Are you at home watching college football games this season? Do you have little fans in the house who are excited about the idea of game day more than they are the actual experience of watching a four-hour contest on your flat screen TV?
We’ve all been there.
DawgNation is here to help you figure out how to make college football Saturdays a big hit for all ages in the household.
But, be warned. Just like a closely-contested SEC football game, it won’t be easy. It will require some creativity and ingenuity on your part. And probably a little bit of good luck regarding the kids’ behavior.
We’ll get you started with the brainstorming for your little fans with a few ideas of our own. Try them out and let us know what you think!
Face Paint and Hair Chalk
If your kids are anything like mine, they love the idea of dressing up and making a mess. So if they can potentially do both at the same time on a football game day, all the better!
All kidding aside, face paint and hair chalk are a great way to promote creativity and team spirit, and maybe even spark some additional interest in the game for your little fans as well.
Most of these supplies can be purchased at your local market, such as Walmart or Target, or easily ordered online through Amazon. They are temporary and easy to wash off at bath time later that night.
Oh, and make sure you’re shopping with team colors in mind.
Here’s a pretty cool football helmet face painting tutorial to get you started. The artist in this video uses the San Francisco 49ers on her child, but you could just as easy swap those colors for some red and black.
Football-themed Arts and Crafts
There are a ton of opportunities to thrill the kids at your home tailgate in the arts and crafts space.
And the good news for the parents involved is that these generally are: 1. Cheap and 2. Time consuming. That’s the combo we’re all shooting for so that we can enjoy the game.
For little kids, it could be as simple as printing off football-themed coloring pages or buying a football coloring book.
Older kids could try craft projects like make team-colored pompoms or making and decorating their own megaphones to cheer along.
My kids love drawing with the father and son duo on the Art for Kids Hub YouTube Channel. Here’s a couple of football art projects that your kids could attempt during the game:
Pin the Tail on the Mascot
Borrowing from a birthday party favorite called “pin the tail on the donkey,” this is a football-spin on the blindfold game that kids of all ages seem to enjoy.
It also can be an arts and crafts opportunity for the older kids at your football watch party.
What you’ll need is a large poster board and a picture of your favorite team’s mascot to either trace or use as reference for drawing the mascot. From there, you’ll want to determine whether or not your mascot has a tail. If it does, don’t draw it on the board! Instead, create a separate drawing that you can cut out and use as the tail to pin on your mascot.
If your mascot doesn’t have a tail (Looking at you, Vanderbilt!), you may have to get creative and find another item to which you can blindfold the kids and let them attach to the mascot. Continuing with the Vanderbilt example, perhaps you could have them pin the sword to Mr. Commodore.
You can use a towel, t-shirt, or ribbon as a blindfold. You’ll need a wall to hang your picture, and plenty of clear space to allow the potentially disoriented kids to play this game safely.
Paper Football with Straw Goals
Have you taken the time to sit down and teach your children the art of paper football? The lunchroom sport of choice from many of our childhoods is a perfect game day activity for your at-home tailgate experience.
All you need to play is a piece of paper, some very light origami skills and a flat, smooth surface on which to play the game.
If you have forgotten the technique for folding your piece of paper into the perfect “football-shaped” triangle, don’t worry. The internet has you covered:
And if you want to take the game day activity to the next level, you could also turn this into an arts and crafts experience by challenging the kids to make goal posts for the game. This can be done with paper, or perhaps more easily with bendy plastic straws and some tape and scissors to aide with assembly.
This is a more engaging twist on the classic game of chance enjoy by the young and elderly (hi Grandma!) alike.
Instead of playing with a card full of numbers and having one of the adults pull ping pong balls out of a container and holler them out to the kids, you can play with game cards that are focused on football-related things you may observe during the telecast of your favorite team. Heck, the adults may even want to join in on this fun.
If you’re really creative and have the time, you could make some team-specific cards of your own that would help the kids learn more about your favorite team. (Ex. spaces could include spotting Uga on the sidelines or the announcers mentioning Herschel Walker.)
If you don’t have the time, there are plenty of free options on the internet that you could print out for your crew. Here are some sample cards that I pulled from Pinterest:
Do you have some great ideas for entertaining the little fans at home tailgates this season? Please let us know about it on the DawgNation message board!