Football Tailgate Party for Kids

Who says you have to go to the stadium to tailgate? Football fans will love this party that celebrates the best part of a trip to the game without actually having to make the trip. 

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    Setting Up

    Image ©Christine Gauvreau

    To set the scene for a tailgate party, you’re probably going to want an actual tailgate or two. You can host the party in your driveway or pull the car into the yard. If the weather isn’t great, you can even open up the garage and host the party under the shelter for a semi-outdoors tailgate event.

    Once the vehicle is parked in the party area, pull down the tailgate, pop the hatch or open up the trunk and fill the space with your party goods. You can serve food from the trunk, or even toss a...MORE couple of blankets or beanbag chairs in there so kids can sit inside. If you need additional tailgating space, you can ask friends to park their cars in the party area and share their trunk space as well. 

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    Image ©Christine Gauvreau

    Even though the party won’t be held at a stadium, ticket-style invitations are still a fun way to invite your friends. You can use a template to customize free, printable ticket-style invitations for your event.

    One of the bonuses of throwing a tailgate party is the laid-back atmosphere this kind of event provides, so your invitations can also be the simple, store-bought kind, something like a homemade flyer with some football-themed graphics, or a postcard photo of your child wearing a football...MORE jersey and helmet.

    Along with the standard party information of location, date and time, be sure to indicate that the party has a tailgate theme and will be held outdoors so guests may dress appropriately. 

  • 03 of 05
    Image © Christine Gauvreau

    Food cooked on portable grills is the usual fare for tailgate parties. Since you are at home, you can take advantage of your backyard grill and cook up some traditional football party food such as hot dogs, burgers and chicken wings. 

    In addition to the grilled foods, some ideas for the party menu include: 

    • Football cake.
    • Taco in a bag: Cut off the tops of individual bags of nachos. Spoon in some chili, cheese, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Kids can eat these portable chili pouches with a...MORE plastic fork or spoon. 
    • Pigskins in a Blanket.
    • Football Pizza.
    • Helmet dip (any dip served in an overturned helmet).
    • Chili. One fun idea is to serve this in small bread boats that are shaped like footballs and pipe on the sour cream to look like lacing.
    • Football cupcakes.
    • Football foods from Stephanie Gallagher, Cooking With Kids expert. 
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    In addition to an actual game of football, there are plenty of football-themed games kids can play at your tailgate party.

    More suggestions: 

    • Set up an outdoor movie and show a football-themed film.
    • Have a tailgate cook-off: Grill some burgers and provide plenty of condiments and toppings. Have kids use these items to build specialty burgers and then have a taste test. You can do the same thing with hot dog toppings or give them a variety of snack items with which to invent their own party mixes.
    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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    Since the party has both a football and a tailgate theme, the choices for favors can be varied between the two. One easy yet cute idea is to use a few strips of white tape to dress up plain, brown paper bags with a football motif. You can then fill the bags with trinket prizes and treats of your choice.

    More suggestions:

    • Football gear, such as footballs, jerseys, t-shirts or caps.
    • Hot beverage cups or portable soup containers.
    • Football themed stickers and temporary tattoos.
    • Small fleece throws.
    • Solo...MORE cups filled with snack mix, covered and tied with ribbon.
    • Bottles, pouches or boxes of sports drinks.