Many a child is an aspiring soccer player, but what about those that aren't? In the world of physical education, it's important that all students feel welcome and included. That's why we've written this list of kicking games; designed to foster fine motor skills, make physical activity fun, and ensure everyone can play regardless of skill level or age! So keep on scrolling to read all about the best kicking games but remember, these are just ideas - feel free to make your own versions!
Game 1: World Cup
World Cup is a high-energy kicking game that can be adapted for various skill levels. It's a cross between UNO, soccer, and musical chairs.
Place kids into teams of two (a duo) (1 team of three if necessary). Outline a semicircle around the goal with cones (or tape). This semicircle is a no-go zone for players. The game is played in rounds. Duos must get the ball and score, to advance to the next round. The last team to score each round does not advance and is removed from the game. Play as many rounds as necessary until only one team remains. The game then restarts.
This is a great game to develop both teamwork and kicking skills among young students but can be enjoyed by older students as well.
Note for those teaching younger students:
For K-1 students who are still mastering kicking accurately, simply divide your class into as many groups as you have balls - have them practice passing to each other before moving on to more game-based lessons.
Game 2: Chair Soccer
Chair Soccer is a great way to switch up the curriculum when classes move indoors for the winter. It's like an every-man-for-himself soccer version of speed or knockout basketball. All you'll need is a chair for each student, a soccer ball, and a large playing area. The goal of the game is to protect your chair while kicking the ball at other players' chairs to sit them down. If the ball hits any part of your chair, you are out and must sit in your chair. Keep track of who got you out. If they get out, you are back in. The game continues in this way until there are 5 players left (or another predetermined number), at which point no players can come back in and play until last man standing.
To incorporate a fitness element into the game, instead of a student sitting in their chair while out, have them run a lap, do a couple of jumping jacks, or do some other activity to allow them to get back in.
- Chairs (one for each child)
- Soccer ball
Game 3: No Hands Kickball
A twist on a classic P.E. game, No Hands Kickball forces students to use their feet for the majority of the game. Like traditional kickball, there is a fielding team and a kicking team. A player will “pitch” the ball, and a batter must kick it to get on base. However, instead of running, the batter (and on-base runners) must dribble a soccer ball between bases. Using a hula hoop as a base allows for a ball to be contained at each base. To reach base, runners must dribble to and then maintain control of the ball within the base. If the ball goes out, or the runner is not in the hula hoop with the ball, they can be tagged out.
Defense: Fielders must kick the ball (using their foot or knee) instead of throwing it. Fielders can only pick up the ball to tag a runner out, but cannot move while holding it - only pivot. Fielders can still catch the ball to get a batter out but must put it down and kick it to pass to a teammate.
If you feel that the kicking team has an unfair advantage, have students switch their kicking leg to their non-dominant leg. This will even out the game and teach kids new motor skills.
- Rubber kickball
- 4 Soccer balls
- 3 Small Hula Hoops
- 1 Large Hula Hoop for Home Plate (home base)
- Cones to mark boundaries
Game 4: Wall Target
Wall Target is a game that focuses on precision and control. Students kick the ball toward a marked target on a wall, aiming to hit specific zones for varying point values. This game not only sharpens kicking accuracy but also introduces an element of friendly competition as individuals or teams strive to accumulate the highest score.
Game 5: 7 Level Soccer Obstacle Course
The 7-Level Soccer Obstacle Course is the gamification of simple soccer drills - allowing it to be played by all grades and skill levels. It goes like this:
Each level has a soccer drill or motor skill to complete several times successfully to reach the end of a level. At the end of each level is a checkpoint. If a student does not complete a level correctly, they reset to the previous checkpoint.
How to set up a level:
Choose a ball skill for the level (ex. passing). Then place cones, lines, hula hoops, or rebounders in the space designated for that level. Ex. students must pass a ball off a rebounder and angle it so that the rebounded ball goes through two cones to complete the level.
How to set up checkpoints:
Using a dome cone, have students use their feet to roll the ball on top of the cone to “complete” a level. To mark the beginning of a level, a dome can also be used. Students place their ball on top of the cone and then roll it off to start the level.
Remind students to “reset” a level by fixing everything they may have moved or bumped while completing the level so it's ready for the next student.
Ideas for Levels:
- Evasive Maneuvers: Dribble between cones without touching them.
- Cone Kick: Kick a ball to knock over cones that have been lined up - if they knock over a certain amount they pass the level.
- Jump Rope Maze: Students must dribble a ball through a maze made by laying jump ropes on the ground (no straight corners required). To make it more exciting, time them and keep track of a high score.
- Hot Potato: Have kids juggle a soccer ball a short distance without dropping it OR if juggling is too advanced for your age group simply have them get the ball into the air with their feet and bounce it across the line to pass the level.
- Rebound Score: Players pass a ball off a rebounder with the correct angle so that the ball passes between two cones (place the cones an appropriate distance from the rebounder depending on the age and skill level of your class).
- Teamwork Dribble & Pass Race: Two players complete this level together. One starts at the beginning of the level, and the other stands at the end inside of a hula hoop. Place a cone in the middle to mark the halfway point. Player 1 must dribble to the halfway point, and then pass to player 2 inside the hula hoop. Player 2 must then dribble to the cone, and pass the ball to the next 2 players waiting in line. If either player loses control of the ball or passes outside the hula hoop they must restart.
- Hula Hoop Lock-Pick Soccer: In a row, but in an alternating pattern, place hula hoops on the ground. Put pieces of paper labeled with numbers inside the hula hoops to designate the order of the hula hoops. Students must start behind a line and kick the ball so that it goes into and stays inside the hula hoop to “unlock it”. They then retrieve their ball and continue to the next hula hoop until they've “unlocked” all the hula hoops and can move on to the next level. Multiple students can work as a team to complete this level faster, but it must still be done in order.
- As many balls as possible (soccer balls, kick balls, etc.) One per student is great, or split balls up by level.
- Cones, hoops, rebounders, and other obstacles to create the course
Game 6: Hungry Hippo Soccer
An active adaptation of the classic board game, Hungry Hippo Soccer brings a whimsical touch to your P.E. curriculum.
How to Set Up: Place four hula hoops in the corners of the room to act as each team's “stomach”. Use either your center court circle or cones to mark a circle in the center of the room. Place balls of all sizes in the middle of the center circle to act as “food”. Finally, split your students into four teams to act as the “hippos”.
How to Play: Each team starts in their respective corner behind their hula hoop. Then, each team sends one team member at a time to “eat" the “food”. To do this the team member will run to the center circle and dribble a ball back to their hula hoop. Make sure every team member gets a chance to “eat”. Once all balls have been dribbled back, each team counts how many balls they got. First place goes to the team with the most, second, third, and fourth.
Reverse Hungry Hippo Soccer: Teams then dribble back all the balls they “ate” the previous round. The first team to get rid of all their balls takes first place, and so on.
Game 7: Soccer Tennis Timer Match
Don't have a tennis ball? No worries! Soccer tennis timer match is a great way to teach ball control and a great PE game for enhancing kicking skills in general!
How to Play: Split your class in half, and place a divider net across mid-court. Start a 2-3 minute timer. Students must kick the inflatable balls across the divider net - the goal is to have as few balls on your side of the net when the timer goes off.
Original Soccer Tennis: Teams play as above but with a limited number of touches and only one ball. If they don't get the ball back over the net in the allotted number of kicks then the opposing team gets a point. Serving works by having a student in a back corner drop-kick the ball to the opposing team.
- Large Soft or Inflatable Bouncy Balls
- Net or marked-off court boundaries (here's a net apparatus that can reach 50+ ft!)
As P.E. teachers, your commitment to fostering a love for physical activity and skill development is truly commendable. The games presented here are not only designed to promote fitness but also to make learning enjoyable for your students. Whether you incorporate these games into your curriculum or use them as inspiration to create your variations, the goal is to instill a passion for movement and teamwork. So, kick off your next P.E. class with one of these engaging games, and watch your students develop essential skills while having a blast on the field. After all, in the world of physical education, the right kick can make all the difference!