Becoming a parent doesn’t have to mean the end of tailgating fun! While it’s true that many tailgate events might not be the type of fun your family is looking for, there are ways to enjoy this treasured tradition with your kids in tow – you just have to adjust a few expectations and make a few extra plans. Read on for ways to make your next tailgating event fun for the entire family.
Not all kids are keen to noshing on chicken wings and brats from the grill, so be sure to consider what foods your kids are most likely to want when making your tailgating shopping list. Try to keep things simple and choose food with minimal prep and cleanup. Consider purchasing an extra cooler specifically for the kids’ goodies. Pack it with fruit slices, juice boxes, and water bottles. Then when your kids ask for a drink you can send them to their own cooler rather than searching through a sea of ice in yours.
Location, Location, Location
When choosing a spot for your tailgate action, be sure to keep your kids in mind. While you might love being right in the center of the party, this is likely not the best option for your kids. Try to arrive early enough to give yourself plenty of options when laying claim to your spot. Stick to outside areas where things are less likely to be as crowded, and try to get as close to a restroom as possible. If you know other families who are attending, try to stick close together so the kids can play together without disturbing any hard core fans who might look unkindly on kids darting through their territories. If possible, try to arrange your tailgate spot to create a blocked in space where your kids can play without the danger of passing cars. Consider bringing smaller chairs and/or a blanket for the kids when they get ready to take a rest from all the fun.
Keep Them Entertained
This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your own enjoyment, but be sure to plan for ways to keep your kids occupied. Footballs are fun, but after awhile, kids are often ready for a new diversion. Consider bringing along some simple board games (be sure to choose ones with minimal pieces that can be lost or blown away in the wind) or card games for quiet-time activities. Try making kid-sized versions of your favorite tailgate games, such as cornhole, horseshoes, or washers, to really make the kids feel like they’re part of the action!
Make Them Feel Included
Help your kids really feel like part of the action by having them dress in team colors the day of the event. Ask them to help with loading all the supplies and have them help you set up as well. In the days leading up to the tailgate, have them create signs or banners to hang as decoration. Kids can even help you create a special “family” music playlist, including favorite songs from everyone in the family.
Just In Case
Nothing spoils a great tailgate like having to leave or lose your spot due to a minor emergency. Plan ahead and be prepared so that you won’t risk ruining your day of fun! Keep an extra set of clothes for each member of the family stowed in the car so you’re ready for food spills or bathroom accidents. A well-stocked first aid kit can make easy work of skinned knees or minor injuries. With just a little extra preparation, you and your family can build wonderful tailgate memories for years to come.