7 Game-Changing Tips for a Fantastic Tailgate Experience With Kids


Cooler Weather Means Football and Tailgating Parties

I love that fall is just around the corner: the changing leaves, the smell of bonfires in the air, back-to-school sales, cooler temperatures (but none of that white stuff) and, of course, football games. What’s more fun than attending a home game of your favorite team? Tailgating!

Like everything else, tailgating with kids means you’ll have some extra packing and planning. Never fear! Our team at Lansing Family Fun has gathered some great tips for making tailgating with kids fun for everyone.


7 Tips for Tailgating with Kids

Tailgating isn’t just for adults. Kids love tailgating, too! Check out our tips for how to enjoy tailgating with your kids in tow, from extra clothes to separate coolers.

01.   Be Prepared for Anything

Pack extra outfits (socks included), for all the kids. No one wants to watch a game in wet clothes from a spilled can of pop or a last second mud puddle.

Don’t forget wipes, hand sanitizer, Band-Aids and Kleenex. Even if you don’t have kids in diapers anymore, baby wipes are great for sticky messes.


02.   Wear the Proper Gear

Show everyone who you’re rooting for by dressing in your team’s gear or colors. Get some pom poms if your kids won’t cooperate with clothing.

Since we live in fickle Michigan, check the weather. It can be cool in the morning and warmer in the afternoon so dress in layers or with winter hats & gloves or raincoats.


03.   A Good Location is Key – 4 Secrets to the perfect spot:

– Arrive early: Tailgating at MSU starts 5 hours before kick-off and cars will be lined up. The earlier the better.

– Plan to Walk: The lots closest to the stadium are reserved for season ticket holders and nearby lots have a fee. If you are meeting up with friends who are running the tailgate, be prepared to walk. Keep that in mind when deciding what to bring.

– Create a Safe Boundary: We recommend finding a spot away from traffic.

If you have little ones, investing in one of the hexagon gate systems can help create a safe place place to play. Rearranging tables and setting up a pop-up tent are also ways protect your family from the weather.

– Bathrooms: It’s ideal to be near the bathrooms – which could be port-a-potties (another good reason to pack your wipes!) You will likely need them multiple times as little ones can’t hold it for very long.


04. Bring Food and Drinks for All Ages

While kids are usually happy with traditional tailgating food like hamburgers and hot dogs, everyone will be happier if no one is whining about the food options.

If you’re tailgating with friends, coordinate in advance. Everyone’s load will be lighter if you don’t all have to bring the same things. Facebook event pages are great for this.


Put kids’ drinks in a separate cooler.  Then you don’t have to be worried about your 3-year-old running around with a can of beer. Kids are also more likely to keep hydrated if they get to select their drink themselves.

05.   Bring Entertainment for the Kids

Include some fun games for the kids. Our team suggests games like corn hole, ladder ball, and can jam.

Other fun games and activity ideas we gathered include Twister, coloring books & crayons (you might even be able to find coloring pages for your team online), bubbles and sidewalk chalk. I even saw an idea of a little “spa day” for kids, doing nails and styling hair.

Leave activities with little pieces like Legos at home.

6.   Don’t Forget Your Radio or TV

Not attending the game? Bring along a radio or a portable TV to watch or listen to the game from your tailgate area while the kids keep playing.

Some of our team members suggest doing this and then heading home once the area clears out a little.

If you do decide to watch the game in person, be ready to leave early since the kids may get bored (or the stadium may be too loud or overwhelming for them).


7.   Research Ahead of Time

Do some research and see if there are any fun events going on before the game starts. You may be able to meet and get a picture with the team mascot.

If you plan to go into the stadium, make sure you have read and understand the stadium’s bag policy. MSU and U of M both have a strict No Bags policy.

Diapers and a few other necessary items can be put into a clear gallon-sized bag.


Above all else, enjoy the time with your family! You are making great memories!

Do you have other tips for tailgating with kids? Let us know in the comments below!

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