9 fun football games for kids to improve their skills

John Dennis

The best way to involve kids in football is to make it fun. You can use fun football games for kids to teach them about a skill, communication, or teamwork, or make it a form of practice.

For example, the King of the Hill game helps kids practice defensive and offensive skills. Or, you can introduce the Cops and Robbers game to teach them how to change direction fast and keep the ball close when dribbling.

Football is a game that requires a lot of conditioning. And since kids may not want to run too much, you can make the whole activity fun.

So, which fun soccer games for kids should you introduce in your soccer sessions?

1. Simon Says

Simon Says is a game that teaches kids about dribbling and keeping the ball close. You can play it in a 20×20 area marked with cones.

Each player must have a football inside the marked zone and face the coach or instructor. The instructor must also have a ball.

Instruct the players to follow your instructions after you shout ‘Simon Says.’ For example, when you yell Simon Says, dribble the ball, they must all dribble.

If a player fails an instruction, make them sit out for a while. Use this game to teach your players different skills with or without the ball.

2. Musical Balls

Musical Balls is one of the best fun soccer games for 8-year-olds. Although it has many variations, the goal is to help kids improve their agility, speed, and pace.

You require at least three kids in a circle and a ball less in this variation. For example, six kids for five balls. Then, begin by placing the five balls in the circle’s centre (kids should form the circle at least five yards from the balls).

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The kids can only go for the balls once you blow the whistle. After blowing the whistle, they run or sprint towards the five balls, with five touching a ball.

The player without the ball cannot participate in the next round. But always remove an extra ball after each round.

3. Red Light Green Light

Red Light Green Light is a straightforward football fun game for kids. Start by making a 20×20 playing area. Players should move throughout this area during the game.

All players must have a football. On your call, shout Green Light to make players dribble the ball. After a few seconds, shout Red Light for players to stop dribbling quickly.

4. Fill The Bucket

Fill the Bucket is a fun game that requires two even teams standing at each end of the working area (at least 40×40).

Then, using cones, mark a small square zone in the middle of the 40×40. The square area becomes a bucket.

At least two players with a football must stand on one end and another on the opposite end.

The game begins by allowing one player from one end to dribble the ball into the bucket or centre and leave it. They must then run straight to tag their teammate.

The tagged player on the opposite end dribbles their ball and puts it in the bucket. They then run straight to their teammate and tags them.

Players must take turns until all balls are in the bucket. The first team to put all their footballs in the bucket wins. 

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5. Empty The Bucket

Empty the Bucket is one of the best fun soccer games for 10-year-olds. It is a drill you can do after Fill the Bucket.

In this case, since the balls are in the bucket, make the players run towards it. First, however, they must empty or retrieve the balls from the bucket back to their end and tag their teammate.

The teammate then runs towards the bucket and retrieves a football by dribbling it to the end line. The first team to empty all the balls and takes them to their corner wins.

6. Clean Your Room/Backyard

Clean the Room is among the easy soccer games on this list. It requires 5-6 players and between 10-12 balls.

You then divide the players into two teams, with one group having one less player.

Split the working area into two even parts and put all the balls in one section. Then, two players should go in one area, and the rest remain in the other.

Once you blow the whistle, the extra players run towards the balls and kick them to the two players or clear the balls from their half.

Then, the two players should kick the balls back to the other half. The exercise ends once players have removed all the balls in one half and then rotate. 

7. Hospital Tag

Hospital Tag is one of the best soccer activities for kids that want to develop balance and coordination skills. It requires a space of 20×20 yards marked by cones and at least three players.

All players must have a ball. They then dribble the balls while tagging each other. A tagged player must grab where they were touched and continue dribbling.

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If a player gets tagged a second time, they grab all areas they were touched and continue dribbling.

But if they get tagged a third time, they go to the coach or ‘hospital’ where the coach makes them perform a skill before they can proceed to the field and start afresh.

8. Snake Tag

Snake Tag is the easiest among kindergarten soccer games. The game trains kids about communication, agility, and coordination.

Start by marking a space of 20×20 using cones. Next, make one player volunteer to be the head of the snake and should be the only player without the ball.

The ‘snake’ (player without the ball) runs around, trying to tag other players as they dribble the ball. But the rest of the players must manoeuvre to avoid getting tagged.

Once the snake tags a player, the player’s ball goes to the coach and must grab the back of the snake’s shirt. Then, the two join forces to tag other players until all players join the snake. However, a tag counts if all players stay connected.

9. Bunny Trail

Bunny Trail helps players improve their dribbling skills and agility. Play the game by creating a circle using cones six feet apart.

Place players in each cone and must have a football. On your call, players must dribble to the next call and stop. Then, make a second call where they pick the ball, carry it, and hop to the next cone. Repeat the steps for several rounds.

Have your say

What football games for kids are your favourite, and how do you play them?

If you are in South Africa, you can take your kid to join a football academy to sharpen his or her skills. While academies charge a fee, others offer training for free.


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