The playground game

This small-sided game recreates the fun and chaos of the games that children used to play in the street and the school playground.

Games of “chaos” like this are terrific learning environments in which young players can experiment and test themselves without worrying about the consequences – if their team concedes a goal it won’t be long before they score again!

Age group: U6s to U12s.

Number of players: Eight (but can be easily adapted for larger numbers).

Equipment required: Flat cones, training vests (or playing kit) in four different colours, several balls.

Set-up: Create a 30×20 yards playing area with a goal on each sideline.

Divide your players into four teams of two and give them different coloured training vests to wear (e.g. blue, red, white, yellow).

How to play:

  • All four teams play. They can score in any goal.
  • If the ball goes out of play, put another one immediately.
  • Play first to five goals wins then change the teams around and play again.

Progression: While the children are playing, combine the teams so they are playing 4v4. for example, call “red and blue v white and yellow”.


  • Remove the training vests and see how your players cope without a visual means of identifying the teams.
  • Play with two balls.
  • Play with two goalkeepers who can defend any goal.
  • Play with uneven teams. For example: red, yellow and blue v whites.