Spaghetti Box Kids

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How to Play Table Football

June 17th, 2009 · 10 Comments

Table football is a fun and easy around the house game to play with your kids. It builds familiarity with simple math, counting, numbers, risk assessment and basic game strategy. It also helps to develop fine motor skills and dexterity. Best of all, it’s good old fashioned fun you can play anytime.


  • Sheet of 8.5 x 11 paper
  • Kitchen table

That’s it. That’s all you need to get started.

How to Make a Table Football:

This quick video shows you how…

Setting up:

  1. Remove any cloth from your table top. The surface should be bare.
  2. Sit on opposite sides of the table. (Sit on opposite sides of the width, not the length.)
  3. If you have a round table, make an end zone. To do this, simply place a piece of tape at two points on your end—approximately shoulder length apart. Do the same thing at your opponent’s end. All scoring must take place in the end zone.

How to Play:

  1. Push (slide) the football toward your opponent’s end of the table
  2. Your opponent pushes the football toward you.
  3. You push the football back toward your opponent’s end.
  4. Your opponent pushes the football back toward you.


Score the most points. Play to an agreed upon score, say– 35 or 50. Or use a timer—whoever has the most points after 10 minutes wins the game.

How to Score:
table football touchdown
You score a touchdown (6 points) when you push the football toward your opponent’s end and it hangs over the edge of the table. If you do not score a touchdown, then your opponent pushes the football back toward your end.

You attempt an extra point (1 point) after a touchdown. An extra point is scored by kicking the football through a set of goalposts.

    table football field goal

  • Kicking the football- Simply hold the football upright with one finger. With your other hand, pull your index finger backward. Hold it with your thumb (like you’re ready to shoot a marble), then snap it forward causing the football to sail toward the goalposts.
  • Making the goalposts- table football goal postsIf your opponent is kicking, then you need to provide the goalposts. To do this, simply place two closed fists on the table. Extend your index fingers so they touch one another. Now raise your thumbs. The person doing the kicking must cause the football to sail through the uprights (the raised thumbs).

A field goal (3 points) is kicked just like an extra point. When do you kick a field goal? –During the course of play you and your opponent are pushing the football back and forth. In your zeal to score a touchdown, you might push the football too hard, causing it to fall off the end of the table—when this happens three times, your opponent attempts a field goal. (Person who caused football to fall off the table 3 times starts fresh at 0 times after field goal is kicked).

What! That’s not a touchdown!
how to play table football
If football is barely hanging off edge of table, in fact if it’s so close that it cannot be detected by the eye, then an instrument of science is needed to settle the matter. Simply hold a pencil straight against the edge of the table. Now slide it past the football. If football moves, it’s a touchdown.

Practice! Practice! Practice!

Help your child make a couple dozen footballs. This makes it easy to practice kicking skills, as well as the art of scoring a touchdown. In fact, next time you’re unloading groceries or making lunch, bring out the bowl of footballs and let your child occupy the time by perfecting the finer points of the game. You might even help your child invent a set of practice goal posts using popsicle sticks, pencils, straws–whatever you have around the house.

A great way to commemorate the game, and to further develop familiarity with numeric relationships, is to help your child keep a log of the scores in an ordinary school notebook. You might be surprised at how eager your child is to share the log with friends and family. Then, who knows? –You might end up with a few new players in the league. Best of luck!

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Tags: Kids’ Activities

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Catherine // Jun 17, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    I remember playing this as a kid, except we called it soccer (or football but the round ball kind).

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jun 17, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Hope the article brought back good memories for you. We used to play during indoor recess when it rained, or if it was too cold out. I kept my log of scores in the back of a dictionary.

  • 3 stephentan82 // Jun 21, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Nice article. Very useful to beginner table football learner. I will teach my nephew how to play.

  • 4 K. Vladu // Jun 21, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    I remember my sons playing this game. It entertained them for hours. Sometimes they even played this game at restaurants!
    Thanks for sharing!

  • 5 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jun 22, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Stephen– Glad the activity appealed to you. Hope it works out with your nephew.

    K. — Sounds like your kids were hooked on the game if they were playing in restaurants. It really is a time honored favorite among kids everywhere.

    All the Best–

  • 6 SW // Jan 11, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    By a long shot, one of the best articles l have come across on explaining table football. I look forward to reading more of your articles- THANKS!

  • 7 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jan 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    SW- Good to hear from you. Thanks for the thumbs up. -AV

  • 8 Cassidy // Feb 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    thanks that helped!

  • 9 Caleb and Cassidy // Feb 28, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Thank you! That helped!!!!!!

  • 10 Spaghetti Box Kids // Feb 28, 2012 at 4:51 am

    I’m glad to hear it. I was one of my favorite games when I was a kid–especially during indoor recess.

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