5 Backyard Soccer Games For Kids – Thanks to U.S. Soccer Star Kristine Lilly & Dr. Pepper Snapple

Are there any parents out there lost in summer?
Some days I’m lost in the best ways….playing and swimming the day away with my three kids.
Other days, I’m lost in an August daydream when I will have even a few hours to run errands alone.

Even though I might get a little antsy some days for a little reprieve, I really admire (and am inspired by) moms who have not allowed their work load or daily tasks to drown out what really matters as a parent… making time for family.

So, it’s not very often that you get to spotlight a mom who has accomplished so many life goals as an athlete and entrepreneur (read bio at the end of the post!).  AND she also shares tips for moms like me, with young kids, to make time as a family (perfect timing in light of summer and the World Cup!).

U.S. soccer legend Kristine Lilly, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Play Ambassador for Let’s Play, an initiative led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide, shares tips below on how she transforms the soccer drills she learned on the field into fun games that keep her kids active all summer long.

1. Dribble Relay

o Set up some small orange cones or plastic cups in a zig-zag pattern.
o Divide your family into two equal groups and give one person from each team a soccer ball. Have the team members stand on opposite ends of the yard.
o To begin, the team member with the soccer ball has to dribble around each cone to the other side, tag their teammate and pass them the ball.
o Then, the teammate has to dribble the ball back through the cones and race to the other end of the field. The team to complete the obstacle course first, wins!

2. Kick-out Keep-away

o Great for a large group of kids, give all players a soccer ball (or any type of ball they can kick around) except for the person who is “it.”
o Set up four cones or plastic cups on each corner of your “field,” and when the game begins, all players dribble their ball while the person who is “it” tries to kick each ball out of bounds.
o When a player’s ball is kicked out of bounds, he/she is eliminated. The last player with a ball wins!

3. High-Five Goals

o Set up a couple of markers to signify a “goal.”
o Pass the soccer ball to your child, and have them kick it back to you.
o After three kicks back and forth, tell them to run over to you and give you a high-five, and then kick the ball into the goal. This is a great game for little ones!

4. Sideline Sprints

o Put a mark on the lawn or driveway about 15 yards away, or whatever distance works best for your space.
o Run to the line and back five times.
o Next, do five jumping jacks and count them off together out loud.
o Continue the sequence, but this time, run to the line and back four times, and work your way down to one time. It is a great workout game for parents AND kids, and helps little ones learn how to count.

5. Hydration Station

o It’s so important to stay hydrated when you’re playing outside in the heat. I like to keep a small cooler filled with cold water or juice in the fridge so I can easily grab it and during outdoor play in the summer.
o Just make sure your kids don’t drench the “coach” after they score a goal!


Kristine Lilly



Kristine Lilly is a mom and an American soccer player who last played professionally for the Boston Breakers women’s professional soccer team. She was a member of the United States women’s national soccer team for 24 years and has appeared in more international matches than any other player in the sport, appearing in her 352nd and final match against Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in November 2010. She is the founder of the Kristine Lilly Soccer Academy and author of an e-book, Girls Soccer: My Story. Lilly lives with her husband and their two daughters outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

DIY Rain Chain



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Head’s up!  Father’s day is THIS WEEKEND, not next like I kept telling myself.  My son had this brilliant idea to buy my husband some outdoor speakers for Father’s Day, which I really thought was a great idea (something I would enjoy too), but have you checked out the prices for those babies?  Yeah – it’s like the cost of formula for a year.  Not gonna happen.

Keep on brainstorming… Well, one thing my husband and I have always wanted is a rain chain… especially the copper ones that hang from beautiful, expensive copper gutters that we don’t have (as seen here in this video).  And those can be upwards of $100 or more… also not going to happen.

So, I decided that we are going to forego the pretty copper and make our own!  And I always say, “who can resist something handmade by kids?”  Let’s take a zero off of that $100 and make something similar for $10!

Supplies:  6 or more small terra cotta pots, 2 – 36″ extender chains for hanging planters

My kids and I picked up these small terra cotta pots from the Dollar General for $1 each.  They thought these were beautiful with the flowers painted on them… but I thought “eek!”  we can paint that… which they were ok with since I mentioned they would be the ones painting them.

 

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We bought 6 of them (because that’s what they had) and it makes a pretty decent length for a rain chain in my opinion.  We also purchased 36″ extender chains for hanging planters from the Dollar General which was $1.50… so we got 2 of them and got to work!



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Make sure that your pots have holes in the bottom because that is essential for this project for the chain to go through, and for the water to drain as well (because this is also a functional project).

The chain links are supposed to be bigger than the hole so your pots do not slip down the chain.  But how do you get the chain through the hole?

Using pliers I removed the link where I wanted my pot to rest.  I took that link and squished one side down which was the perfect size to go through the pot.



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I put about 5-6 links between one pot and the next.



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Then my kids wanted to do some more painting so I let them have at it 🙂



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This project probably took us about 30 minutes.  I will probably also get a large saucer and put some river rocks in it to collect water on the ground.  A nice little . to the !  (But then this would be more than a $10 project).

Extra:  Extra tip means extra $$.  If you want to seal the paint, use a clear matte acrylic spray paint that you can find at stores that sell spray paint (Walmart, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, etc.).

Happy Fathers Day to all of you Daddy Teachers and to all the Mommy Teachers who play both roles!

An Easy Way To Teach Your Kids Your Phone Number

On the road with my kids, my toddler was screaming at me because she hates the car. I decided it was time to teach them a new song to re-direct the irritable one’s attention.

I figured it was time to teach my kids my phone number (even though I PRAY they never get lost!).  It was one of those judgment calls where I figure that it is better for them to know my number than to assume that I am going to be a perfect parent and never miss a beat (with three very little children!).

This song popped into my head to the tune of “Oh My Darlin'” and I sang it multiple times on the way home:

We have practiced it enough now that they actually do know the whole thing, but I didn’t want to share my phone number publicly on YouTube so I posted the one they didn’t quite get right. Haha.

I’m pretty sure it can go with any phone number.

“(_ _ _) – _ _ _ – _ _ _ _

That’s my mommy’s phone number.

If I’m lost, please call my mom!”

Since then I have asked them questions “WHat are you going to do if you’re lost?”

And I give them the answers like “I know my mommy’s number…. can you call her?”

My kid’s also know their whole names and mine to give someone helpful information to find us quickly if for some reason it is needed.

I don’t plan on losing my children any time soon, but I also want to have a plan in place just to be sure!

 

5 Wait-Time Children’s Games for Crowd Control

LSU’s Mike the Tiger came to my son’s school the other day for a surprise birthday visit!

It was such a memorable experience for ALL of the children.

But, it actually could have been CRAZY and chaotic if I didn’t “think fast” and come prepared with a few ideas to keep the kids somewhat calm.

It could’ve turned into a bunch of injured kids or an injured Mike, but I always keep a few tricks up my sleeve.

Any time I am in front of a big group of kids, I always try to get them to do something along WITH me.  So, here are my 5 top picks to fill wait -time or keep crowd control when you have a group of kids to organize.

1) “Silly Says” – Today we played “Mike Says” and everything he did, we had to do.  I play this with kids a lot and I just play “Silly Says” – whatever silly thing I do, you do.

2) “Going on a Bear Hunt”  – I was at the park once trying to keep the kids away from the sandbox and this chant did the trick!

3) “I Spy” – The classic game – I usually play it in a variety of ways. “I spy something shaped like…. I spy something that starts with….   I spy something the color….  I spy something that sounds like…. I spy something that rhymes with…”  You get the picture.

4) “Mirror Fingers” – hold up the same number of fingers that I hold up in a different way.

5) “Imitate my Clap”  – this is an old teacher-tactic where the kids simply have to listen and follow the beat that the leader makes.

A couple other easy ones:

1) Coordinate “Little Sally Walker” – you may have to YouTube it if you aren’t sure what that is.

2) Play “Man in the middle.” One person stands in the middle of a circle and throws the ball to someone on the outside (who can’t move their feet).  Whoever catches it and follows the rules becomes the man in the middle.

3) Play “Duck, Duck, Goose!”

4) Sing  “If you are Happy and You know it” – I always come up with lots of things to add to the song like “wag your tail, hop like a frog, roar like a lion, etc”  STRETCH IT OUT! 🙂

 

Painting Circles With Plastic Eggs – Mommy Teacher Spotlight

If you are looking for an activity to re-use those eggs from the egg hunts… look no further.

I love my artsy friend Allie and all the ways she crafts with her kids.  Keep reading because she inspired me to do this with my kids today and that is what The Mommy Teacher is all about:

“My girls, AvaKate (3) and Addie (2), absolutely love doing crafts. They would do them all day long if I let them.  So, when we woke up this morning, they asked to paint.

We painted yesterday, so I wanted to do something a little different.

They had an Easter egg hunt at school yesterday and I wanted to reuse those annoying, oh I mean amazing, plastic eggs before I secretly threw them away, I mean put them back in their baskets (any Moms with me??).

I took them apart and let them dip it into finger paint (easier clean up) and it made circles on their paper. Addie is really into shapes so she got really excited to see the shapes on her paper. Very simple, but it was exciting for the girls to incorporate their eggs from their egg hunt.


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You can also see in the picture little pieces of string and paper. My oldest, AvaKate is obsessed with decorating and making gifts… So those elements were her specific request.

I put some glue on their plate and gave them a paint brush and they “decorated” their art. They loved it! And I loved it because it was all stuff I had around the house and it kept them occupied while I nursed my six week old!”



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