Basic Football Rules For Kids

football line stance

Football is a fun sport for all seasons and a popular American pastime. You can play full-contact football with tackling and blocking or play two-hand touch rules with flags at your waist. The rules of the game change slightly for the different variations, but the goal remains the same -- try to score points when your team is on offense, and try to stop you opponent from scoring when you are on defense. The team with the most points wins.

What's the Point?

In flag football, the field is divided into four or five, 20-yard zones. In full-contact football, the zone lines are kept in 10-yard increments. The offense has four attempts to pass the "first-down" line, which is 10 yards, or it must turn over the ball to the other team on downs or by punting. Kicking the ball through the goalposts gives your team three points, which is called a field goal. A six-point touchdown is awarded to the team that can cross the end zone at the opposite end of the field. A point after touchdown is added by a kicker by kicking the ball through the goalposts, or your team can choose to run a play for two points after a touchdown.

Play By the Rules

Defensive players can use tackling to bring an opponent down to the ground. You can't use your fists or tackle a player once the referee calls an end to the play. Offensive players can block defenders, but they can't hold or hit a player below the knees. In flag football, you are not allowed to tackle another player at all. Once a player's flag is removed, they are considered down and the play is over.

Equipment Considerations

For full-contact football, safety equipment is required. Football players must wear a helmet with face mask, as well as pads over the shoulders, chest and midsection, hips, thighs and knees. In flag football, there is less contact on the field, so helmets and shoulder pads are not permitted. Instead, each player wears two brightly colored flags.