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Go Long, Puppy!

Posted by Elisa Taub
Go Long, Puppy!


Air Bud: Golden Receiver + A High School Football Game

Explaining the rules of football to kids is not a task for the uninitiated, but screening Air Bud: Golden Receiver (1998, G, 90 minutes) is a perfect introduction to the game. Josh, an adorable high school football player, suits up with his athletic golden retriever and both become stars on Josh's team. Josh has a killer arm, but Buddy can catch just about anything and does a great touchdown dance to boot.

Our kids adore this film, as well as all of the others in this series that stars Bud in different sports (he is equally adroit at basketball, soccer and volleyball!) What's the secret mix that puts this franchise at the top of kids' must-see lists? A seamless blend of both real and fantasy elements: Josh is upset that his mom has started dating so soon after his father's death, and yet the idea that his dog has super-canine abilities is played as normal. Trust us. If you're over three and love a good tail wager, you'll smile at this family favorite.

All those touchdown passes put us in the mood for some live action, so we trundled the kids off to a local high school football game. It was just what we were looking for: no huge crowds, pricey tickets or bad seats. The kids were close enough to the sidelines to hear the coach's directives and to wince at the sound of the pads crunch on the field. High school fans are a spirited bunch, painting their faces in school colors and screaming along with the cheerleaders. Our kids joined the fray cheering for the home team, and made friends with the parents of some of the players sitting nearby. In just a few hours, our kids knew the name of the quarterback, could talk about a first down and began to fall in love with America's favorite pastime. Go, team!


Want to foster conversation after the film?
Ask your kids if they think a dog can be trained to do most of the stunts in the film, or if they think there were special effects used in the Air Bud films.

Want tips for a High School Football game?
Remember to plan for weather, bringing sweatshirts and blankets or sunscreen and hats, depending on your local weather!

Follow the high school team of friends who have teenaged siblings. Know someone on the team? Even better.

Find out what teams are the biggest rivals of your local high school by checking the website or asking a friend. These are the most exciting games and the rowdy fans will have your kids on their feet!!!

Want a great idea for a birthday party?
Our kids have loved flag football parties since they have been small. We order flags (online at or pick them up at a local sporting goods store. Grab some cones to mark yardages on the sidelines and we promise that every dad will hang around to help you run the game.

Want some more great football flicks?
For Elementary and Middle Schoolers:
Heaven Can Wait (1978, PG, 110 minutes) Warren Beatty stars in this now-classic film as a football player who is given a second chance in life;

Remember the Titans (2000, PG, 114 minutes) Denzel Washington stars as the new coach for an all-white football team in 1970s Virginia.

Rudy (1993, PG, 114 minutes) Based upon a true story of a boy whose passion for football, which is greater than his athletic skill, keeps him trying to play for Notre Dame.

To rent these and other great films go to . Try Netflix for FREE.

Want some great books about football for young kids?
Pre-School:Game Day by Tiki Barber. (Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005). True-life tales about twin football players, Tiki and Ronde Barber, who made it to the NFL. Emphasizes teamwork as essential to the game.

Elementary School:My Football Book by Gail Gibbons (HarperCollins, 2000). The basics of the game, laid out in simple terms.

Middle School:Running Loose by Chris Crutcher (HarperTeen 2003). A story about a boy that gets cut from his high school team for standing up to his coach.

Adult:Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H.G. Bissinger. Bissinger spent a year in Odessa, Texas chronicling that town's obsession with football. His accurate, and disturbing portrayal, spawned the movie and a television series. was founded by two moms who are passionate about film and media literacy. They decided to combat the creep of screen time in their kids' lives by getting on the couch and watching great films together with their families. To sign up for your FREE weekly email, CLICK HERE.