3 Ways to Make Watching Football a Family Learning Experience

Every football season I find it harder and harder to convince my wife to let me watch football (and I have an even harder time convincing her to watch with me). Now that we have a toddler running around the house yelling “Daddy!” while pointing at the game on TV, I also have to convince her that our kid should watch with me.

As College Football Bowl Season approaches (and with the Potato Bowl hosting an in-state team in our backyard), I have found the game-winning reason as to why we should watch football as a family: Our kids can learn valuable knowledge by watching football.

Here are three things we can learn as a family by watching football.

Football is a Numbers Game

The great thing about “football math” is that there is something to do for everyone. The younger fans can keep score. With this, they will have to know the difference between a touchdown, field goal, extra point, etc. As they learn about the different types of scoring, they will learn to add 6, 3, 1 or 2 points to the scoreboard.

For others, keeping track of yards gained or lost is a great way to learn positive and negative integers. They can even keep track by differentiating between rushing yards, passing yards, and return yards.

More advanced math could include keeping track of passing completion percentage, 3rd down conversion percentage, etc. They could keep track of yards per carry or yards per pass, incorporating averages. These numbers can be split between 1st down, 2nd down, and 3rd so that our kids can figure out which down the team is most successful on.

Football Broadens A Child’s Vocabulary

Teaching our kids about the different terms and concepts in football will not only help them to understand the game of football, but many words used in the game directly transfer into everyday conversations. Words such as interception, penalty, tackle, defense, offense, and more can be used in daily conversations. Some examples are, “When a person breaks a law, they face a penalty.” or “During wartime, secret messages were intercepted.” As we expand our range of knowledge and vocabulary as a family, it opens our minds to greater learning.

Football is about Teamwork and Problem Solving

Teamwork is the most important aspect of playing football. If even one player on the field doesn’t do their part every play, the team will likely lose. Working as a team is not only prevalent in sports, but in school projects, work projects, and even family activities.

Along with teamwork is problem solving. Every down of football, there is a problem to be solved. As our kids grow to understand the game of football, they will learn the importance of each play. If it’s 3rd and 9, they will begin to form ideas in their head as to what each side of the ball needs to do to help their team succeed. They might even begin to develop a coaching mindset and have ideas on which play to run or which player to give the ball to. These problem solving skills will never cease to be necessary in life, so why not learn them while watching football?

Give this game-winning reason a shot during the bowl season and show your wife and kids what the family can learn while watching football! And don’t forget to check out the extra pre-game family activities at the Potato Bowl on December 22nd!

Learning by Watching Football

The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise is coming up on December 22nd. This is the perfect opportunity to prove that your family can learn by watching football, and enjoy some family activities before the game! This year the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is so much more than just a football game, it’s also the greatest pre-game ever, with the Simplot French Fry Feed (who doesn’t love FREE FRIES?!), the Famous Idaho Potato Truck, an opportunity to thank our local military and their family members through Mission 43, FitOne Family Field Day, LIVE MUSIC, and more! You can purchase your tickets ahead of time here!

I can’t think of a better family activity to teach our kids, than spending time as a family enjoying the game!

What other concepts can we teach our kids while watching football?


Marcus Oakes is an Idaho native, future educator, life-long learner, music lover, and avid sports fan. He is most looking forward to teaching his 18 month old daughter to have the same love of learning, music, and sports that he does.

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