Although stereotypes are boring, cliched, and yes, offensive, asking who your typical tailgate party audience is will most likely bring one demographic to mind. If your mind’s eye pictures college students in their late teens to mid-twenties, don’t feel so bad. Thanks to movies and social networking photos, the general depictions of your average tailgate goer might be limited to that crowd. But let’s shatter those notions for now. Tailgate parties, especially those in the United States, attract huge numbers of people – including kids. So if you think tailgate parties are synonymous with “liberal draft-drinking and mascots”, it’s time to rethink the far-reaching appeal these festivities carry for different age groups.
Are you planning a party and have discovered that there are children who want to attend? Don’t be alarmed. Their presence doesn’t mean you have to walk on those proverbial eggshells to keep things rated “PG”. In fact, there are tailgating games that you can allow the kids try, so that they don’t feel left out. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice the fun you want to have!
Kid Friendly Games that Don’t Involve Beer
Apart from the sporting event itself, the games you include at your tailgating party will be the main attraction for the kids. The choice of games can make or break the experience for them, so it’s important that you provide them with activities to keep them engaged. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but it’s not impossible.
One of the first tailgating games you might want to try is ladder golf. The game requires two or more players or teams, and each player has three bolas – two golf balls attached by nylon rope. The main objective of the game is to wrap your bolas around the ladder’s steps. The ladder itself consists of a top, middle, and bottom step. The top step is worth three points, the middle is worth two, while the bottom is worth one. The game continues until a player reaches 21 points, scoring no higher or any less. During the course of the game, players can knock off other players’ bolas as a defensive trick. The bolas that remain hanging determine the number of points a player or team has.
Fortunately, we’re not talking about giving your kids a gun to hunt birds or any other animal. Fowling, in the gaming sense, refers to a combination of football and bowling. In fact, the name is pronounced like bowling, except with an “F”. The setup for the game resembles the layout used in Horseshoes, and it involves teams consisting of two players who stand at opposite ends of the bowling-like lane. Each team takes turns throwing a football at the opposing team’s bowling pins. The first team to knock all 10 pins down wins the game.
Another one of the tailgating games you might want to get the kids involved in is Horseshoes. You may remember playing this game when you were a kid, and it’s been around for over 2,000 years. As you may recall, the objective of the game is to toss a horseshoe around a metal stake. Each player gets two horseshoes to toss. The first player tosses their shoes one at a time, and then the other player does the same. The inning ends after each player tosses their shoes and the pitching order changes (the player who went first goes second in the next round). The horseshoe that lies closest to the stake earns the player who tossed it a single point, assuming it’s only inches away. Since players have to toss two shoes, it’s possible to earn a double-point score in a round. Depending on the distance of the horseshoes, double points may be cancelled out. Typical winning scores are 15 or 21.
Now these activities are merely alternatives, and there are most likely many other tailgating games you can use to keep the kids occupied. Don’t forget about cornhole, as it is both popular and entertaining for kids and adults who attend tailgate parties. Also, be inventive and try mixing things up by combining other activities with each other, or even creating your own.
Tips to Ensure that the Kids Have Fun and Stay Safe
Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you keep the well-being of the kids attending your party in mind. It doesn’t make sense to plan all these festivities only to have the kids complain or feel upset because of the conditions. In fact, a bad experience may be enough for them to avoid future tailgate parties, so make sure that they’re comfortable!
Tips to Keep the Kids Happy:
- Make Sure They’re Following the Rules – Cheating is no fun for anyone, and it’s understandable why kids (or anyone for that matter) get annoyed at each other when some don’t follow the rules. To prevent bickering between the youngsters at your party, make sure they know the rules and impose consequences, such as a time-out for those who refuse to follow them. That will require you to learn the rules of the game yourself. That brings us to our next point.
- Choose Games They Can Understand – When kids don’t understand certain rules, they may act out and it’s a normal response. If you find that some are fussy or provoking others, then you might want to opt for tailgate games that are easier to understand. By choosing a game they have fun with, you’ll relieve some stress off your own back.
- Make Sure They’re Playing Safe! - Some kids get overly competitive and act aggressively towards others. Some children may be oblivious to the injuries they may suffer by engaging in horseplay. Safety turns into a tricky task, especially when you have a lot of kids to supervise. However, you can get around this problem by choosing activities that carry fewer risks of injury, and getting other adults to help you supervise a large group of children. After all, a few helping hands makes the job more manageable than if you did it alone.
Don’t Leave the Kids at Home
So if you’ve been on edge about allowing kids at your tailgate party, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you don’t have to hurt anyone’s feelings. By choosing kid-friendly tailgating games, you can ensure that the youngest attendees of your party feel welcomed and entertained. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the more fun stuff for adults, such as beer pong. You can always enjoy those things, but it’s best to do so in a moderated fashion when the kids are around. So yes, the tailgate table you use for beer pong still has it’s place, but you should separate it from the other tables which children will come in contact with. The important thing is to give young tailgate goers a space where they can be themselves and have fun. By making this effort, you can be sure that your party will entertain both friends your age as well as those who are younger than you!
Are you looking for more tips on how to make your tailgate party a success? Feel free to give us a shout so we can help you plan the best party possible!