Making Meaningful Connections with Kids through Sports {World Cup for Kids}

We are excited for the World Cup coming up in June! Sports events like this are a great way to connect more with family and friends, share camaraderie (or even friendly competition), and create opportunities to learn about different countries and cultures.

Sports events inspire action in many different ways from gathering together to watch the matches and creating opportunities for all of us to learn more about the sport.  Our family loves attending sporting events with our friends!

As a mom of boys, I am on the look-out for ways to meaningfully connect with my kids.  I have found that actively participating in sports with them has been fun, a way to build relationships with them, and a way to reinforce lifelong skills like:  sportsmanship, discipline, and listening.

Here are some ideas to use with your family while we all wait for the World Cup to begin in June:

1.  Invite your family and neighbors to have a Warm-up Party for the World Cup.  Create the opportunity for others to share their favorite sport, team, special skills, or silliest story while on the field.  The adults and older kids can teach the group favorite tricks or tips for their favorite sport.  (I really enjoy learning pitching tips from my husband and it is really cool when Mom can pitch the ball correctly.)

2.  Hold “World Cup” matches in your backyard or at a nearby field with small teams or partners representing the countries going to the World Cup.  Teams can wear the country’s colors and shout-out cheers in the countries national language.   

3.  If you don’t have enough people to do pull together a whole team for a match, then make it simple with challenges like:

    • Who can dribble the ball back and forth with their partner the fastest?  
    • Who can kick a ball into the goal from the furthest distance?
    • Who can juggle the ball the longest?
    • Get the kids involved with designing the challenges together.  

4.  Get outside and play games with your kids!

Connecting with children in a positive way 
through sports in our families AND our communities is important.  

Here are four organizations that support and making meaningful connection through sports in communities. 

Street Child World Cup gathers children that are from the streets, homeless children, and children that may have a home at night but fend for themselves on the streets during the day and create teams.  The teams compete against teams from other countries . . . but it is more than a set of matches.  Art, advocacy, training, and giving voice to this globally voiceless group of children come together through efforts from the Street Child World Cup.  Go see the video on their site.  Use the work that they are doing to teach your own children about issues related to homelessness.  I know I will be.  Read the FAQs for the organization.

Pick Up the Ball provides information and resources for projects, outreach, and grants
for communities in the US to build better facilities and provide equipment so that members of the community have places to play pickup basketball.

Girls on the Run was started years ago by a professional Triathlete who struggled with self image as a young woman. It now has non-profit chapters all over the US. It’s comprised of a 10-12 week long program that includes lessons on self-image, taking care of yourself, along with running drills and games.  At the end of the program, all the girls participate in a 5K race.

Right to Play is an international organizations founded by an Olympian. It is
active in 20 countries focused on bringing sports and play to all children.  Right to Play provides volunteer coaches, trains junior coaches, supports the development of playgrounds and fields for games in communities, and work to fulfill their mission: “We help children learn through play.”

Want to get some trivia going about The World Cup?2014 World Cup Group Sets by Sports Illustrated Kids

Quiz Your Noodle: FIFA World Cup by National Geographic

Click the image below to read of our series on World Cup for Kids!  You can also follow our World Cup for Kids board on Pinterest!
Sheila began her career in education by working with children and continues to serve as an advocate for children that are at-risk.  She has taught in a variety of settings from a classroom in small town Texas to a psychiatric unit in Chicago. She is the mother of two young boys and is the voice of Pennies of Time where she shares the adventures of serving with her two young boys.  You can see more of what they do on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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3 thoughts on “Making Meaningful Connections with Kids through Sports {World Cup for Kids}”

  1. This is such a wonderful topic! Children even at their young age should be guided by parents to be involved in recreational activities like playing soccer. That way, they can be familiar with the game. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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