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World Cup Fever In Your Back Garden

The World Cup kicked-off last night, the land is awash with England flags, and children and adults alike are buzzing with football fever.

The tournament is a great excuse to get outside and play with the children.

Here are some ideas for hosting your own World Cup at home.

1. Get Crafty If your children tend to shy away from arts and crafts, using a football theme can really help get their buy-in. Not everyone is going to grow up to be a Van Gogh, but craft activities are important across all ages for developing fine motor skills, creativity and imagination. Ask each child to invent a country name for themselves, and a fill an A4 piece of paper with a flag to represent their nation.

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2. Warm Up All athletes need to prepare their body thoroughly before exercising. Watch some clips of players stretching and jogging before a match and explain what they are doing, then head outside to complete a warm up drill.

3. Draw Up Your League For each of the activities listed below, decide on a points allocation for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. Your World Cup will be a league rather than a knock-out tournament. At the end of the games, whoever has the most points wins.

4. Balloon Keepy Uppy Test hand eye co-ordination by setting out a small course for players to walk around, while playing keepy-uppy with a balloon. They can use their hands, feet, head, shoulders and knees to keep the balloon off the ground, while walking the course in the shortest possible time. If the balloon touches the floor, they need to go back to the beginning.

5. Perfect Placement This game works best if you have a slide attached to a generously sized climbing frame platform. The aim of the game is to kick the ball up the slide, hard enough for it to reach the top, but gently so it stops on the platform rather than shooting down the other side. The winner is the person who takes the fewest attempts to balance the ball.

6. Penalty Shootout For this you will need a football goal, or create goal posts using jumps, flags, or whatever else you have to hand. Start just a few feet from the goal and shoot. Everyone who scores is still in the penalty shoot out. Now mark out a new penalty spot a few feet further back, and everyone has a turn shooting from here. Again, everyone who scores is still in the competition, and can take another shot from a goal even further back. This continues until there is only one person left, or you can't get any further away from the goal.

You can make up as many activities for your league as you like, and for an additional element of maths learning, have the children add up their own totals (with your supervision of course).

While the current sunshine and high temperatures make a welcome break from the storms experienced in the water, it can make playing outside an uncomfortable affair. Get in the garden before 11am, or after 4pm, to avoid the worst of the heat, and get the most enjoyment from your planned activities.

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