March Madness: Bracket fun for the whole family, even kids and tweens

March Madness: Bracket fun for the whole family, even kids and tweens

March Madness is upon us, and that means it is time to start filling out those brackets. Bracketology is all the rage right now, and your kids and tweens can get in on the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament fun, too. Here are some of our favorite fun and even educational ways tweens and their parents can make the most of their March Madness brackets.

  • If you are filling out brackets in your family, also fill out a bracket using just a coin flip to determine winners (or have a younger sibling or pet do that for their bracket). Compare that bracket to brackets completed by family members, by experts or by the President. See how the results vary at the end of the tournament.
  • Talk about rankings, what goes into them, and why they may be wrong. Talk about #15 seed Lehigh defeating #1 seeded Duke last year. There's a great New York Times piece with lesson plan on this: "Who’s No. 1? Investigating the Mathematics of Rankings." This can spur some great discussion on why people think teams are good, what it means to be an underdog or a favorite, and the overall validity of rankings. Fill out a bracket based solely on rankings and compare it to the actual results.
  • Have your tween fill out a bracket based solely on location of schools. One year my child picked based on where she had relative located (Ohio, Michigan, Florida).  She won the family pool with that bracket.
  • To keep interest in the tournament high in your family pool (or to prevent an utter meltdown whncaa-bracket-2013en someone's pick to win it all gets knocked out early on), honor the winner of each round of the play. You don't have to give "stuff" if you'd rather not - being the top picker of the Elite 8 or Sweet 16 can earn someone get a privilege, perhaps selecting dinner the next night, a get out of a chore free card or getting to pick music in the car.
  • If you have little ones, or kids who aren't as interested, consider starting your bracket with just the Sweet 16.
  • For fun, also check out which uses different criteria, like starting median salary of graduates, student population or proximity to the equator. This can be a good chance to discuss very generally your tween's idea of what makes a good college.
  • Do a bracket that is not at all sports-related. Perhaps have you kids list 16 of his/her favorite books, and then put them in a bracket and have them fill it out using their favorite in each match up.

You may also like: NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament trivia  and  10 ways to make March Madness educational 

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