Instructions for Kids on How to Play Football

Written by pat pickens
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Instructions for Kids on How to Play Football
Football is one of the most popular games for kids everywhere to play. (football teams image by Photoeyes from

American Football is growing into one of the most popular sports in the world. It is an ideal spectator sport, but also drawing interest among children. Organised football has roots in Pop Warner level, but street football is also popular in cities and suburbs worldwide. The more football grows, the more kids will want to learn how to play this exciting and physically active game.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Football
  • Field of grass or pavement
  • Sneakers
  • Helmet (optional)
  • Equipment (optional)

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Make sure you are adequately hydrated and clothed to play depending on the weather. A jersey or T-shirt and shorts or sweatpants are appropriate for playing outside pickup football games.

  2. 2

    Playing football requires teams. Often when playing a pickup game of football, teams are chosen by two captains who alternate picks until sides are chosen. Make sure to set up an adequate playing field with out of bounds, and draw up rules before the game begins. Games can be played with tackling or two-hand touches. Fields are typically 100 yards long by 53 yards wide, but can vary depending on space.

    Instructions for Kids on How to Play Football
    A traditional football field (American football field. image by Sandra Henderson from
  3. 3

    The game begins with a kickoff and the team that receives should line up. Kids can throw the ball off as well. The team kicks off from around 35 per cent of the field. The receiving team takes the ball and runs until player is "tackled." If any rules are broken, penalties can be called by an official or by teams.

    Instructions for Kids on How to Play Football
    Officials keep football games in line. (Football official standing next to football image by Pezography from
  4. 4

    Teams run plays to earn first downs and then score touchdowns. Often in pick up games, first downs are judged either by landmarks or by a certain number of receptions per four downs. Field goals and punts are rarely used in pickup football games. If a team is unable to earn a first down, the ball goes to the other team.

    Instructions for Kids on How to Play Football
    When a first down is not reached, the ball goes over on downs. (Football image by Brian Garvey from
  5. 5

    Games are broken into four quarters that are typically 10-15 minutes long. However, in pickup games, kids play as long as they want. The team that scores the most points at the end of the game is the winner.

    Instructions for Kids on How to Play Football
    A receiving touchdown (football player image by Maria Bell from

Tips and warnings

  • Injury can take place when tackling is involved. Always take proper precaution when playing tackle football.
  • Weather is also a concern when playing football. Always wear proper clothing for weather and do not play outside in thunder and lightning.

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