Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Quick & Easy Non-craft Ideas for Super Bowl with Toddlers

Are you a football loving mom (or dad)?  Do you pay attention to the plays and referee calls and not just the scores?  Is crafting on the bottom of your 'fun things to do' list?  I feel ya. Here's a few ideas to help everyone have fun this year during Super Bowl.

  A couple of years ago I researched ideas  on how to get a toddler or preschooler involved in the Super Bowl excitement without out taking me away from the game. I quickly noticed mostly blogs about arts and crafts, or ideas to bring water toys (and sand) into the house for a mock beach party. For someone that hates crafts(and always have), that's not going to work for me.  I tried it before at a college championship party, and I wound up missing great plays and adding to the mess to be cleaned up afterwards.  So after some trial and error, I'm sharing how a not-so-crafty football-loving mom quickly blends my son's interests plus mine for the game.

Before Game
Prepare your snacks.  I don't make anything special, Fruit and cheese trays,
meat-cheese and cracker trays.  Trail mix,  Go-gurts, and any raw veggies your child likes (not forgetting the dip- I use hummus). All these are things easily found at your favorite grocer.  You can opt for the organic versions if you choose; I typically do.
My son also loves M&Ms but I save those to help me get him engaged....I'll explain a little later.
 Football themed cookie cutters are used to shape the sliced cheese- have him help me with pressing the cutters into the cheese and arranging (or in his case, un-arranging) the crackers. I use both the regular sized and the mini cutters.
  I don't add cookies or such because the game typically starts late, so any sugar I can avoid with it being close to bedtime, I do so.  With so many other options he likes, he doesn't think about missing cookies or cake. You can provide it later for the adults as soon as your child goes to bed.  

Game start
The snacking begins but we also do our kick off punt-run.  See below.

Kick off and Punts
Toddler and I use these times to be a little active. As the punter is gearing up to kick,  son and I are running in place building momentum a he runs towards the ball.  We then mimic the punters kick- immediately celebrating afterwards by jumping up and down and yelling, "yay!"  By that time the receiving time is either returning or  I find that to be the best way of engaging my son throughout the game.

The adults are high-fiving when their team scores and expressing discontent with the other team's score. A good way to involve your little one too. I allow my son to have 1 M&M with each touchdown. But sometimes he doesn't understand the difference between which team scores a touchdown, so I let him have 1 M&M for each touchdown no matter who scores. He's usually signaled onto what a touchdown is by the adult reactions, and joins in on a high five or the wave. 

A lot of us live for the super bowl commercials, and would like to enjoy them too. Research what companies are doing ads for this years Bowl game and have your child find certain elements... For example, we typically see some kind of candy commercial. I have my son find a certain color candy or a person eating candy. He is quite good at this.
We also scour the commercials for certain colors, with him yelling out when he sees red or blue.  You can have your child look for drinks (pepsi or coke usually buys ads), cars, or anything you anticipate will show up in the commercials.

If he is still awake, Halftime is when we stretch our legs and jam "with the big boys".  I pull out my son's drum pad and we pretend we're rocking the stage with whomever is performing at halftime. You can use makeshift drums, air guitars, or whatever instrument your little one prefers. Sometimes they'd rather just get up and dance, and that's fine too. It helps burn off some of the energy that's been building up.  It takes only a little while after half-time before he succumbs to the sandman.

Other Options
Let's face it, a little one's attention span isn't long enough to last an entire super bowl game. This is where our family's use of technology comes in. Here are some options we employ to keep my son busy.

 1. My Husband gave my son an old cell phone to use as a camera. So during the times he seems restless, we have photo shoots. Indoors or out, my son likes it that we all pose no matter what we're doing for a shot. I also take his pic too, and he spends some time viewing his work using the review option on the phone.

2. My son can go for HOURS on his tablet, alternating from Disney Jr to ABC Mouse to YouTube Kids and various other fun and educational applications or movies we've downloaded.  I have this charged up, and he sits beside me or on my lap, watching and happily reacting to the programs. I use this as the last resort because I know it's going to work every time. He still puts it down to do the punt-runs and touchdown celebrations, so it works quite well for us.

 3. I ask my son to find someone with black hair in the stadium as the camera pans about during a ref review or time-out.   The hair color to search for changes each time we play.  It's an easy way to teach colors to younger toddlers by pointing them out yourself and saying the color.

Overall, these have proven successful and easy enough for me to be willing to do for every game of importance to me: championships, playoffs, rivalries, etc.  My toddler is the type that likes to stay up if everyone else is up. But with the physical exertion and mental stimulation done during the game, he fights sleep much less. He was able to do several of these activities before bedtime, and I found I was able to watch more of the game without being frustrated with crafts. After the game, I had very little cleanup. Only the leftover food and snacks 


  1. amusing account of your superbowl! Thanks for Joining us in the Blogger's Pit Stop
    Blogger's Pit Stop Crew

  2. It seems too easy to be true, but it worked well last night! He had an extra burst of energy after eating the candy, but within 90 minutes of touchdown and punt-runs, he was sleep!