Article originally posted at Kmart Playdate Place, updated for the appropriate sports season .
Like many sports fans, I’m excited and relieved that football is back in my life. NFL Sundays in my house are just great days. The kids though (rightfully so) aren’t planning their weekends around the games schedule. Often game day falls smack dab in the middle of some core play date time.
Is it possible for dads to have cake and eat it too? Do you dare try and actually commingle your sports obsession with your kids’ play dates? You can and you should.
One of the things that kids immediately pick up on from sports is the uniforms. No matter, who’s playing; no matter what sport, my daughters will always ask: “Daddy, what team do you want to win? The team with the blue shirts or the team with the white shirt”? Doesn’t matter if they understand all the rules, they are quickly able to navigate some aspects of the game by watching the uniforms and deciding which ones they like best. This is a fantastic kid to sports integration point. If you have the big game on, have a table of arts and crafts ready and have the kids create some of their own teams and uniforms. Dad can help by coloring in some jerseys while watching the game.
Another huge part of the big game is the tailgate. Pick some great tasting easy snacks for your game menu and let the kids help in putting the menu together. They can also put together a pre-game menu and play a game of restaurant while hand delivering snacks to the game viewers.
One of the most important parts of integrating sports into play dates is getting off the couch…not always easy. During halftime or after the game use great plays from the game as a model for some fun exercise with the kids. Was there a gaming winning shot at the buzzer? Act out buzzer beaters and have huge celebrations after someone makes a shot.
As dads, we often compartmentalize big game weekends and choose either spending time with the kids or watching the big game. With the right mindset and some of the right toys and equipment, dads can absolutely have their cake and eat it too.