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How to Get Your Yard Ready for an Epic Turkey Bowl Game

Thanksgiving is approaching, which means it is time to start planning for the Turkey Bowl. Whether you enjoy watching football on TV or maybe you play this game yourself, the Turkey Bowl is an exciting day for many families. If you are considering hosting a Turkey Bowl party in your yard, you have come to the right place. I will be going over the top tips and ideas for having a Turkey Bowl in your own backyard. I hope you are inspired by this article to start playing football. Let's get started.

Getting Your Yard Ready for a Turkey Bowl

Getting your yard ready for football requires a little work. You'll need to mark the lines and set up goal posts. It can be a little more difficult to set up your yard for a Turkey Bowl game if your backyard is very small. However, any yard will work, even if it isn't one hundred and twenty-yards by fifty yards, which is what NFL requires football fields to measure. Here are the steps to preparing your yard for football.

Measure Your Yard

To get started on turning your yard into a Turkey Bowl game, you'll need to measure your yard. If your yard isn't as big as a regular football field, don't worry. Even smaller yards can make a great spot for playing football.

Mark the Field

Now that you have the measurements, mark your field into twelve equal increments. These will be your yard-lines. Yard-lines are the white markings on the field that identify the distance from the end zone. If you want exact measurements and straight lines, take the time to use a protractor and rope to determine a ninety-degree angle for boundaries and yard-lines. If it's not as important, it's ok just to guess where each line should go. You'll need to use lawn spray paint for these lines.

Set Up the Goal Posts

Sporting goods stores sell inflatable goal posts that you can place in each end zone to kick "field goals" and "extra points." Inflatable goal posts are soft, which makes it safe for younger children in case they ran into one. You can purchase two cheap goal posts on Amazon here.

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Create Some Rules

In order for your game of football to stay safe, you'll need to make some rules. If younger kids will be playing, you may want to make a rule that if somebody touches a person, that person is out. That way, young kids don't get hurt being tackled. Here are some other rules you may want to consider making.

  • No one should wear cleats. Remember that this is a fun Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl game, not a real football game that requires the appropriate outfit. Cleats could cause your foot to be stuck in one position while the rest of your body is moving in a different direction, leading to injury. Gym shoes would be better for this game of football.
  • Everyone who plays should wear mouthguards. Mouthguards will prevent people from injuring their teeth.
  • No one should play when they are hurt. If somebody gets hurt, they should wait until they feel better before they join the game again. Playing when you are hurt can lead to further injury.
  • All players should be gentle when playing football, especially if young children will be playing.
  • Players should not drink alcohol before or during the game.
  • Make sure everyone warms up properly. Warming up your body prevents injuries during the football game.
  • Feel free to make this Turkey Bowl unique. Perhaps instead of using a football, you could use a volleyball or basketball. This will make the game extra unique.

Serve Delicious Thanksgiving Foods

Of course, you will probably be having a Thanksgiving dinner either before or after the Turkey Bowl. However, it can be fun to serve other tasty snacks for those who will be watching your Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl game. Here are some simple and healthy ideas.

Rosemary Beet Chips

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Image Source: Daily Burn

Recipe Source: Daily Burn

Ingredients:
  • Extra-virgin olive oil cooking spray (or 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 4 medium beets, peeled
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, and salt; set aside.
  2. Trim 1-inch off the root end of the beets. Using the V-slicer or mandolin slice the beets into very thin slices, about 1/16-inch thick. Line the beets in a single layer on the baking sheets and spray another layer of olive oil on top. If not using cooking spray, toss the beets with olive oil in a large bowl before lining them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with the rosemary salt and stack an empty rimmed baking sheet on top.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the top sheet and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Chips will look pale in color but will darken and crisp up as they cool.

Five-Layer Dip

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Image Source: Daily Burn

Recipe Source: Daily Burn

Ingredients:
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon minced chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups corn kernels (10-ounce box frozen corn)
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Instructions:
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they soften about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Put half of the onion mixture into a food processor with the black beans, chipotle peppers, 1 tablespoon of the lime juice, cumin, water, and salt. Puree until smooth.
  3. Add the corn to the skillet with the remaining onion mixture and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in black pepper and half the cilantro leaves.
  4. In a small bowl, mash the avocados with the remaining lime juice and cilantro.
  5. In a medium bowl, toss together the tomatoes, jalapeño, and scallions.
  6. Mix the yogurt with the taco seasoning in a different medium bowl.
  7. In a 1 3/4-quart straight-sided bowl, spread the black bean dip in an even layer on the bottom. Top with the corn mixture, spreading it out to form a single layer over the beans, repeat with the avocado, then yogurt, then the tomatoes. Top with cheese if desired and serve with baked tortilla chips.

Cranberry and Chicken Meatballs

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Image Source: Daily Burn

Recipe Source: Daily Burn

Ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup packed spinach, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 6 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs, soaked in 2 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
Instructions:
  1. In a food processor, pulse the pine nuts until just crumbly.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients from pine nuts through black pepper, being careful not to over mix. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. In the meantime, make the cranberry sauce. In a small saucepan, bring the cranberries, sugar, orange juice and rosemary to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the zest. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature while the meat marinates.
  4. Heat oven to 400°F and grease two rimmed baking sheets.
  5. Scoop a tablespoon of meat into your hand, drop a cranberry from the sauce into its center and scoop another tablespoon of meat on top; roll into a ball. Place meatballs on the baking sheet 1/2 inch apart and bake until cooked through and lightly browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with the rest of the cranberry sauce.

Other Fun Games to Play

There are so many other fun activities to play besides football. Here are some fun ideas:

Turkey Bowling Game

Unlike the Turkey Bowl football, a turkey bowling game is when you create turkey pins and use a bowling ball to knock them over. You can easily make this game using the following supplies:

  • Large brown plastic cups
  • Paint sample strips in a variety of colors
  • Plastic googly eyes
  • Orange construction paper cut into the shape of triangles for the turkeys’ beaks
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • A bowling ball

This game is very easy to make and can be a fun craft for kids. Simply glue on the googly eyes and the beak using glue. Tape the paint sample strips to the back of these "turkeys".

How to Play:

To play this game, you need to arrange the "turkeys" on the ground so that when you roll the ball, they will get knocked over. You may want to stack them on top of each other, or you could line them up in one straight line. Then, after walking back a few yards away, roll the bowling ball towards the turkeys and see how many you can knock down. Each person can have fun trying to knock over the turkeys.

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Image Source: The Seasoned Mom

Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt

A Thanksgiving scavenger hunt is easy to do. All you have to do is make a list of things you should be grateful for. Then each person has to decide what that is. For example, you could write on a piece of paper "I'm grateful for...what represents my country". It may take a little while before somebody realizes that the answer is the flag. Once somebody comes up with the correct answer, they must try to solve the next hint. You could also have a Thanksgiving treasure hunt. Unlike a scavenger hunt, in a treasure hunt, you hide the hints in specific places instead of giving everyone one big sheet that has all the hints. So once somebody decides that you must be talking about the flag, they would go over to the flag and look for the next hint you have hidden. This is a fun game to play that helps build problem-solving skills, as well as gets your family moving after eating a large Thanksgiving dinner.

Gratitude Pick-Up Sticks

Turn the classic game of pick-up sticks into a moment of being grateful for what you have. To play this game, use the game pick-up sticks or straws. Throw the sticks on a table and have each person try to pick up the stick without disturbing the other sticks. Once somebody has successfully picked up a stick, they must say something that they are thankful for. After that person has said what he/she is thankful for, the next person takes a turn. To make this game more competitive, you could set a timer so that every person has so much time to pick up the stick and say what they are thankful for.

Final Thoughts 

I hope this article has answered all your questions on how to have a Turkey Bowl in your backyard. As you can see, there are so many different activities and foods to serve at a Turkey Bowl party. Don't forget to set some rules at your Turkey Bowl so that no one gets hurt. Also, feel free to make your Turkey Bowl football unique and original. You could have fun using a volleyball or basketball instead of a football. Whatever you choose to do, remember to have fun!

Mariann Foster

I am one of our content writers for Everything Backyard. I am a mother and business owner of Big Horn Mountain Alpacas in Wyoming. I love farm life, cutting my own firewood in the mountains, and participating in local trail run races.

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