Did you know that Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman (and of course Spidey!) all have a secret? It turns out that when they’re not busy saving the world…they’re expert little soccer players!
The annual Soccajoeys Superhero Week was on June 3-9 this year and our little soccer superstars came to class dressed up as their favourite superhero. It was all part of an action-packed week that even saw Joey the Soccajoeys mascot joining in on the fun.
It turns out no matter which superhero each kid dressed up as, they all share the same superpower: learning by having fun! In fact, learning through fun has many advantages over what we might think of as “serious study” and research shows that in many cases it’s actually far more effective.
When learning activities are novel, pleasurable and engaging, it’s more than just fun for kids. There’s compelling science that tells us they’re actually learning better. The effect on a child’s brain is to release powerful neurotransmitters that increase focused attention and stimulate memory formation as well as activating areas of the brain that promote information transmission – all of which are key components of learning.
But you don’t have to be a neuroscientist (or a superhero!) to see this brain-business in action: it’s written all over their faces. When kids are having fun, they are naturally much more engaged, creative and innovative. Apply that to soccer and you create a learning environment in which children interact with their teammates and coaches through coming up with new ideas as well as challenging traditional tactics.
When kids are playing soccer in a team or training one-to-one, they’re not only learning a sport. They’re developing important lifelong social skills through play. Our coaches know this and teach children to use those social skills to develop self-confidence and respect for their teammates. Children learn to talk to themselves in a more positive, motivating manner while also learning to communicate effectively with others. Simply being with others when playing soccer and watching how others play the game is a learning experience in itself, as kids gain fresh perspective on how others approach the same situation with different ideas.
Any mother of siblings knows that when kids play, there is often a bit of healthy competition in there. As long as the competition is healthy and guided by respect for others, it boosts happiness levels as well as performance. It can also strengthen the bond players have with the people they engage with.
Competition is a fundamental element of soccer. Few sporting events get people as passionately engaged on a global scale as the World Cup, as even people who usually turn their nose up at the sport suddenly take sides and to cheer on their team. Children are naturally drawn to this: testing their boundaries, learning to control their bodies while chasing a ball, experiencing success and learning from failure are all valuable lessons for life.
Novelty is another useful technique when teaching children. When kids are exposed to learning something from a completely different perspective – such as dressing up as a superhero for soccer class – they take learning to a new territory with new perspectives. This can help them see things they might not have otherwise noticed in a “traditional” soccer class and can significantly boost their learning.
Completely taking children outside of their usual environment helps broaden their minds and immediately makes them significantly more receptive to learning. Just think of the last time your child went on a class trip and how long after he or she spoke about the things they experienced versus a regular school day! Especially if playing involves dressing up, engaging with others and moving around it becomes very effective. All of this naturally boosts a child’s creativity while improving concentration and making them feel happier – all major factors that boost learning.
At Soccajoeys our focus is on teaching children soccer and skills for life through fun. What better way to do this than to engage with them at the level they naturally love most – active play and dress-up? To bring more fun into your kid’s learning and provide them with crucial skills for life, contact us today to enquire about a Soccajoeys program near you.