MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County police say they are investigating the attempted kidnapping of two young girls who they say were attacked outside a home in Mineola.

It happened around 4:40 p.m. Tuesday on Maple Place. 

Police said the 8-year-old cousins were playing in the yard of a home when two men approached.

“At that point, the girls were asked their names by the subjects and if they wanted to go for a ride in their vehicle,” Nassau Police Det. Richard LeBrun said. “Both girls, at that point, stepped away from the fenced in area, ran to the backyard and at this point, both males did open the gate and they did run after the girls.”

One of the suspects then pushed one of the girls to the ground and struck her in the face, police said. When she screamed and kicked, police said both men fled. The other girl was not hurt.

“These girls acted extremely appropriately,” said LeBrun. “They backed away from the fence when they were confronted. They ran and they did scream.”

CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan spoke with a father, who did not want to be identified.

“They’re very emotional, very scared. We just tell them ‘no, you did a good job.’ Try to praise them as much as we can,” he said.

Neighbors told McLogan they couldn’t remember any recent crimes and were unnerved.

“Little girls, little tiny girls that are now traumatized. This is horrible,” Laura Gregorius said.

Police described the suspects as men with beards who were wearing yellow pants and blue shirts and said one of them took off in a dark-colored vehicle.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.