If you have a budding footballer int he family, convert your back garden into the stadium of their dreams with these play ideas.
Equipment Ideas A set of goals would be the obvious choice for a football fan, or one will suffice if you have a small garden. Although positioning them against the fence might seem like the logical thing to do, your child won't hit the target every time and the incessant banging against the fence will likely drive your neighbours to distraction. You can avoid too much noise by either stringing a very taught net across the fence to bounce the balls back, or placing the goal in front of the back of your house, so the noise only troubles you and your family.If your child doesn't have anyone to go in goal, or prefers to play solo, look for a goal like TP Super Goal with Trainer, that comes with a target sheet to put across the goal mouth.
If space is limited, you can get a football equivalent of swingball, which is essentially a football on a string, tied to a post in the garden. There are also training balls that are tied to a wrist strap, which are ideal for a round of keepy-uppy as the ball won't be able to stray too far away.
Play Inspiration Besides a regular match of football, there are plenty of ways to practice the skills a budding young footballer needs.
To hone dribbling ability, set up a small football assault course, and time how long each lap takes. Take a photo of the course so you can recreate it another day and try to beat the personal best.
During a match a player needs to rely on their ears as much as their eyes. Develop listening skills by playing a passing game blindfolded. Before the game starts, pick one animal noise that indicates it's time to pass the ball. The blindfolded player remains in the centre of the lawn. They can turn on the spot but should not walk or run as they may trip and hurt themselves. The other players, who are not blindfolded, can walk around the centre player, quietly making different animal noises. The centre player must listen carefully to identify the correct animal noise, which means they need to pass the ball, and work out which direction the sound came from so they can successfully complete the pass.
Re-purposing Stuff You Already Have Passing a ball successfully requires good directional skills, but also judgement about how hard to kick it. Practice judging the force required by kicking a ball up the slide with the aim of it coming to a rest right at the top and staying there.
Practice chipping a ball by labeling the rungs on the climbing frame ladder with scores, and chipping the ball between the rungs. If you set a target score, or get your child to add up their own points, you can combine football practice with some maths questions.
For more play ideas and garden inspiration, check out the rest of the Wicken Toys blog.