A Touchdown for Little Tikes: How to Keep Your Kids in Your Game

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It's a fun twist on a topic that is all a buzz right now: football. Adults get so wrapped up in the game and kids are, let's face it, often jumping in front of the screen for attention or have shuffled off to their room to play Lego / Barbie solo while Dad (or Mom) hoots and hollers for their favorite team. Who says that the kids can't join in on this fun? Gaby Merediz offers simple and specific football-themed / game-related craft ideas for a variety of age ranges (from newborn to preschool), showing parents that kids can be a part of the game instead of feeling as though they are pushed aside, that the game can be a learning experience for kids and a bonding experience for parent / child; that parents can connect with the game and their children by implementing these creative ideas.

Lacing a football is one of many fun crafts developed by Merediz to keep kids involved in the game.

Football. Adults get so wrapped up in the game and kids are, let's face it, often jumping in front of the screen for attention or have shuffled off to their room to play Lego / Barbie solo while Dad (or Mom) hoots and hollers for their favorite team. Who says that the kids can't join in on this fun?

Crafting expert and blogger Gaby Merediz has developed fun, age-appropriate crafts to keep kids involved (and, well, out of the way) while grown-ups indulge in football games and gatherings. Below, Merediz playfully outlines simple and specific football-themed / game-related craft ideas for a variety of age ranges (from newborn to preschool), showing parents that kids can be a part of the game instead of feeling as though they are pushed aside, that the game can be a learning experience for kids and a bonding experience for parent / child; that parents can connect with the game and their children by implementing these creative ideas.

0-6 Months:
Hopefully, your infant will sleep through the game. This is when a baby carrier comes in handy. Strap your child to your back for your next football party. You won’t be able to sit down, but who wants to lounge during all the excitement anyway?

6-12 Months:
To keep your older infant busy during the big game, make some noise! You can create noisemakers using a metal or plastic container with a lid as well as some beans and/or rice. Collect yogurt containers, coffee cans, oatmeal boxes, or plastic containers that house those stackable potato chips. Fill them about ¼-1/2 full with beans and rice, then put the lid on. Secure the lid with brightly-colored duct tape. Give it to your baby and watch him or her celebrate the next touchdown.

Keep small items like beans away from younger babies who are still mouthing objects. However, older babies can create their own noisemakers. Sit your child on a shower curtain or dropcloth and supply some empty cups, funnels, and scoops along with the beans and rice. Your child will get plenty of entertainment playing with the materials before creating the actual noisemaker.

12-24 Months:
Encourage your child to be a team player by creating your own mini football team. Supply your child with cardboard toilet paper tubes, a paintbrush, and some paint in your favorite team’s colors. Ask your child to paint the tubes. When dry, set up the tubes like bowling pins and show your child how to roll a soft ball to knock them down. (Or, for older kids, paint some of the tubes in the rival team’s colors and try to hit those without knocking down your team players.)

24-36 Months:
Make a football using foam sheets, a hole punch, and lacing cord. Cut two sheets of brown foam into identically sized football shapes. Punch holes around the edges. Tie a lacing cord in a knot through one of the holes, and show your child how to sew the pieces together. When your child has bored of the sewing project, stuff the football with old newspaper, secure it with the lacing cord, and play some football!

3 Years Old and Up:
Make an “I-spy” game for your child to play while watching your favorite team play. Draw or print out pictures of items you would typically see on TV during a football game: Helmets, team colors, video cameras, etc. Cover the page with clear contact paper to make it durable and reusable. With a dry-erase marker, have your child circle the items he or she sees on TV.

IN PERSON APPLICATION: to support the father / football bonding initiative, Gaby will offer a Let's Get Ready for Some Football class on October 13 at Tmuffin -- her brick and mortar location in NC -- a great way to spend some creative time with dad, making foam footballs, team player and noisemakers for the big game.

For more free football activities, check out Tmuffin’s newest blog post at Tmuffin.com. Here, you can download free printables to keep the kids happy throughout football season.

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Hilary Brady
Bons Eye Marketing
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