Looking for ways to jazz up the beautiful game for your little ones? Although this may sound like sacrilege to lovers of football in its purest form, you may need to take a different approach. By keeping things fresh, your kids will both stay entertained (especially during long stretches of time spent at home), along with getting them understanding how to execute basic footballing skills, you may need to take a different approach.

With our rundown of home football games and exercises, some indoor, some out, you’ll have hours of fitness fuelled fun with your kids. Just make sure you remove any smashable belongings before you get started.

1. Hallway Football

We know that for many people, the time spent at home has been about making the most of the space we have, especially when you have kids. This game is about just that, playing indoors, using a hallway, (or any other area in your house that could remotely resemble a football pitch) and getting a mini game going.

What you need: A small football, futsal or just a small plastic ball, plus masking tape. Needs at least two players.

How to play: If you don’t have the luxury of a garden area or outside space, simply set up goals at the opposite ends of the hallway by placing masking tape on the floor. Try to make the teams as fair as possible, and grab a small softball, and get playing!

Great for: Ball control and all-round fitness.

2. Soccer Golf

A blend of two famous sports, and a game all about precision and the control of how your little ones kick the ball. It works for houses and flats for all different sizes, and might even involve a little bit of imagination from you and your kids when it comes to creating new holes for the course. It’s been said before, but especially prevalent for this specific game, remove all breakable objects before playing.

What you need: Normal sized football. Towels (preferably used).

How to play: Lay towels around your garden or living room if big enough. Towels can be substituted for other items if you deem them acceptable. The aim of the game is to directly land the football on top of the towel with a few kicks, or ‘strokes’ as possible. The player with the lowest stroke score wins. To make the game harder and truer to real golf by adding in bunkers (chairs, lawn chairs) or even water features(kids’ paddling pool).

Great for: Technique and accuracy.

3. Bouncer Challenge

A game to play outdoors (the franticness of the game could cause injury if attempted inside the house). While it focuses on ball control, it’s also fun to teach shielding from the opponent (a great chance for siblings to get one up on each other) and also one of the best games to expend pent up energy. As part of the game involves footballs being thrown around, make sure tempers do not fray and it all stays light hearted.

What you need: Two footballs, another player, and a space big enough to run around in.

How to play: Start by choosing a dribbler, and a bouncer. The goal of the dribbler will be to hang onto the ball (with their feet) by either shielding the ball or of course dribbling. The bouncer’s role is to chase the dribbler around, second football in hand, and use it to attempt to knock the dribbler’s ball from their feet. Once this has happened, the roles switch!

Great for: Developing agility, ball control, and using the upper body to shield the ball.

4. Wall ball

A game made famous in school playgrounds across the country can now be brought home to your garden wall, fence(if sturdy enough) or inside wall. As you will see below, it has a number of different ways to play, and despite its simplicity, can provide your kids with hours of fun

What you need: A football and a flat vertical surface (fence, wall)

How to play: Fairly simple. Kick the ball against the wall and work hard to control it before it flies past you.

Variations to the game of Wall Ball.

  • Use a different part of your body to control the ball with each return. Start with each foot, followed by your thigh, then knee, then chest, completed by the head.
  • Throw the ball to the very top of the wall or fence to practice your ball control or alternately, shape upon your volleying technique.
  • Get siblings or other family members involved and make it competitive. A point is lost if the ball stops moving during their turn.

Great for: Ball control, working your quick reaction muscles.

5. Soccer Tennis

Another sporting hybrid, and one that's played at professional training grounds across the world. It’s also a game that the whole family can get involved with. To keep the game under control, it may be a good idea to not raise your net too high, to stop players feeling the need to smack the ball as high as possible.

What you need: A football, a net, or something that resembles one(this could be a row of chairs, a piece of rope tied between two chairs, or even a piece of raised wood). Needs at least two players.

How to play: Rules are pretty similar to normal tennis, but with a football instead of a tennis ball and a kicking leg instead of a tennis racket. The ball is only allowed to bounce once, and team members are only allowed two touches.

Once your kids have mastered that, (and after removing breakable items) why not change the rules to no bounces allowed?

Great for: Agility and ball control.

6. Gate Race Challenge

A fun, frenetic game that will almost certainly expand that pent up energy that comes from sitting around all day. As it’s a game that involves a lot of tackling and general contact, it’s probably worth supervising your kids as the play. Always better to be safe than sorry when there’s real competition around!

What you need: A football, eight cones(or cone sized objects), a space big enough to run around in, and ideally another person.

How to play: Set up the cones or cone-like objects to create four gates. The first player begins the game by dribbling through each gate. With every gate entry, the ball dribbler receives one point. Whilst this is happening, the second player counts to ten. Once this countdown is complete, that player can chase the dribbling player and try to tackle them. When the ball is won back, it is then the second player’s turn to collect points by dribbling the ball through the gates, with the first player counting to ten and attempting to tackle the dribbling player. Keep count of your score and first to 20 wins!

Great for: Developing ball dribbling and tackling skills

7. Soccer Marbles

A new take on a classic children’s game, this is another example of an exercise that can help develop teamwork as well as footballing skills. Although it is all about accuracy, soccer marbles also requires a certain amount of space, as any missed passes or shots could result in the balls flying off into the distance.

What you need: Two footballs, and ideally playing in pairs.

How to play: Based on the playground game, with one football taking the place of several marbles. The first player kicks the ball and once it stops, the second player then kicks theirs, attempting to make contact with it. If the second player succeeds, they get a point. If not, then the first player gets an opportunity to make contact with the second player's ball. For the ultimate enjoyment, this game should be played quickly, with very few pauses.

Good for: Passing skills, shot placement and teamwork.

8. Knee Football

Feeling like you're missing out on all the fun while your kids play at home? Well this should be the perfect game to play indoors for both you and the whole family. It’s very similar to a normal game of football, although while your kids (depending how old they are) will be standing and able to use their feet to play, the adults of the house can get involved too, just on your knees! It also works well for shooting practice with you (the grown up in goal). But remember to stay at knee level

What you need: At least two cones or cone-like objects (for a goal), an open space and more than one player!

How to play: Similarly to hallway football, you’ll need to find an open space in your home that just needs to mildly resemble a football pitch. Then, clear away anything that could potentially be bumped into and cause injury, or be smashed by a flying football. As you and other older players will be on their knees during the game, it’s a good idea to play on softer surfaces, i.e carpeted spaces.

Great for: Ball control, all-round fitness and family bonding!