If you’ve never been tailgating with your kids before, maybe now is the time to start! With a little planning and a lot of patience, tailgating can be as much fun for your kids as it is for you. Read on to find out how to make your budding Bucs fan’s first tailgate party an experience to remember.

Kiddie Cuisine

The most essential element in any tailgate party is food, and that holds true for children as well. You can’t go wrong with hamburgers and hot dogs, but after the first few games, the same old food is going to get boring. Mix it up with chicken fingers, steak or chicken kabobs and football-shaped sandwiches (just use a football-shaped cookie cutter). Also have plenty of snacks on hand like fruit skewers, cookies and granola bars. Don’t forget to stock up on plenty of water and juice pouches to wash it all down.

Keep Them Entertained

Kids can easily get bored and distracted. To minimize boredom and the complaining that comes with it, plan ahead and have plenty of activities for them to do. Simple games that incorporate lots of movement, such as catch, ladder ball and tag, are an easy fix and will also help dispel all of that extra energy. If you’re tailgating with other families, you can also try organizing carnival-style games like three-legged races, sack races and a bean bag toss. Also have ideas on reserve for when the heat gets too oppressive, such as coloring books and hand-held game systems.

Music to Their Ears

Much of the current contemporary music is less than family friendly, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend the afternoon in silence. Radio Disney and Kidz Bop are sure to keep your kids entertained and you can also mix in artists like Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Mindless Behavior.

Safety First

You’ll have more fun if you don’t have to worry about your child’s safety. First of all, prepare for the Florida sun. Children have sensitive skin and spending hours in direct sunlight could lead to sunburn, dehydration and fainting if you’re not careful. Slather on SPF 30 before leaving for the party so the sunscreen has time to condition your child’s skin. Remember to reapply it every few hours. Sunglasses and hats will protect your child’s face even better than sunscreen.

Also be sure to discuss the rules before the party starts. Even though you’ve told your child not to talk to strangers a thousand times, it doesn’t hurt to say it again. You may also want to have a rule that an adult must be present to go anywhere, including the bathroom.

Other Considerations

So you’ve stocked up on kid-friendly phones, programmed your mp3 player and have enough sunscreen to supply a small village. You’re on your way to a fun-filled day of tailgating. To make it easier on you, consider parking close to the restrooms. Additionally, consider parking close to other families with children. Your child might make a new friend and they can help keep each other entertained. You may also want to bring along a change of clothes, just in case. Finally, be responsible. Know your limit when it comes to alcohol. In the event of an emergency, you need to be in a sober state to handle it.

Check out Tailgate Fan to keep the party going at tailgatefan.cbslocal.com.

Amanda Mole has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil and cooking since she was tall enough to reach the stove. She believes that food provides more than just vital nutrients: it is an irreplaceable part of countless cultural and social activities. As a Tampa Bay resident for the past 21 years, she is well acquainted with the incredibly diverse range of restaurants, bars, and food festivals that the area has to offer. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.


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