Maurice Sporting Goods has partnered with Playground Entertainment Group, Inc., a global media and consumer products company, to introduce a line of “kid-sized” equipment and DVDs starting late 2011.

is taking aim at the epidemic of unfit and overweight children by promoting sports participation to youngsters ages 3-7. A new partnership with Maurice Sporting Goods, supported by Designed4Group and Big Game International, will usher

Led by the animated character Squishy, the talking soccer ball and his team of pals, Playground Entertainment Groupâ€s “Sports for Kids” products provide children with instruction, fun, fitness, team building and social interaction skills through soccer and other popular sports.

“Weve assembled a team of ideal partners for us to develop and distribute the Playground products and share important health messages with families everywhere,” said Gino Frye, CEO, Playground Entertainment Group. “Weâ€re excited about our long-term relationships with Maurice, Big Game and Designed4Group and look forward to promoting an I can attitude among children through sports.”

Global outdoor products leader Maurice Sporting Goods and sporting goods developers Designed4Group and Big Game International will create and distribute Playground Entertainment Group’s consumer products and content throughout North America. Available at retail fourth quarter 2011, four different “Soccer for Kids – Getting Started” kits will be developed in conjunction with Designed4Group and Big Game International.

Geared to teach children the fundamentals of playing soccer in a fun and safe way, the kits will be offered at various price points targeting selected retail channels. The products will include kid-friendly instructional “Sports for Kids” DVDs featuring Squishy and his friends, size three PVC soccer balls and accessories such as bags, ball pumps, shin guards and sports bottles.

“Playground Entertainment has developed a vision that will enable parents to start their children in the right direction as they introduce them to a variety of exciting sports,” states Doug Jenner, Vice President, Product Management for Maurice Sporting Goods. “Our goal, along with Playground Entertainment, is to offer the highest quality products related to each sport to support the extraordinary instructional DVDs.”

Founded in 1923 in Chicago, family-owned Maurice Sporting Goods is the world’s biggest distributor and manufacturer of outdoor and fitness recreation products.