After we had children, tailgating became a somewhat different sport. My girlies learned to say, "Go Deacs!" along with Ma-ma and Da-da. They wore the cheerleading uniform, waved the pompoms, and it was my job to keep everybody happy. Now a little older, it's easier, but I still come prepared to handle potential meltdowns so we can all enjoy a fun family afternoon.
So, if you are headed to a tailgate this fall with the kiddos, here's what you need.
Snacks and Drinks
Great ideas for the tailgate foods include carrot sticks, grapes, pretzels, hummus, and cheese & crackers. Kids and adults usually like these finger foods and you can pack up leftovers in ziploc bags to take into the game. Healthy snacks like this help keep your kids' energy and mood up. We like to make a spinach dip for tailgates that is easy and delicious for carrots, pretzels and crackers. It's actually on the back of the Knorr vegetable dip mix. You can find this recipe online here.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of snacks, (also known as 'nacks to certain small people I love). When you run out, you will have approximately 20 minutes before the meltdowns begin. You have been warned!
Of course you need chairs to sit around the tailgate, and we always like to bring some kid-sized camp chairs to keep our kids out of the adult chairs. We like this one by Redmon, which comes in a variety of colors and is quite resonably priced.
At some of our games, we choose to sit "on the hill" with many other families. I've learned the hard way that you need more than a blanket for these games! Plan to take a tarp (usually found at a home improvement store) to put under the blanket. You do not want a soggy behind for the duration of a football game!
Don't forget the bugspray.Weather-Related Items
When packing up to head out, sometimes it's hard to predict what the weather is going to do that day. Be prepared with everything from sunscreen and hats to rain ponchos and umbrellas to jackets. I've used all of the above in one long game day.
Tailgating EssentialsMy sister gave us a really nice custom tote bag that she designed from LL Bean. On their website, you can choose the color of the bag, handles and monogram to show off your team spirit. It is huge and can carry so much into the game. We love it.
Once we started tailgating with kids, my sister put together an awesome checklist and had it laminated for us. On the list are trashbags, napkins, wipes, laminated tablecloth, aluminum foil, ziplock bags, serving spoons, plastic cutlery, cups, bottle opener, paper towels, hot pad, and tongs. We created a "tailgate box" and store all these essentials in a plastic bin. Having a box like this will make packing up and moving out for the game so, so much easier. You have enough to do with dressing your little ones in jerseys and cheerleader outfits for the game.
If you grill, my best recommendation is to invest in a good knife with a cover. My husband loves to grill and our favorite knife is a Santoku that my mother bought from us at Williams-Sonoma. Santoku knives are perfect for cutting anything from vegetables to steaks. Zyliss is a Swiss company that has been making knives for 50 years. You can find a great-priced Zyliss Santoku with a cover on Amazon here.
Usually if we get to the game early enough, we have an opportunity to see the band and our mascot in the parking lot. This is really fun for the kids. I always stuff a couple of pom-poms in our tailgate box. They like to cheer and be a part of the team spirit.
|Snacks and pom-poms keep these cheerleaders happy!|
A small football to throw in the parking lot is great for boys, plus if you have access to a cornhole board, that is always fun for girls and boys. We make sure to bring markers and a doodle book for my little one when she gets hot and tired.
This year I made up a Game Day Wordsearch for my kids and their tailgating friends. Would you like one for your next tailgate? Free printable can be found here.
Visit our Pinterest board for a fun roundup of great tailgating foods and decor.
Follow Sassafras Paper's board tailgates and football on Pinterest.
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