Simple Family Football

In the words of Sister, “We’re not really a sporty kind of family.”  But we are trying to remedy that this year.  Will found a PE curriculum that fits us just right because it’s written by a mom who as a child experienced all the not fun parts of phys. ed. and took those out of her book.  We do fun stretches, fun games, fun challenges and on top of all that we’re learning the basics about a variety of sports.  This week’s sport is Football.  (That’s American football not to be confused with soccer.)  I knew I wanted us to play a version somehow but there are only two kids big enough to play and we are in a heat advisory (over 100 degrees) all this week.  Also, I was not about to allow football throwing in the house so we came up with something else. 

Using a tape measure and some white electrical tape we turned our large dining room table into a football field.  The kids did the measuring, dividing and number writing and we called that math for the day.

IMAG0800  marking the yard lines

IMAG0801  up one side

IMAG0802  and down the other.

IMAG0809  Finished!


Our table is just shy of 10 feet long so for simplicity’s sake we didn’t measure out the end zones. Nor did we do all the hash marks for single yards.  Despite these discrepancies and, you know, the fact that it was a table …. indoors, we managed to make our little game work.




Our other supplies included two dice, two different colored rolls of tape (to use as markers) and an origami football that Sister made by following this video.




Oh, and we also referenced the book Football for Fun! by Kenn Goin because we know nothing about football and it seemed like a good idea to have a reference.


In case you’d like to play, Simple Family Football works likes this.

1. There is a coin toss.  The winner chooses to Kick or Receive first.

2. There is a kickoff.  The “football” is launched from the 10 yard line (instead of the customary 30).

3. The Offense “catches” the ball where ever it lands.  This is the first line of scrimmage.

4. The Offense launches the ball from the line of scrimmage.  The Defense rolls a die to determine what happened:

** A roll of 1 or 6 means the pass/run is good and the landing spot becomes the new line of scrimmage.

** A roll of 2 means the Offense fumbled the ball but kept possession (move the ball back 10 yards from where it landed.)

** A roll of 3 means the Offense fumbled the ball and lost possession (play proceeds from the last line of scrimmage.)

** A roll of 4 means the ball was intercepted (the landing spot is the new line of scrimmage.)

** A roll of 5 means there was a flag on the play.  The Offense rolls the second die to determine who gets a 10 yard penalty. (an even number and the Offense gets the penalty, odd and the penalty goes to the Defense.)

5. Using this method, play continues until the someone scores a touchdown.  Then the scoring team chooses to either Kick a Field Goal for the extra point or try for a 2 Point Conversion.  Again the ball is launched and the Defense rolls to determine the outcome.

** The Field Goal is good if any number BUT a 1 or 6 is rolled.

** The 2 Point Conversion is successful ONLY if a 1 or 6 is rolled.

6.  Just as in real football there is a kickoff after each score.

7.  We timed our game @ 30 minutes with a break at half-time to put the little kids down for their nap.


** I also made two special rules at the beginning that we discussed but never actually used.

1. The Offense may choose to attempt a Field Goal anytime they are between the 20 yard line and the End Zone.

2.  The Offense may also choose to Punt if the situation seems hopeless.  We never used this one because play moved pretty quickly and even though we (kind of) kept track of downs it was rare that anyone ever got past a second down.


There you have it: Not so Simple indoor, on the table Family Football.

Let us know if you play.  Maybe we could start a league. Smile


One thought on “Simple Family Football

  1. OMG. You found a way to combine football and dice. There is an entire population of D&D players out there who would probably drool for days over this post… and work out how to incorporate separate players, referees, penalties, challenges, and halftime into the shebang. You may have just created a monster!

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