If there’s one thing I’ve learned since my baby became a toddler, it’s that outside play leads to a better night’s sleep. So, when we had the opportunity to go to an outdoor soccer class at Lil’ Kickers, I jumped at the chance.
Lil’ Kickers is located next to The Yard and AT&T Park in Mission Bay, where the weather is usually sunny, even when other parts of the city are under fog and clouds. We arrived early and found parking right in front of the class! My son can be a little slow to warm to new people and places, so we were happy to be the first teammates there and quickly met our Coach. He got down on my son’s level, introduced himself, and pointed out where we would be having our class. The classes are split up by age group to ensure age-appropriate games and skills are taught.
This is a parent participation class, so get ready to model behavior and encourage your little one by following along. Class started out with stretches, then a game of Red Light, Green Light. At first, games such as this might sound strange to do in a soccer class because they don’t have anything to do with soccer, but, by participating in Red Light, Green Light, the children are learning color recognition, following directions, and working together! These are valuable skills that they will definitely need on the soccer field or any team activity, for that matter. Next, we spent time kicking around big bouncing balls from goal to goal to get familiar with the soccer terms and field. The children really enjoyed getting to run around together and gained gross motor skills while they did it.
To get familiar with other pieces of the field Coach showed the class how to stack cones and make towers out of them. Learning fine motor skills, like stacking, helps improve dexterity. We even did some parachute play and had to work together to match colors. When each activity finished, Coach had everyone clean up together in a fun matching game. At the end of class, we did a closing circle cheer and everyone got a soccer stamp!
My son has been talking about soccer non-stop since our class. It made a big impact on my little toddler, and we will be going back ASAP. The way the class is taught is so engaging and exciting that you and your child will love it. Get outside, or, better yet, make an afternoon of it and bring a picnic lunch. I promise you will both be hungry after class is finished, and the positive reinforcement the coaches provide is sure to leave your toddler feeling proud, accomplished and ready for a nap!