March Madness is here! Just the thought can bring excitement to many sports fans. March Madness triggers many memories for me, going all the way back to my youth. These memories come from my own personal experience playing sports, watching NCAA tournament games, and cheering on my favorite teams.

My kids are following the path I took and really love playing sports. More recently they are even getting into watching games on TV. I am really looking forward to enjoying this year’s March Madness with them, as I did with my dad and older brother growing up.

As a dad who is constantly on the lookout for new ways to make the most of the time with my family, I thought it would be good to come up with ways to make this March Madness a fun family affair. Activities that will teach my kids lessons from sports, during an exiting and memorable time of year. I encourage you to try some with your family. Below are 5 Ways to Enjoy March Madness with Your Family.

1) It’s about the bracket baby!

No NCAA tourney is complete without filling out a bracket. Print out some brackets and allow everyone to complete their own bracket. You can also start a private group online, and scoring will be kept for you. The fun and excitement in your house will increase with each game.

2) Randomly choose teams

Each family member can draw from a hat to choose up to four teams. Since it is random you will find yourself cheering for teams which you may have never chosen. Some may be underdogs. But hey, that is what March Madness is about. The underdog, the Cinderella team.

3) Research each team in the bracket

We are a homeschooling family, so we are constantly seeking creative ways to educate our children. One great idea is to research the teams which make the tournament. Learn about their history, geographic location, academic and athletic programs.

This could spark your child’s interest in that Ivy League school, or the school with the stellar track program. Regardless it turn their mind toward college, and give them additional knowledge about the school when they see them playing on TV.

4) Play the game together

There is no better time to get your child engaged in sports, particularly basketball, than during a national or world championship. Find a gym or outdoor court (weather permitting), and engage in a family friendly game of basketball.

Discuss what they have noticed in the games. Introduce drills which will help their skill development. It will be an activity everyone can share in and remember.

5) Have a March Madness themed party

Make it a big deal. Invite family and friends. Invite your kids friends. Enjoy watching the games, and hanging with those close to you. Your kids will love it because it is a party.

Many times we don’t remember the specifics of the game, but we remember the experience surrounding the game. This is sure to create memorable experiences for your family.

A March Madness for the ages

March Madness will surely bring some great games, big plays, and buzzer beaters. Enjoy them all, and be intentional about making it a fun, family experience.

Question: What do you love most about March Madness? Please share in the comment section below.

Jackie Bledsoe, Jr. writes a Family Leadership blog at jackiebledsoe.com. He is a sports parent of three, has played sports for over 30 years, including the collegiate level, and coached youth sports for the past eight years. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter (@jbledsoejr).

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