Children can experience success with kicking soon after they start walking. To start with they might just poke their foot at the ball and chase after it. Kicking is a skill used mainly in the sport of soccer, however is also a good starting point for learning to kick an AFL football or rugby ball. As children develop the skill of kicking it is important they have a good foundation level of balance as this will help them experience success with their kicking.
Start with kicking balloons and soft balls. Provide plenty of opportunities to kick and don’t worry too much about the technique at this young age. Try kicking with left and right feet and emphasise kicking as hard as you can rather than worrying about the accuracy of the kick. Practice making penguin feet to help demonstrate how to contact the ball with their foot. Use KIDDO’s teaching vocabulary:
- Eyes on ball
- Kicking foot like a penguin (turned outwards so you make contact with the inside of your foot)
- Step (with your non-kicking foot next to the ball), swing & kick!
Children will normally kick with their toe to start with. Teaching children to kick with the inside of their foot is important to help development, this is the easiest kick to teach initially. As their confidence and skill increases children will start kicking on the run.
Provide opportunities to kick as soon as toddlers start walking. Try asking questions such as:
- Where can you kick the ball?
- How far can you kick the ball?
- Try scoring a goal, I will be the goalkeeper?
- Can you kick to me?
- Can you run and kick?
- Which part of your foot do you kick with?
Set up goals in your outdoor environment using cones or markers or a wall to kick at. Provide a variety of soft balls to kick. Try drawing chalk markings to kick at on a wall. Try some of the ideas below to encourage children to engage in kicking activities.
- Blow up some balloons and see if you can use your feet to keep them in the air. How many touches can you do?
- Set up a soccer obstacle course to dribble the ball through and kick a goal at the end
- Bubbles - can you use your feet to pop the bubbles?
- Set up different sized goals around the area and see if children can move around with the ball kicking goals
Try playing some of KIDDO’s fun and age appropriate activities to encourage children to develop and explore the skill of kicking:
- Ready, Aim, Fire – set up some fun targets on a wall and see if you can hit them with your kicks
- Shrinking goals – set up different size goals start with large ones and gradually getting smaller
- Clean up the Rubbish (kicking)– scatter balls over one side of an obstacle and clean up by kicking all the balls (rubbish) to the other side
- Children start by poking their foot at the ball and kicking with their toe
- As they develop they will start to step and kick in a more continuous motion and swing their kicking leg behind them to generate force
- Children kicking skills can be limited by having poor balance skills