It's that time of year. The air is starting to get a chill, the leaves are falling, and football is back! Whether you're into Friday night high school games, college football Saturday, or NFL Sunday, you're probably ready to get some chili going in the crockpot and the tailgate party set up.
Although it may be tempting to relive your glory days at your alma mater, if you have kids in tow your tailgate experience is going to be a bit different than it was your Freshman year of college. This doesn't mean that the day can't still be full of great food and games, though! There are still numerous ways to enjoy a day of festive tailgating with your little ones.
The classic carnival game is also a great tailgating game! This is a great kid-friendly game because you can be flexible with rules - like putting bottles closer for the little kids and farther away for the older kids (or adults, if you don't want to be left out of the fun!).
The rings are safe to throw, unlike something like horseshoes, so even if they end up at your neighbor's tailgate site no one will end up with a bruised ankle. You can even take it a step further and hide prizes in the bottles, but honestly, the kids will likely just enjoy the challenge.
Remember going to birthday parties when you were a kid and doing some fun scavenger hunts around the neighborhood? Same concept, different kind of neighborhood. Put things on the list that they'd be able to find at most sites so that they don't have to walk too far, like a hot dog, paper plate, or bottle of water.
Then, add in a few extra fun things like a selfie with fans of the opposing team or a video of a dance-off with an adult. Just make sure you have a grown-up or two walk around with the kids to keep things safe.
Is it even football without beanbag toss (or corn hole, or whatever it is your region calls it)?! This game is a classic for a reason, it's portable, it's easy, and it's fun! This is a game that's great for all ages, so the kiddos will definitely be excited to join in on the fun.
While this game is kind of a no brainer, we do have one suggestion: bring two sets, one for the kids and one for the adults because the little ones get excited about this game and quickly take over if there aren't other activities for them.
Is there anything more on brand at a football tailgate than a football toss game? This is something that can easily, and inexpensively, be made at home and stored just about anywhere when it's not in use.
Kids will love this because they get to toss around the football (which is fun in and of itself) and have the luxury of spacing themselves from the board based on their skill level, so they can pretty much always win! Just make sure you bring a foam football for this one so if it accidentally hits anyone it won't hurt.
Giant Jenga is a great kid-friendly game for basically any outdoor activity. It's something grown-ups can play along with them and can be used to build other things if they get bored of the game itself (which, as every parent knows, is likely).
This is a game that can be made at home, or bought online since it's grown in popularity. It's great, too, because it's easy to carry from home to the tailgate site because it comes in a box that's used for storage and as a platform for when it's being played. Pro Tip: Keep this one for the big kids because you don't want it to topple over on toddlers.
Who doesn't love the classic "Left Foot Blue" "Right Hand Yellow" game? Twister is an awesome game to bring along to your tailgate for the kids and the adults.
Depending on the location of your tailgate, you can use yard paint to put the circles directly on the ground or you can bring the whole game (just be sure to bring some weights to keep it from blowing away). Don't be surprised if other people see the fun and want to join in, though.
If your kids love the idea of giant Jenga, then they'll jump for joy over yard Yahtzee! This is another great game that can be made at home (or purchased online if you're not into the crafty stuff). It's played exactly like classic Yahtzee, except the dice are big blocks and instead of a cup to shake them up, you use a bucket.
You can e en find scorecards online so that you don't have to deal with paper flying about. The kiddos will love this, if for no other reason than to get to loudly declare when they've rolled a "YAHTZEE!"
Football Bingo is similar to the scavenger hunt, but your kids don't need to wander around to play it (so, neither do you!). Before the big game, come up with some things for the kids to look out for, like a cheerleader, a foam finger, or a grill, then create some fun Bingo cards featuring those ideas.
Football Bingo a great way to get the kids into a competitive game that doesn't require a lot of adult supervision or interaction, which allows you to enjoy time with your friends if you'd like. Just be sure to have some prizes for when they get a Bingo - since that is half the fun.
If you've never played ladder ball, have you even lived?! Seriously, it's a great backyard game and should essentially be a fixture in every house as far as we're concerned. It's fun, easy to tote around, and a game that is great for all ages.
If you bring this, you may want to make sure you're in a spot that has enough space for you to toss the balls safely, so you won't accidentally hit anyone with a toss. Even if you do have enough space, don't be surprised if you make some new friends who are eager to play with you - because the game is just that great!
Remember playing Dizzy Bat when you were in elementary school? You'd spin and spin and spin around a bat and then have to run across an established finish line, racing the other kids. It's basically a competition over who can keep it together enough to run straight despite being super dizzy.
Kids. Love. It. All you need to bring are a few baseball bats and you're good! Don't let the kids get too crazy, though, you don't want any skinned knees! You can definitely expect to get a lot of belly laughs out of this game - from both the participants and the spectators.