When coaching youth soccer, having lots of fun soccer warm up games in your back pocket is absolutely essential! Not only will playing fun games with your players ensure your coaching session is a huge success, but the children’s love of soccer will also naturally grow when they have lots of fun at practice. Below you’ll fun 7 super fun soccer warm up games for kids. All these activities are great to use at the start of practice to warm up, as ice-breaker games, or as time-filler games when you have extra time at practice.
7 Fun Soccer Warm Up Games For Kids
1. Team Handball
Kids absolutely love this first warm up game! To play, first set up a 25×35 yard grid and prepare one soccer ball. Next, split the players into two teams and choose one player from each team to be the ‘target player’. Place the target players at opposite ends of the grid and have the other players spread out inside the grid.
To start the game, throw the ball to a player on one team. The aim of the game is for the teams to get the ball to their target player by throwing and catching the ball to progress down the field. Players without the ball can move freely, but the player with the ball can only pivot from side to side. If a team successfully gets the ball to the target player and he/she catches it, that team scores a point.
This is a non-contact game and opponents win possession by intercepting passes only. If at any point a team drops the ball, it is turned over to the other team. After every point the player who made the point-scoring pass switches out with the target player.
This warm up game is a fantastic way to get kids moving quickly and energized for practice. It is also a great way to practice moving into space to support their teammates.
2. Surfers And Sharks
This next game is a super fun dynamic warm up for kids that can be used to get them moving and warmed up for practice. To play this game, first you’ll need to set up a 40×40 yard grid with a mini 5×5 yard grid in each corner. These mini-grids are the Islands!
Next, choose one or two players to be the ‘sharks’ and place them in the middle of the grid. The rest of the players are ‘surfers’ and must start at one of the ‘islands’. The kids can choose any island they want and do not all have to be at the same island.
Upon the coach’s call, all the surfers have to leave their island and run to another island. The sharks must then try and tag them before they get to the safety of another island. If a shark tags one of the surfers before they get to an island, they become sharks, too. Continue playing like this until only one surfer is left. This surfer is the winner!
This warm up activity can also be used with soccer balls. The surfers must try and dribble their ball to another island and the sharks must try and kick their balls out of the grid.
3. Circle Tag
If you’re looking for a fun soccer ice breaker game to get kids moving and laughing at the same time, then try Circle Tag. To play this game, first, make groups of 4/5. In each group, choose one player to be the ‘tagger’ and give that player a ball to hold in their hands. The other players then make a circle by holding hands/wrists. In this circle, one player is the ‘target’ that the ‘tagger’ will try and tag.
The aim of the game is for the ‘tagger’ to try and catch the target player by touching them on the back with the soccer ball. To protect the target player, the players in the circle can spin around and move to keep the target player away from the approaching ‘tagger’. If the tagger catches the target player then the target player becomes the tagger and a new target player is chosen.
Splat is a silly and fun warm game for kids that you can use as a break-time activity during soccer camp, an ice-breaker game to get kids laughing, or at the beginning of any practice to start your session in a fun way. To set up this game, have all the players stand in a big circle with the coach in the middle. The coach then chooses a player at random, points at them, and says “Splat!”
That player then kneels down and the two players on either side of him/her have a ‘splat off’. Whoever points at the other and says “splat” first wins. The loser is out and must sit down.
Play until there are just two players left. These last two players will then have a ‘splat duel’. Have them stand back to back and walk away from each other slowly. When the coach shouts “Splat”, the players must quickly turn around, point, and shout “Splat!”. The first player to do so is the winner.
5. Ten Steps To Soccer Stardom
The great thing about this fun soccer warm-up game is that it’s also a sing-a-long too! It’s a great way to create a bit of energy with your players and get them excited and confident about playing soccer and being part of a team.
To play, all players start with a ball in a large area. The coach then class out/sings one of the ‘ten steps’. Players must first repeat the instructions from the coach and then must do the required action. Here are the ten steps/instructions you can call out for players to follow:
- Number 1 is on the run! (Players should run with the soccer ball.)
- Number 2 is on the shoe! (Players should stop the ball their their shoe.)
- Number 3 is take a knee! (Players should push the ball out from their feet and put their knee on the ball.)
- Number 4 is head to the floor! (Players should push the ball out from their feet and put their head on the ball.)
- Number 5 is staying alive! (Players should do toe taps on the ball while singing ‘Staying Alive’ by the Bee Gees.)
- Number 6 is do some tricks! (Players should do a dribbling or turn move with the ball.)
- Number 7 is ball from heaven! (Players should throw the ball up in the ar and try to control it.)
- Number 8 is find a mate! (Players should find a partner and switch balls with them.)
- Number 9 is to the line! (Players should dribble to the end of a line on the grid and stop the ball as quickly as possible.)
- Number 10 is do the hen! (Players sit on the ball and make hen noises as loud as they can.)
The coach should introduce one instruction at a time, sing it really loud, and then demonstrate the desired response. As you get further and further into the sing-along you can mix things up by singing the instructions in a different order.
6. Head Catch
Head catch is a great soccer game to play with kids when they need a break from their regular soccer activities. Not only is this game lots of fun, it’s also a great activity to develop players’ reactions, quick thinking, and heading skills.
To play this game, first, all players must stand in a circle with the coach in the middle holding a ball. The coach then chooses a player at random and throws the ball towards their head. As the coach throws the ball, he/she should say “Head!” or “Catch!”. The player should do the opposite of what the coach says. If the player does the opposite action, they are still in the game. But if they do what the coach said, they are out and must sit down. The last player standing is the winner.
7. Tunnel Ball
Last on our list of fun warm up games for kids is Tunnel Ball. This game is all about getting players to have fun while competing against each other in a relaxed and inclusive way. To play, all players should make a circle and stand with their legs shoulder-width apart. The outside of each player’s boots should be touching the boots of the players on either side of them. Place one ball in the middle of the circle.
The aim of the game is to push the ball through somebody else’s legs to get a point. To do this, each player puts their hands together, interlacing their fingers, and pushes the ball as hard as they can when it comes near them. Players can try and stop the ball from going through their legs but must keep their hands clasped together and legs open at all times. Whenever a point is scored the coach simply puts the ball back in the middle of the circle and the game continues! This game is so much fun and is guaranteed to get your players laughing and smiling at practice!
Thanks for reading. I hope your players have lots of fun playing these soccer warm up drills and games. Before you go, don’t forget to check out all our free soccer drills for more games and activities you can play at practice.