Kid-Friendly Super Bowl Squares

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Hosting kids for the Super Bowl? Want to keep them engaged and teach them a little math in the process? With a few minor tweaks, a typical game of Super Bowl Squares can be just the thing.

Game Set Up

In case you’re not familiar with Super Bowl Squares, it is set up as a basic 10×10 grid. People buy squares until all 100 squares have a name in them.

10x10 Super Bowl squares grid with names
Image Credit: N Engineer

Then, the header row and header column are filled in randomly with digits 0-9. One axis represents each team. Here is a sample game board.

10x10 Super Bowl grid with names and digits
Image Credit: N Engineer

Scoring the Super Bowl Squares Game

At the end of each quarter, the person owning the square matching the last digit of the score wins. Depending on how scoring is done (and declared ahead of time), this could mean the winner gets one-fourth of all the entry fees or some percentage of the prize.

Possible scoring:
* 25% of all money entered in the pool goes to the winner of each quarter.
* 1st and 3rd quarter: 20%, 2nd and 4th quarter: 30%
* 1st quarter: 10%, 2nd: 20%, 3rd: 30%, 4th: 40%
* come up with your own answer, but make sure everyone knows it ahead of time and agrees to it before buying a square.

How Is This Kid-Friendly?

I know, I know, you’re wondering how the heck introducing young kids to gambling can be particularly kid-friendly. Well, what if the prize of your game of Super Bowl Squares, rather than being money, were a cupcake or some other special treat? And the cost for a square is a piece of fruit (or, say, finishing your dinner or doing some chore)? Yes, it’s bribery and incentivizes rewarding kids for doing things for things they should do anyhow, but let’s be real for a moment, shall we? Getting kids to eat properly at a party can be challenging, and you don’t want to deal with a meltdown with two minutes left in the first half, do you?

The other thing is, it gives the kids (and grownups) something to focus on if the game is a blowout.

How Are Super Bowl Squares Educational?

One word: Math.

grid showing winner Super Bowl Squares
Image Credit: N Engineer
    1. Graph Reading: Have the kids check the Super Bowl Squares grid to check who would win if the quarter ended with a particular score. Say the score near the end of the first quarter is Eagles 14-Patriots 10. Then according to the grid, the winner would be Parvati.
    2. Computation: What scoring needs to happen for them to win a quarter? How could, for example, Kreacher win in the sample Super Bowl Squares grid? The restrictions, of course, include the scores that actually can be achieved playing football: 2pt safety, 3pt field goal, 6pt touchdown, 1pt extra point (but only after a touchdown), 2pt conversion (again, only after a touchdown).
    3. Probability: Given the number of times a particular person’s name appears on the grid, what chance do they have of winning? Who is more likely to win? Grawp or Harry? Luna or Aberforth? The fact that there are exactly one hundred squares makes the math that much more straightforward.

So go ahead, enjoy the Super Bowl. And keep the kids engaged. Keep money out of the picture, and there doesn’t even have to be any guilt involved with introducing kids too young to gambling (if you don’t feel guilty about the gambling thing, well, you can add some other math problems too, asking them to calculate how much each winner would get given different scoring systems. Or just inform anyone who criticizes your choice that you’re actually furthering your children’s education.

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