Enjoying team games and the World Cup!

Posted by iChild, June 13, 2018 12:10 PM

By Play & Learn Every Day

It's nearly time for the World Cup to begin (on 14th June) and we're getting very excited! I am not normally a football fan, but I will take any excuse to get the flags waving and celebrate, and any excuse to get the kids enthusiastic about being active!

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Benefit of sport

I talk a lot about the importance of keeping children active, and that it is recommended that they spend at least 60 minutes a day doing active physical activities, as this benefits their health and growth in many ways.  And I think that it’s wonderful that they do this in any way that they enjoy (walking, running, cycling, scooting, dancing, swimming, etc.) but sport definitely add a whole other level of value to their development.

By playing sport children develop physically as well as socially.  Their social skills improve as they interact with other children in a different way than they do at school or during other activities. They increase their confidence as their skills develop and they can see that they are improving and achieving at their chosen sport; this is especially beneficial to children who may not excel academically. And they learn about teamwork and cooperation as they work with their teammates towards a common goal. Sport also helps their overall wellbeing; it can be great for children who suffer from anxiety and can be a real stress reliever.

Individual skills to aid in team sports

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A great way to prepare young children for playing sport is to build on their specific skills. Most young children are natural runners and love to play with a ball, so these are great activities to start with. We often bring a ball to the park and just kick it and throw it around as a family. We also have a small pop-up goal that we can bring out into the garden to work on kicking the ball into the net and scoring goals. It came with a set of small cones which are easy to set up in a row leading up to the goal in order to work on keeping control of the ball as you weave it in and out of the cones.

We also love to run as a family and can often be found at our local Junior Parkrun on a Sunday morning. I don’t think that speed is necessarily that important, but endurance certainly is. By being able to run continuously and working on pace (rather than just sprinting) it will help the children to have the energy to play an entire game of football without tiring.

Motivating Children who are less sporty

Not all children will get excited about sport, but this is where the celebration part comes in! We love any excuse to get out the bunting, decorate the house and make themed crafts and activities. Hopefully by getting children excited about the whole World Cup experience they will feel motivated to get out there and be active themselves.

iChild have a great selection of World Cup Activities, I really like the World Cup Bunting  and the Football World Cup Badge Craft.

And how perfect is this Football Reward Chart! You can use it to reward the children when they are active for the recommended 60 minutes a day. And maybe their reward for filling the chart could be a new football to play with or other sporty toys.

Reluctant children can also be motivated by finding sports that suit their interests. Of course football is an ideal team sport for many children because most of the rules are quite simple (run and kick the ball into a goal), but many children also love rugby, hockey, cricket, baseball, basketball, netball or lacrosse. Why not let them choose which sport they would like to try by going to watch children play a variety of different sports first, then have a go at playing with them yourself (to take away the pressure) before signing them up for a team sport.

Team Sports

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And finally, when the children are ready, then it’s time to start playing some team sports! It’s a great idea to sign up to a club that the child can go to regularly and get lots of opportunities to practice as well as form bonds with the other team members.

At home you can continue to motivate them and develop their skills by playing lots of turn taking games, by making your own little toy pitch with small figures and having the toys play team sports to reinforce the rules and how the game works.

Most of all, have lots of fun playing together and enjoying the love of sport as a family!

By Play & Learn Every Day

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