Tailgating Tips for Families

Our family lives just minutes away from the campus of Notre Dame, which is a pretty great place to be when tailgating season hits. If there is one thing I have found that Notre Dame fans do well, it is definitely tailgating in style.

Involving your kids in a family tailgate is a ton of fun and is sure to build many lasting memories, so here are a few fun ideas for getting your kids in on the tailgating action this year.

Have Them Show Their Team Spirit

Have your kids break out their favorite jerseys, hats, T-shirts or party beads in your team colors to show excitement for their team. Not only can they adorn themselves with their team colors, but you can also have them help you decorate your tailgating area with colored streamers and balloons. Putting them in charge of this can keep them busy as you work on food preparations.

Involving your kids in a family tailgate is a ton of fun and is sure to build many lasting memories.

Offer Fun Kid Foods

Spicy wings, brats or nachos might not be your kid’s thing, so make sure to offer kid-friendly food alternatives they will love. Sub sandwiches, grilled hot dogs and chicken tenders are all great substitutions for spicier dishes. And don’t forget the snacks—popcorn, peanuts and candy are all game-worthy treats.

Tip: Discover nine delicious appetizer ideas that’ll add flavor to any tailgating gathering.

Create a Kid-Friendly Cooler

Fill a cooler with flavored waters to help your child stay hydrated while you are out. Be sure that this cooler is clearly marked and that your kids know that this is the cooler that is designated for them, to prevent any mix-ups with adult beverages. To make drinks more fun, add colorful straws in your team’s colors.

Make It Fun

It can be a long day when you are tailgating with bored kids. Consider planning games they can play, whether it means simply bringing a football to toss back and forth or a game of cornhole. Other fun options include setting up a face-painting area with team colors where they can paint each other’s faces or setting up a small crafting area where they can color or paint to help pass the time. Free downloadable football coloring pages are available online and can be a fun themed activity to occupy them during the day.

Make Them a Part of the Day

Just like the adults, kids love to play a role in planning activities. Consider giving them a job for the day, whether it’s serving food, assisting with clean-up duties or taking orders with a pen and paper to report back to whoever is manning the grill. Adding purpose to their time can serve as a distraction during a long day of tailgating.

When All Else Fails…Electronics

Tailgating can be a long day for a kid, so after you have exhausted all other options of outdoor play, decorating, eating and assisting with various tailgating jobs, be sure to pack an electronic or two that you can whip out if meltdowns happen. For us, this has always helped us buy a little additional time for visiting with our friends and enjoying the festivities when our children would typically be winding down and are ready to leave. Whatever we can do to prolong the fun is a win in our book.

Oftentimes people don’t consider the fun family moments that can be had during tailgating season, so we hope these ideas inspire you to have a safe and fun time, filled with great memories!

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