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Fun soccer games for 4 year olds

When it comes to soccer training sessions for the little ones, especially those in their early stages of development, incorporating fun soccer games is key. I remember how my nephew, at the tender age of four, found his passion for soccer. It was through games that were not only simple and engaging but also instrumental in enhancing his basic skills. These games are designed to improve a child’s ability to dribble, score, and most importantly, build their confidence as a young player.

As they grow, the games become more challenging, preparing them for future competition. This gradual progression is essential. It helps in nurturing youth soccer players in a manner that is both effective and enjoyable.

Top 10 fun soccer games for 4 year olds

The transformation from playful kindergarten games to those that help in honing their abilities is remarkable. My experience has shown that the right blend of games can help children of various age groups not just participate in soccer but truly succeed in it. Following are the fun soccer games you can begin with.

  1. Sharks and Minnows

Sharks and Minnows is an ideal game for young children, particularly in teaching them to work on their dribbling skills and protect the ball. In my years of coaching, I’ve seen how this game lights up the faces of kids, filling the soccer field with excitement and laughter. To prepare for this game, it’s important to set up an area measuring roughly 20 to 25 yards, providing enough room for the children to maneuver.

The game begins with one shark in the middle of the field, and the rest, known as minnows, at one end of the field. Each minnow has a soccer ball and must make it to the other end of the field without the shark taking their ball. If a shark kicks a ball out of the playing field, that minnow becomes a shark.

Players should repeat this process until there’s only one minnow left, declaring them the winner. This game not only teaches skills but also the value of strategy and adaptation.

  1. Yellow Brick Road

A delightful game for young soccer enthusiasts is Yellow Brick Road. To set up, create a cone path at one end of the field, incorporating a few turns to challenge the kids. This winding path, reminiscent of the famous Yellow Brick Road, captivates the children’s imagination and hones their ability to dribble the ball with precision. The objective is to navigate the ball through this maze-like path, staying within the lines.

At the end of the path, place a witch – this could be a parent or a coach. As the kids approach, they are encouraged to kick the ball at the witch. This aspect not only adds excitement but also helps in practicing their aiming skills. The fun twist? Have the witch act like they’re melting or do something equally entertaining. This playful interaction not only brings laughter but also creates an engaging environment for learning soccer skills.

  1. Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light is a fantastic game for 4-year-olds to develop their dribbling skills and close control of the ball. This game also enhances quick reactions and listening skills. The game begins with the players lining up with a ball at the starting line. The objective is simple yet engaging: dribble the ball towards the finish line, but there’s a twist. The coach plays a crucial role, calling out “green light” to signal the players to start dribbling, and “red light” at random times to instruct them to stop immediately.

The challenge lies in the ability to stop on command — both the player and the ball must come to a complete stop. Any player whose ball is still in motion must return to the starting line, adding a layer of excitement and anticipation. The game continues until the first player crosses the finish line, emerging as the winner. This fun and dynamic game is a great way to engage young soccer enthusiasts in a playful yet skill-building activity.

  1. Piggy in the Middle

Piggy in the Middle stands as a classic children’s soccer game, perfect for warming up and improving passing skills. It’s not only one of the best soccer games for young players but also remarkably simple to set up and explain. This game is a staple in my coaching sessions for 5-year-olds, where the objective is to develop their abilities in a fun, engaging environment. The U6 drill involves players forming a circle, with one or two becoming the ‘piggies’ in the middle.

The players in the circle work on their passing, trying to pass the ball around the circle without letting the middle players (piggies) intercept the ball. It’s a delightful sight watching the kids strategize and collaborate. If the piggies win the ball, they switch places with the person who lost the ball, who then becomes the new piggy in the middle. The essence of this game is not just in the laughter and fun but also in the valuable lesson of teamwork and the object of the game: to work on passing drills.

  1. Kick at Coach

Kick at Coach” is a delightful game where kids are enclosed in a box, each with a ball, dribbling around. The unique aspect of this game involves two coaches or parents being inside the box as well. The primary point of this activity is to encourage the children to kick the ball and try to hit the adults. As a coach, I always move slowly to give them a fair chance. The excitement in their eyes as they aim and kick is truly heartwarming.

When a child successfully hits a coach or parent, the reward system adds a twist of fun. The successful child gets to pick an animal sound for the coach or parent to make. This not only brings laughter but also fosters a sense of achievement among the young players. It’s a simple yet effective way to engage them in soccer while ensuring they are having a great time.

  1. King of the Ring

King of the Ring is not just a warm-up game; it’s an adventure in practicing defending, spatial awareness, and decision-making skills. The players start in the center circle, each dribbling a ball. The thrilling goal? To knock the ball of other players out of the ring. It’s a fantastic way to become the acclaimed ‘King of the Ring.’ This game is a hit among the kids, where they not only learn soccer skills but also the importance of strategy and agility.

Each player must skillfully defend their ball while attempting to dislodge others’. Once a player’s ball is out of the circle, they head to the sidelines, watching the remaining players vie for victory. The excitement builds as the numbers dwindle, leading to the last player in the ring who wins the coveted title and gains bragging rights over their team. It’s a game that perfectly blends physical activity with mental acumen, making it a favorite in soccer training for kids.

  1. Musical Balls

Musical Balls ranks among the best children’s soccer games, serving both as a warm-up drill and a fun activity for up to four players. In this dynamic game, each child has to dribble a ball within a designated playing area. The unique twist comes when the coach, parent, or another player yells ‘change’ every 30 seconds. At this signal, each player must stop dribbling their ball at their spot, find a new ball, and start dribbling again within the playing area.

As the game progresses, following the first round, one player’s ball is taken away, creating a scenario where the child runs without a soccer ball. The coach yells ‘change’ again, and the players repeat the process, gradually increasing the challenge as one by one, balls are removed. This continuous cycle goes on until only one player is left. Musical Balls is a particularly good soccer drill for kids, teaching them to control the ball while moving quickly, and it does not require a large number of players to be effective.

  1. Foxes and Chickens

In the energetic game of Foxes and Chickens, the set-up depends on the number of kids playing. Create a grid that the young players will not try to leave. This game is a fantastic way to engage kids in a playful and active environment. Every child is given a soccer ball, and they play the role of the foxes. The parents, acting as chickens, become an integral part of this game. They each have a pinney, representing a tail, half-tucked into the back of their pants or shorts.

The aim of this soccer drill is for the young players to chase the parents and remove the pinney or ‘tail’. This activity not only brings laughter and joy but also helps in developing agility and speed among the children. It’s a delightful scene to see the kids eagerly chasing and trying to get the tail from the parents, who playfully act as chickens. The involvement of helpful parents in the game makes it a memorable experience for the children.

  1. Tag

Tag is not just a game of fun, but a great soccer drill suitable for all age groups. The game’s dynamics can vary depending on the size and skill level of the group, with either one tagger or multiple taggers being chosen. The players are tasked to dribble a ball across the field or within a large square, skillfully trying to avoid being touched by a tagger. The game is initiated by the soccer coach, who blows a whistle to start the exciting chase as the taggers begin their hunting.

When a tagger tags a player, the tagged player must stand still in a frozen state. The only way to be brought back into action is when a teammate dribbles a ball between their legs to “unfreeze” them. This element adds a twist of teamwork and strategy to the game. The intense and engaging play continues until the game comes to an end with all players being frozen by the taggers. This game is a favorite among young players, as it combines the excitement of tag with the skillful maneuvering of soccer.

  1. Cops and Robbers

Cops and Robbers is a thrilling soccer game that’s perfect for engaging kids in playful learning. Set in the middle of a playing field, this game transforms the area into a miniature cityscape. The coach uses cones to create a small square or triangle, dubbed the “bank,” in the playing area. The exciting part begins when the coach assigns the roles of cops and robbers to the kids. In an interesting twist, there are twice as many cops as robbers. For instance, in a group of nine children, there might be three robbers and six cops.

The robbers start in the middle of the bank without a ball, while the cops, each with a ball, begin around the edges. The goal for the robbers is to take the balls away from the cops and dribble them to the bank. A ball must be stopped entirely in the bank to count as captured. If a robber manages to put the ball in the bank but the ball moves, the cop is not out yet. The cop is only out when their ball stops rolling, and they then become a robber themselves. The game reaches its climax as the last remaining cop skillfully evades capture and ultimately wins the game.


The article presents a variety of creative and engaging games that are perfect for nurturing young soccer enthusiasts. From the strategic chases in “Cops and Robbers” to the dynamic teamwork in “Musical Balls,” each game is designed to develop essential soccer skills while ensuring that the children have a delightful time.

These games are more than just physical activities; they instill valuable lessons in teamwork, strategy, and sportsmanship in a fun and interactive environment. As parents, coaches, or educators, introducing these games is a fantastic way to foster a love for soccer and physical activity in young children, setting the foundation for a healthy and active lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

 How can I make soccer fun for my 4-year-old?

To make soccer fun for 4-year-olds, include a mix of crawling, running, dribbling, toe-tap exercises, toss and catch activities, shooting drills, and small 4v4 scrimmage games. These activities are essential for developing toddlers’ soccer skills in an enjoyable and age-appropriate manner.

 How do you coach a 4-year-old soccer team?

When coaching a 4-year-old soccer team, focus on fun and engagement. Ensure each player has a ball during practice to avoid waiting in lines. Avoid using hands to pick up the ball on the field, use positive reinforcement over negative comments, and always be enthusiastic to keep the kids motivated and interested.

 How do you play soccer in preschool?

Playing soccer in preschool involves simplified games that emphasize fun and basic skills development. Activities should be short, engaging, and tailored to their limited attention span. Focus on basic dribbling, kicking, and running with the ball to introduce them to soccer fundamentals.

 How can I make soccer more exciting for my child?

To make soccer more exciting for your child, incorporate playful activities like obstacle courses, themed games like ‘Cops and Robbers’ or ‘Tag,’ and involve them in small-sided games where they get more touches on the ball. Keeping the activities varied and interactive can increase their enthusiasm for the game.

 How do I keep my toddler entertained at a soccer game?

Keeping a toddler entertained at a soccer game can be achieved with a variety of activities. Bring along stickers, engaging toys like Magformers or Magnatiles, small cars, Hatchimals, balls, and playdough. Snacktivities, like creating cereal necklaces, can also be a fun and engaging way to keep them busy. Bringing along a friend or sibling can also help in keeping them entertained.