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5 Hail Marys to Get Kids to Love the Super Bowl

Photograph by Getty Images

Every year we try. We attempt to turn our princess loving, Minecraft playing, budding bookworm into a football fan, well, for one day that is. That day is, of course, Super Bowl Sunday. A day where Americans plant themselves in front of their TVs, potato chips and dip close at hand and scream at the screen. It’s a day that our little girl just doesn’t get.

Yet, we try.

Year after year we attempt to have her engage in this cultural milestone. Watching the Super Bowl is a must in the realm of American traditions. Although it’s not a national holiday, it’s one in spirit, akin to the 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day and a random birthday all wrapped into one (minus the fireworks, green and presents, that is). In order to engage our youngster in the greatness that is Super Bowl Sunday, we use all of the following five ploys:

1. Learn the game (and some math while they are at it)

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This is a perfect opportunity for your children to learn the ins and outs of American Football. You needn’t get into the more obscure details and nuances of the game. Just give them the basics. The NFL has a handy Beginners Guide to Football, which is a good reference for those us who might need a reminder. The bonus? Watching football is a great opportunity to practice a few simple math skills — everything from figuring out how many more yards their team will need to make a touchdown to how many more points they’ll need to be in the lead.

2. Counting game

Every year we come up with a counting game for our girl. It’s an easy way to keep her busy during the long quarters. She may not be keeping track of the score, but she’ll have an eye out for her own game elements. I simply take a piece of paper and a write down a variety of things for her to look for during the Super Bowl. I also include simple illustrations for each of the things she needs to find on her quest, and she added a chicken scratch each time she finds one of the items. We're talking "people with painted faces” to “car commercials.”

3. Super Bowl bingo

Every year Studio DIY creates Printable Super Bowl Bingo cards that you can print out for free. The cool thing with this one is that it’s for everyone, not just the kids.

4. Playdate

One thing about football games is that they are long. Even with the educational opportunity, the counting game and Super Bowl bingo, it’s hard for kids to sit still in front of the TV for so many hours (unless it’s "Frozen" on repeat or a "Phineas and Ferb" marathon). That’s why inviting people who happen to have similar aged kids over for a Super Bowl party is a prudent decision. Then, when the novelty of the football game has worn off, they have a friend to play with.

5. Treats

Do not underestimate the power of sweets. As part of your Super Bowl spread of burgers, chili and chicken wings have various desserts such as football shaped Whoopie Pies, ice cream football sandwiches, or maybe a plate of Funfetti dessert nachos. One thing for sure, desserts always make it a party.

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What is your favorite way to engage your kids during a football game?

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