Super Bowl fun at home
Whether you’re hosting a Super Bowl party or just want to watch the Patriots and Seahawks battle in relative peace, these plays will help keep kids happy — and might just make you MVP.
Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl
Long a crowd favorite for the younger set (and certain grown-ups), Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl XI brings cuteness overload to the day. (Want to build kids’ excitement between now and Sunday? Click through the slideshow of the starting lineup, then make what could be your most important game-day decisions: Puppy Bowl XI fantasy draft!) Beyond the canine athletes (all shelter pups), highlights include kitten cheerleaders and behind-the-scenes action. Puppy Bowl XI, 3 p.m. Sunday. (animalplanet.com).
The Kitten Bowl
The inaugural Kitten Bowl, which raised awareness for animal adoption, proved to be a ratings hit last year for Hallmark Channel and on Super Bowl Sunday 2015 it will be back, bigger and better than ever, says host Beth Stern, whose husband is radio personality Howard Stern. That includes the addition of Boomer Esiason as commissioner of the Feline Football League, as well as a larger field, an increase in kittens from 71 to 92 and the inclusion of adult cats. Like last year, every kitten on the show, which was recorded several months ago, already has been adopted. The Kitten Bowl, noon Sunday (hallmarkchannel.com)
Hear Katy “Roar”
In terms of starstruck kiddos, the only thing bigger than Idina Menzel’s national anthem will be Katy Perry’s roar-worthy halftime show. For older kids, the glitzy break in the action also will feature Lenny Kravitz (from a little film franchise called “The Hunger Games”). Young spectators won’t want to miss a second of Perry’s girl power performance in a live setting where — as history has taught us — anything can happen.
Shirtless fans? Bingo!
Here’s a semi-quiet diversion. (Word on ESPN is that some folks like to actually see and hear the game.) A number of websites have free, printable Super Bowl bingo cards; these sweet ones courtesy of creativity blog Play Party Pin are family-friendly. Searching the screen for shirtless fans and anticipating soft drink commercials will help keep boredom at bay.
The icing on the football
It’s easy enough to find a football-shaped cookie cutter and even easier to chill some sugar-cookie dough (we won’t tell if it’s not from scratch). Let your little cookie artists go nuts decorating their own edible ellipse; you can even let them declare for the Seahawks or the Patriots by choosing frosting colors. Fumbles? Highly likely. Keep this setup far from the sofa.
Calling all cheerleaders
All you need for team jersey-making is a craft station with T-shirts and puffy paints — but you can really up your game with homemade (and easy) pom-poms. Toilet paper rolls? Check. Tissue paper? Check. Occupied kiddos for at least three plays? Check. Watch a full tutorial from Otterhop at Instructables.com.
Face painting for the win
Whether you’re working with your favorite team colors or just slathering on some super-fierce reflective strips, face-painting is a favorite of tailgaters — and the younger set. We like the Snazaroo Ultimate Party Pack face painting kit, with lots of colors and two glitter gels ($25 at Michaels, with online coupons usually available).
Pin the Football Between the Goalposts
Even the least crafty parents can assemble this game, and even the littlest sports fans can play. 1) Cut out some footballs. 2) Cut out some goalposts. 3) Tape the posts in your designated end zone. 4) Blindfold the kids. 5) Dole out football-shaped treats as prizes ($10.99 for a 1-pound bag of foil-covered chocolate footballs, nuts.com; $6 for 12 football suckers, candywarehouse.com.
Neil Best of Newsday contributed
The Super Bowl kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 1 on NBC.