Many parents will start with sports-related toys so they can build their child’s interest in sports early. It’s important to purchase sports toys designed specifically for toddlers for entertainment and safety reasons. Toddler toys are designed with color, noise and lights to keep babies curious, interested and entertained. Age restrictions on toys also ensure that the toy doesn’t have any loose parts that your baby could hurt themselves with or swallow. On the market, you will usually see basketball toys, bowling toys, and soccer toys. If you’re looking to introduce your baby to soccer, here is a guide to the best soccer equipment and toys for toddlers. This list is sorted by product type:
Let’s get right into the list!
If you’ve ever played soccer before, you’ll know how much getting hit by a soccer ball can hurt. To start your baby off, we recommend soccer balls that are stuffed and made from soft fabric. Aside from preventing injury, stuffed soccer ball toys will not roll around as much as an inflated ball, and will be easier for your toddler to control and interact with.
The Fisher-Price (FP) Laugh & Learn Kick & Learn soccer ball toy is a stuffed ball with sound and music designed specifically for toddlers. Covered in colorful fabric, this ball includes a battery-powered (two AAA batteries included), electronic unit tucked securely within the ball. When toddlers press the face, or roll the ball around, the ball will play songs or read phrases related to counting, colors and shapes. Bear in mind that the base of this ball is slightly flat. The ball will easily stay still, but will not roll like a traditional round ball. Rest assured, in the event this toy gets dirty, the electronic unit can be removed by opening the velcro flap, and the ball toy can be thrown in the washing machine for easy cleaning. This is the perfect soccer equipment to get your toddler flying down the field in no time!
Once your toddler starts walking or develops better motor movement, the Move2Play Talkin’ Sportz Soccer Ball may be more appropriate. Similar to the FP Laugh & Learn Kick & Learn previously listed, this toy is also a stuffed ball covered in soft fabric that plays sounds and music. However, there are a few noticeable differences. The Talkin’ Sportz ball is black and white like a standard soccer ball, and has a completely round shape. It has an intelligent sensor that will detect when the ball is being thrown, kicked or caught. It will play an according sound FX when one happens! A favorite sound effect on this ball is the GOOALLL sound that will play when the ball is kicked. What other soccer equipment does that!? Other than responding to different types of movement, the ball will also play music when it is shaken. This ball is designed for outdoor use as well, so even when it gets dirty, the ball can be machine-washed. You must take out the electronic unit inside first though!
The VTech Bright Lights Soccer Ball is another stuffed soccer ball that makes sounds and plays music. Whilst round enough to roll, this toy also comes with two small “gloves” attached to the face of the ball that make it easier for babies to pick up the ball. This colorful ball is also educational, as it is covered in numbers. When moved around, this toy plays encouraging phrases, and pressing the middle face button will play music. Even with the electronic unit removed, this toy is hand-wash only.
If your toddler is a bit older and you’re not a fan of noises, the Tplay Soccer Ball Pillow is a great choice. A cross between a soccer ball and a stuffed toy, this ball is both indoor and outdoor friendly. At 8” diameter, this ball will provide years of fun for your child. Whilst there are many stuffed soccer balls on the market, parents especially liked the Tplay model for its quality, softness, and machine washability. Stuffed with PP cotton, the ball can be easily refluffed by throwing it in the dryer.
With a ball to teach your baby some basic coordination, you’ll also need goal nets to really introduce your toddler to soccer. Having goals will also help with growth and development. It can be used to teach your child concepts of rules, directions and achievement. At the toddler stage, we recommend indoor goal net toys that come with the appropriate-sized balls. Bear in mind that even if your toddler grows taller than the goal net, the toy is still useful for him or her for kicking movements and even having a go at playing goalie!
Little Tikes’ 3 in 1 toy will be sure to keep your baby entertained as it comes with a soccer, basketball and bowling setup. When three AA batteries are installed, the toy lights up and plays sounds in three different modes – learn, move and game. The backboard will light up and play sounds when a shot is made. Bear in mind that this toy is for 12 months +, so while the toy can withstand play, it may not be sturdy enough for your child to use to pull themselves up. This toy can also be easily folded together for easier storage.
This Smart Shots Sports Center comes with both soccer goal net and basketball hoop. Powered by three AA batteries, the LED scoreboard will light up and count goals when it detects balls passing into the net. The toy also plays an intro song when turned on, and also cheers and congratulates when it detects goals. In addition to playing soccer, the interactive gears and buttons on the goal net will also keep your child entertained. With screws and snap-on parts, this toy will require a bit of assembly, however, it is quite sturdy and safe.
These are some of the best soccer equipment and toys for toddlers. We’re here to help you get your child moving and active outdoors instead of inside playing video games all day!