Give paper football an upgrade from study hall distraction to Game Day superstar. The rules and regulations range from super simple to intricate (think touchbacks, safetys and more!) and with the addition of a playing field and goalposts, you can take this classic kid’s game to another level… club or VIP perhaps? Scroll down for the play-by-play action.

What You’ll Need

1 piece of 8 x 11.5 paper (colored is fun but plain notebook paper does the trick)

3 straws (we used milkshake straws, but any size will do)

Molding Clay


Markers (optional)

How to Make the Football

1. Cut the paper. Take the sheet of paper and fold in half. Cut along the crease to create two half sheets. (You’ll only need one of these strips for a football).

2. Fold the paper. First, fold the strip in half, length-wise. Then, starting at the bottom right corner, fold the paper up to create a triangle. Do the same on the other side, and then the other, until you’ve folded up most of the strip.3. Tuck in the corners. Instead of folding the last triangle, cut off the bottom left corner (about half an inch), and then tuck the remaining paper into the folds of the football. That’s it! If you want to get serious, now’s the time to use the marker to add stitching.

Make the Goalposts

This step is totally optional, but a lot of fun. If you’ve got modeling clay and straws, then you’ve got yourself a goalpost to replace the old school (but tried and true!) idea of using two thumbs and two index fingers.

1. Cut the straws and mold the clay. Cut one straw shorter than the other two, and then let the kids roll out four long strips of clay.

2. Mold the clay to the straws and table. Wrap each roll of clay around the bottom of the posts, or where the middle post meet the sides, and, using your fingers, secure the clay to the plastic.

How to Play

Flip a coin to see who is going to kick off first. The kicking team “kicks” the football down the field, and the returning team starts the game from that position (if you only have one set of goalposts, simply drive the ball in reverse!). Don’t forget to decide on a winning score.

1. Get down the field. Each team gets four chances (downs) to flick the football down the field. At any time during their set of downs, teams can choose between trying to score a touchdown (6 points) by getting the football to rest on the edge of the playing surface, or using a mighty flick to kick a field goal (3 points). Psst! Pushing the ball is not allowed and will result in a loss of turn.

2. Kick it right. For a kick (field goal, extra point) to count, most (but not all) of the football must be in between and above the goalposts.

Extra Points

For first-time gamers, keeping the game simple is best. But, for little football fans who want to kick the game up a notch, adding extras like 2-point conversions, safetys and touch backs can make play more exciting.

2-point Conversions: Kicking the football from mid-field instead of the end zone, and having it land in touchdown position (hanging over the edge of the playing space).

Safety: If, when flicked by little fingers on the kickoff, the ball lands in touchdown position, it is considered a safety and is worth two points!

Touch Back: When the football goes off the edge of the placing space, the ref must decide the best place to position the ball.

Did you play paper football as a kid? Share with us a comment below!

— Gabby Cullen

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