing with in the house because sometimes balls can break things.

Kids of all ages, and grownups too, play with balls. There are countless games and sports, but there are also science activities with balls. Can the whistle go at your house for some fun play and learning with balls?

Score more play with 123kindergarten.

Helping Children Learn to Play Series: #2 Balls

Helping Children Learn to Play with a Ball

Playing with a ball is so natural that even animals will push them to make the balls move around or chase them. Children not only roll and chase, but also throw, bounce, and kick balls and we can extend their natural play.

playing with ballsWhile playing with balls, kids are learning how to act purposefully and to coordinate their body, as well as noticing the effect of their actions. They are predicting what will happen each time and making adjustments based on the outcome. That’s already lots to learn, but as parents and caregivers we are children’s first teachers. We can just as naturally expand their play and enhance their learning.

playing with ballsOne of the most simple ways to share about ball play is by participating. Rolling a ball back and forth with a child may not seem like much but the back and forth action sets up a pattern used in conversations. The your turn-my turn also forms part of relationships.

As we play with children, we use a variety of words and different language structures. Learning to use a language fluently will take years and millions of words. Research estimates that a child hears between 3 and 10 million words a year before school. We need to use words in as many situations as possible and encourage children to use them too. Playing ball is one opportunity to do so.

playing with ballsOnce children are ready, we can introduce them to more complicated games than back and forth. This can grow from trying to roll a ball under a chair to aiming for an empty box placed on its side to kicking around a ball in a large outdoor space. Children will create their own challenges and add in rules. Organized games such as soccer are appropriate for older children and develop from baby, toddler, and preschooler ball play.

playing with ballsSome math can also be added to ball play. Children will hear us count and will count themselves. The numbers may not be accurate but they are learning to count each action, one at a time. We can include different sizes for more ball fun.

Children learn from watching, listening, and imitating, as well as from their own actions and explorations. By participating occasionally and showing them different ways to play by themselves and with others, we can enhance their play and early learning. Plus, the fun we experience with them creates life-long bonds. Is it time to Play Ball?

Kindergarten Readiness Goes to the Super Bowl

Kindergarten readiness can be part of the game anytime and anywhere, including at the Super Bowl. With the big game tomorrow will your family be watching? Balls that are football-shapes are quite tricky for little hands; round ones are easier and can be various sizes. At the park, or just in the backyard, grownups and … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Goes to the Super Bowl

Readiness for Kindergarten – Learning on the Ball

Earlier posts this month have looked at how toys can help children learn basic skills and concepts. Some of these learnings will help later on with kindergarten readiness but the main point is that young children need to play. A ball appeals to kids of all ages and now with spongy ones, can be used inside … Continue reading Readiness for Kindergarten – Learning on the Ball