Throw a Super Bowl Sunday party for kids

Jan 28, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Celebrate football’s biggest night with football’s littlest fans. With these kid-tested snacks and age-appropriate activities, throw a family-friendly Super Bowl party the grownups will love too.

Family watching the Super Bowl |

The days of college Super Bowl parties have long passed. This year, throw a gathering that kids and parents can enjoy together as you take in the big game. The best part of family-friendly parties is that they don’t have to be too impressive. Kids love snack food and silly times, and grownups will be glued to the action on the field.

Bake and decorate
team cookies

Cookie dye set |

Get in the spirit by decorating sugar cookies with team colors to support your favorite team. Begin with a basic sugar cookie recipe. Because you’ll be icing these cookies, feel free to dial down the sugar content a little. Roll flat and place the dough in the freezer for about 10 minutes before using cookie cutters to create circles. If you have a football-shaped cookie cutter, that’s even better.

Keep the cookies in the fridge until it’s time for the little ones to gather and decorate. Use inexpensive paint brushes from your local hobby store. Invite your small guests to paint homemade, thin icing onto the cookies in team colors. Bake and serve.

Watch the kid-friendly
Puppy Bowl

Puppy Bowl |

There’s really nothing on TV cuter than the annual Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet. This year it kicks off at 3 p.m. EST on February 2. What can you expect from the tenth annual Puppy Bowl? More water bowl cam, more hilarious “cheerleaders” and excellent color commentary.

For the kids, this is a perfect alternative to what may end up being a boring football game unless they happen to be huge fans. Allow kids to settle down around a screening of Puppy Bowl while grownups watch the big game in the other room. You’ll be shocked at how long kids will tune into adorable puppy shenanigans.

Play indoor football
on a table

Football set |

Remember tabletop football? Sadly, your kids may not. To play this classic game, all you need is a sheet of regular notebook paper. Fold it up into the iconic triangular shape of the paper flick football. If you want to get fancy, purchase a ready-made tabletop football set (Amazon, $9). Wow your kids with stories of school days spent ignoring cafeteria attendants in favor of flicking the perfect Hail Mary pass.

To really get the kids in the game, create a scoreboard and enlist some enthusiastic parents as cheerleaders as the kids go head-to-head in tabletop football. Don’t forget to snag pictures with your digital camera so you can send kids home with a printed photo of the big (little) game.

Throw your own
halftime show

Kids halftime show |

Sure, Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers are a big deal this year, but what if your little ones are too young for the halftime show? Record it for the grownups (and let’s face it, you want to check it out later too) and throw a kid-friendly halftime show of your own.

Let the little ones stage a talent show using their own favorite hits and whatever zany rock star costumes they can come up with. They can play their own musical instruments, turn up the volume on their playlists or just see who's best at the air guitar. Make sure the adults in attendance are ready to get fired up like the lucky few who take the field at the Super Bowl halftime performance.

Board game marathon

Board game pieces |

Think the Super Bowl festivities will be a bit too long — and boring — for the kids? Set up a separate room for the kids as a game room, with board games substituting for football. This works especially well if you have a lot of kids at your house, and different ages as well. Older kids can partner with the younger ones, and you can offer prizes for all. Let your child help choose the board games that he thinks would be the most fun to play with a crowd.

Mini Super Bowl

Boys playing football |

Will you have a houseful of little ones come Super Bowl Sunday? Take the festivities outside during the pre-game show and pull your teams together for a fun game of football with its own rules. Pair smaller kids with big kids, divide into two teams and make up a few silly rules to add a fun element to the game. Use either a soft Nerf-style football or for an added element of fun, play with a balloon for a football. Make sure you have plenty of spares. This is a great way to get the wiggles out.

More party ideas

How to throw a football party for the gals
How to host an appetizer exchange
5 Tips for stress-free entertaining

Image credit: Pardon the Egg Salad (cookie paint), Animal Planet (Puppy Bowl)