Super Bowl Fun for the Little Ones on the Big Day

Feb. 3, 2016
Anna Burton and Super Bowl(iStockphoto)

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WACO, Texas (Feb. 3, 2016) — Super Bowl Sunday is fast approaching, and you’re planning to throw — or go — to a party with friends and families. So what do you do with the young’uns to keep them happy and occupied so you can watch the game in (relative) peace?

It’s probably overly optimistic to expect little ones to watch a game for hours, but this can be family fun all the same, says Anna Burton, who teaches at Baylor University’s Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development in the department of family and consumer sciences. Here are some of her ideas for children for the big day:

  • Give children space — and supervision.
  • Clear a large room of breakables and be sure it has comfy, sturdy furniture. “For a large group, you might consider having multiple responsible caregivers,” Burton says.

  • Provide hand sanitizer or wet washcloths before snack time.
  • Be prepared for spills.
  • Try spreading an inexpensive shower curtain on the floor to catch crumbs or liquids. Afterward, shake it, rinse and save for another playtime.

  • Give youngsters healthy munchies, dodging sugar and caffeine so the kids won’t be hyper come bedtime.
  • “One idea is preparing fruits and veggies in team colors,” Burton suggests. “Dip coconut flakes in a little blue food dye, then roll bananas in the flakes, and you’ve got Carolina Panthers’ light blue and white. For Denver, you can have carrots, or make kebabs by arranging oranges and blueberries — for the Broncos’ orange and navy — on pretzel sticks."

  • Keep small hands busy with inexpensive and safe no-cook play dough. (*Recipe below.)
  • For older children, you might also provide straws, plastic spoons and a plastic bowl so they can construct a “stadium” of the dough. “Especially in early child development, there’s a big push to promote ‘STEAM’ — science, technology, engineering, the arts and math — and an activity like this can get both sides of the brain working,” Burton says.

  • Captivate the children with Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl (complete with pre-game show), which is in the afternoon but also can be recorded to show on a second TV while the adults watch the Super Bowl.
  • Provide nap mats or inflatable beds — perhaps even pup tents — and dim the lights as bedtime approaches.
  • *No-Cook Play Dough: Combine 3 cups flour, 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 1/2 cup water, mixing until a dough is form. (Add more water or dough if needed and mix gradually to desired consistency.) Divide among four children. Recipe may be doubled if more children will be playing.

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