A Kid’s Guide to March Madness

Is there anything better than a day filled with buzzer beaters and Cinderella stories? How about when your kids happily watch all the March Madness games WITH you? You see, we are a sports loving family and one of our most favorite times of year is when college basketball dominates TV screens across the country. What is the secret to getting kids to enjoy the games as much as we adults do? By getting them involved in the March Madness fever. Here is my tried and true Kids’ Guide to March Madness that will have your family counting down the days ‘til the big dance:

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First off…play!

There’s no way kids are going to be interested in March Madness if they aren’t given the chance to actually PLAY basketball, so whether you sign them up for a basketball class, get a basketball arcade game, head to a local court to shoot hoops, or get them their own hoop…do SOMETHING to get them playing the game.

Research the Teams

While the teams that make the tournament aren’t announced well in advance of the start of March Madness, your family can start learning about the different teams that are projected to make the big dance based on conference tournaments that are held the week before March Madness. Kids can learn about where the schools are located, team colors, mascots, key players, coaches, etc.

Fill Out Brackets

One of the reasons why March Madness is so popular is because anyone—from kids to 100 year olds who have never watched a game—can fill out a bracket and WIN a March Madness pool. While kids probably shouldn’t bet money on the tournament like adults do, they can wager things like the winner gets a day off from chores, can have any treat from the bakery, or gets to pick out a new fun toy.

Show Your Team Spirit

With over 30 teams playing on ONE DAY during the first round of the March Madness tournament, it can get tricky showing team spirit for all of those teams over the course of 24 hours. My solution? Making team pennants. You can research school details on the Internet and print off photos for a collage filled pennant. If nothing else, it will keep your kids so busy that you can watch the games in peace.

My boys also love making construction paper jerseys for their own little basketball guys from this great set from Fat Brain toys. With all of the different teams playing during the tournament, simply outfitting the plastic athletes will keep your kids busy for hours.

Catch the Games on a Big Screen

While watching sports at home is fun, there are also tons of family friendly restaurants and bars where your whole crew can watch the tournament together. Another great suggestion is to head to a local brewery or beer garden (make sure kids are allowed like at these fun spots). Arlington Ale House is our go-to since kids can play pinball and other games while we sit back, relax, and watch some basketball while enjoying an ice cold brew!

Who are you cheering for? As Midwesterners we always root for the Big Ten (I 0 W A) and our beloved Northwestern Wildcats. Fingers crossed that the Big Ten can bring home the championship this year.

May the best team (and my bracket) win!


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  1. Amber says

    This all sounds like fun! We set up basketball hoop at the house last summer and my son has been getting into basketball more and more lately so we will def be doing some of this!

  2. Lisa Favre says

    I couldn’t agree more! It’s all about team spirit! And also, what a great idea making construction paper jerseys for those cute miniature toy players.

    • Amanda says

      We love March Madness and these tips/activities have gotten our kids to love it as much as we do. We have been one happy family this weekend!

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