The words tailgating and children usually are not in the same sentence unless the words “not” and “allowed” are included. As a rabid college football fan (GO CAL!), I love me a good tailgate. But once I entered into the wonderful world of motherhood my tailgating days were drastically reduced. Most of the tailgates I used to attend weren’t exactly kid friendly. Not willing to eliminate my number two love in this life (second only to my kids…hubby is a close third), I had to come up with a way to make tailgating more kid and family friendly. Entering my seventh season of tailgating with the ‘fam bam’, I have had success by following a simple game plan.
Location, Location, Location
Successfully tailgating with children starts with the location. I always try to arrive as soon as the gates open to lay stake on my territory. The ideal location for me is either the far left or right hand corner of the lot. I arrange the trucks and tables in a way that our party is completely blocked in from through traffic and this allows space for the kids to play freely without worrying of passing cars.
Tasty Kid Vittles
Next item to address would be the food. When it comes to kids and food, simple is always the best way to go. You can’t go wrong with classics like hamburgers and hots dogs when you have kids tailgating. But after the third or fourth game of the season, the same old menu will start to get boring. To mix things up I throw in chicken or steak kabobs or fruit skewers. Food on a stick is great because the kids feel like they are getting a treat with “fancy new food”. Also the prep and clean-up with kabobs is minimal. Juice boxes or mini sodas are a good way to control the liquid intake which also means less bathroom trips.
Entertainment and Diversions
To keep the kids entertained before the game begins you’ll need to have lots of ACTIVITIES. My boys love playing catch but I always have back-up games ready just in case. Ladder ball or washers minus the drinking are great family games but I found “Monster” versions of regular games (badminton, volleyball, and baseball) really drive the kids crazy!
The final piece to the perfect tailgating puzzle is the MUSIC. Classic tailgating artists like AC/DC and Skynyrd are a no brainer. When tailgating with kids you are going to have to sacrifice your ear drums for at least 20 minutes or so. Play anything from Radio Disney. Miley Cyrus, Jonas Bros and Taylor Swifts are artists that will keep your youngin’s out of your hair just long enough to enjoy a cold beer… or two.
Tailgating can definitely be a fun family event. As long as you do a little planning ahead and remember to keep it simple, tailgating with kids can be a exciting and enjoyable.
This is a guest post by Tiffany Allen who is considering joining the TailgatingIdeas.com writer and contributor team.