You + Your Toddler + A Soccer Ball = Good Times

Three fun and easy games to play with your little one from our friends at Lil’ Kickers Chicago. This is a guest post.

After being cooped up all winter long, Chicago families are more than ready to explore and play outside! Whether you’re choosing to kick back in one of the city’s best parks, chill out in your own backyard or pack up your family and get out of town this summer, we’ve got some simple and fun games that require very little. In fact, all you need is your toddler and a soccer ball!

Toddlers are at an amazing point in their lives. They are eagerly growing and learning by leaps and bounds while also gaining some independence. However, at the same time, they are still very much in need of adult guidance in their activities. It’s the “I do it myself, but don’t go too far away” stage. Toddlers love to mimic behaviors (if you hadn’t noticed already!) which is why side-by-side play with a soccer ball is a great way for your toddler to learn from you while also  trying out new roles and skills.

Lil Kickers Class

Here are three simple games/activities that you can do with your toddler to help develop some of these emerging skills. Got a soccer ball? Okay! Let’s play!

Soccer Dance

Physically, toddlers are mastering how to run, kick, throw, and how to hop on one foot (just to name a few). This activity is a Lil’ Kickers coach favorite and can help promote better balance and coordination. Begin by tapping the top of your soccer ball with the tip of your foot, then switch using the other foot. You’ll quickly realize how it got its name! The faster you go, the better you’re dancing!

Popcorn And Ping Pong

Cognitively, toddlers are beginning to understand two-step directions so this exercise is an appropriate challenge for them. For this activity, your soccer ball becomes a popcorn kernel and it’s your job to heat it up! Begin by gently kicking the ball between your two feet. Once that skill feesl comfortable encourage your toddler to kick it out and to you after reaching a certain number. Pop, pop, pop, kick!

See video here!

Score a Goal (Or Feed a Hungry Hippo)

Making learning fun for toddlers instills a lifetime love of learning new things! Think about how much more fun it is for a child to feed hungry hippos than it is to simply kick a ball into a goal. Practice scoring goals across the yard using a garbage can, laundry basket or whatever! But keep it creative by using your imaginations together.

This guest post was brought to you by Lil’ Kickers Chicago. This summer, Lil’ Kickers is offering classes at both indoor and outdoor locations. There are still limited spots available for the summer session! See the full schedule here.


  1. Megan Elford says

    These are great ideas to get kids started with soccer, and even just for playing around at the park. I’ve known several children that started even as young as 18 months, and they love soccer now!

    • amandasimkin says

      My youngest started at 18 months and he absolutely loves it…the Lil’ Kickers coaches are so fun and positive that it has always been something that he and his big bro look forward to.

  2. Angie says

    Several of my friends have their little guys in soccer like this and they love it! Such a great program. Also helps get some of that oodles of energy out:-).

    • amandasimkin says

      I found that my boys are always ready for a nap after they are at their Lil’ Kickers class….Mommy success! 🙂

  3. Wendy says

    These are great ideas to get them started! It will hopefully get them to like exercise into their teens and adulthood.

  4. Jenise says

    What fun activities to get the little ones involved in for a healthy lifestyle. Way better than having them stuck in front of a play station.

    • amandasimkin says

      Agreed. And these soccer activities are creative and simple so there is very little prep work involved….which means more time for FUN.

  5. Jaime Nicole says

    There are so many great benefits to getting the little ones excited about soccer and sports in general. This sounds great – and it certainly looks as though your soccer player having a blast!

    • amandasimkin says

      I love the determined look on his face. Be sure to try out the activities at home–you can do them anywhere!

    • amandasimkin says

      I agree–he is a cutie! And soccer is such a great way to teach your little one small motor skills, balance, cooperation….so many good things from one sport!

  6. CourtneyLynne says

    Omg I think watching toddlers play both soccer and t ball is the absolute cutest!!! I can’t wait for my daughter to be a tad bit older so she can play 🙂

  7. addi ganley says

    We have 3 boys. Some of our favorite memories throughout the years involve us tossing a ball around the yard with them. Priceless memories can be totally free.

  8. Rosey says

    Aw toddlers on the field make me smile. We started our youngest early, he’s still going strong. 🙂

  9. Michelle says

    What a great way to spend quality time outdoors with your adorable little guy. It looks like he’s getting some great exercise and I bet you are too!

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