Super Bowl Sunday isn’t all about beer, junk food, and blaring flat-screen TVs. Football can actually teach your kids a lot of lessons that have have real-world applications—even if the “classroom” is your living room-turned-temporary-man cave. Here are six important lessons kids can learn from the Super Bowl.
1. COLLEGE IS COOL
Before every big game, when all the players are announced, they’re introduced by name and what college they went to. That’s because, by and large, most football players come through the college system. So when your kids are gushing over how many touchdowns Peyton Manning can throw or Adrian Peterson’s yards per carry, it can’t hurt to remind them that college played a huge role in creating their pigskin-toting heroes.
2. MEASURE THE GAME
A football field is one hundred yards from end zone to end zone (an “end zone” is the area where teams score points). There are two end zones, one on either side of the field. The whole point of football is to move the ball across the hundred yards of the end zone—so the crux of the game really does come down to the measurement of yards, feet, and inches. Encourage your kids to keep up with what’s happening, and how far the teams are getting across the field.
Read Related: Super Bowl for Beginners: Your Guide to the Big Game
3. DO THE MATH
If the running back has already completed an 80-yard run and just finished another 15, how many does that give him for the day? If your team is on the 50 yard line, how far do they have to go to score a touchdown? These are questions you can ask your kids over Super Bowl snacks—questions that take on a new challenge when you consider that the answers can vary depending on variables such as whether you’re talking about the home team or the visitors.
4. WATCH THE CLOCK
So much of football comes down to time management. Football is played in four quarters and each quarter consists of 15 minutes (very convenient, as it matches up with the clock on the kitchen wall or the one perched by the television set). But with time-outs, half-time and commercial breaks, the game frequently stretches to three action-packed hours. This conflict between televised time and “real time” can allow your little one to keep track and take notes while he or she keeps up with the action.
5. CRUNCH THE NUMBERS
Throughout the game, statistics—both the good and the bad—are being kept for each performer’s individual play, as well as the team’s play overall. Statistics, simply put, are a measurement of how everyone is doing, over the course of the game and the season. By keeping up with their favorite quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers, kids will actually grasp some pretty abstract mathematical concepts without even realizing it. When you hear them chirp stuff like “The quarterback has completed 80% of his passes today” or “My favorite running back is having a bad day and is at -25 yards for the day” it means that they’re mastering statistics—something that’ll make learning more about stats in the classroom less intimidating.
6. GOOD SPORTS, BAD SPORTS
You want your children to learn about playing fair and being good sports, and there are shining examples of that in football, a sport where bad sportsmanship is penalized. Now, if only it were that simple. Football is a complicated game consisting of tons of rules and played by individuals with varied personalities, and not all of them exhibit grace under pressure or a gentlemanly acceptance of failure. And that’s okay—a show of bad sportsmanship makes for a great opportunity to discuss the issue with your kids.