Party Plan: Tailgate Party Activities

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Your tailgate guests have arrived, but it’s not time to eat yet. Or they’ve eaten, but it’s not time for the game yet. What do you all do with yourselves? Tailgates are meant to be a source of entertainment prior to the main event, so be sure you bring the right equipment and games to keep everyone happy. Make sure you have enough room in your tailgating space or in an open ground nearby so you won’t bother other guests.

Tailgate Party Activities for All Ages

  • Cornhole (Corn Toss, Bean Toss, Yard Toss)—Cornhole can be played either one-one-one or with teams of two players. Cornhole boards are placed 27 feet apart measuring from the front of the boards. Player have four beanbags each and alternate tossing their bags at the opposite cornhole board. Bags landing on the top of the board are worth one point. Bags falling in the hole are worth three points. To learn more, go to
  • Washers—There are two versions of this game, and depending on your region of the country, the distance between the scoring boards varies from 21-25 feet apart. The game can be played with teams of two or one-on-one. Players alternate tossing their washers towards the opposite scoring box. In single-hole play, a washer in the hole scores three points, while a washer in the box scores one point. In three-hole washers, the closest hole is worth one point, the middle hole is worth three points, and the furthest hole is worth five points. Learn more at
  • Ladder Golf (Ladder Ball, Blongo Ball, Hillbilly Golf)—Two three-rung ladder goals are placed 25 feet apart; two teams toss bolas—two colorful balls connected by nylon rope–at the goal. Players alternate throwing three bolas each at the opposing goal. A player who hangs or wraps his/her bola around one of the rungs can score points. Find out more at
  • Sholf—Sholf combines the scoring of shuffleboard with the tools of the game of golf. The object of sholf is to putt your golf balls further into the scoring end than your opponent. Point values increase, as you get close to the edge of the green. Go to
  • Games of Catch—When playing catch before, during and after the tailgate, keep the distance to a maximum of 15 yards from each other. There is no need to try and throw long bombs or unreasonable pass routes into the grills of your neighbors. With many balls in the air, it’s just a common courtesy to keep the parking lot games sane. Use a foam football or softball for safety.
  • Volleyball/Badminton —any types of portable sporting equipment can result in a lot of good old-fashioned tailgate fun.
  • Face-Painting Station—Children and adults will enjoy this fun way to get on their team’s colors.
  • Scavenger Hunt—Create a list of typical and a few unusual tailgating items for your guests of all ages in teams to locate among the tailgating neighborhood and take pictures of with digital cameras. Don’t send your children out to do this without adult supervision. The first team to return with pictures of all the items wins.
  • Team Trivia—Go to your team’s website to find fun facts to use for trivia questions to test your die-hard fans.
  • Cook-Off Contests—Have the cooks in your tailgate party bring their favorite versions of a particular dish such as chili, potato salad, or chocolate chip cookies, and have your guests vote for the best of the best.
  • Taking Pictures—photos of your tailgate activities will be quite entertaining to look at after the game. You can bring photo accessories for guests to pose with–team-related jerseys, hats, beds, and novelty items. Guests might write spirit messages for the team on a dry-erase board and have their photos taken with the message.
  • Music and Dance—A boom-box or iPod/ iPod player with speakers work wonders for the tailgate atmosphere. Create a playlist with a theme based around your team or your opponent.  You might want to choreograph a simple dance in honor of your team and teach it to your guests, so you can video and share it on Facebook and YouTube.
  • Playing Cards— A simple deck of cards could mean hours of fun for adults or children. They could use the top of a plastic storage tub or a cooler as a card table.
  • Tailgate Theater—it is becoming more and more common to see a TV and satellite dish at tailgate parties. What better way to keep up to speed on what’s going on in the rest of the sports world.
    • Portable Television—LCD or plasmas are the easiest to transport.
    • Satellite Dish / Antenna—Portable satellites are becoming more common and more sophisticated…and easier for the user to set up.
    • Satellite Receiver—You’ll need this for your dish to actually work.
    • Remote Control—Do not forget this! A universal remote works wonders in these situations.
    • Speakers—This will allow your guests to actually be able to hear the TV over the roar of the tailgate lot.
    • Generator / Power Supply—You’ll need power to be able to enjoy your tailgate theater.


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