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If you have multiple children, then chances are, you are dragging the younger kids with you to every sporting event the older kids are participating in. And chances are, the little ones don’t want to go along because it’s “boring”.
My daughter recently started playing softball on a competitive league. The competitive leagues are much different than City Softball. Sometimes she has to play 3 games in a row on one day. On those days that I have to bring the younger kids with, I’ve learned to bring things that keep them not just occupied, but also active for part of the time.
Here is a list of things I bring with to make sure they are happy and not asking me “Is it over yet?” every 2 minutes.
1. A shade tent. They will get hot. And how fun is it for them to have a tent to hang out in? Not just an umbrella, that’s not as cool. The shade tent creates their own little room to play in and keep their things protected from the wind and sun. It’s like a little fort and the kids love that. This is the one I have and I love it. It pops up in seconds with one move. And it collapses really small and fits in a bag with a shoulder strap. It’s a life saver!
2. Electronics. I try to not let my kids spend too much time on an electronic device, but sometimes they just need to unwind and I need some quiet time so I can watch the game. They like to sit in their “fort” and play on the LeapFrog and Nintendo DS. Both of these are great options so you don’t have to let them take your phone and accidentally rack up $600 worth of purchases on a game. YES. That did happen to my Niece. She let her kids play a game on her phone and they racked up a bill of over $600. She had to call Apple and negotiate the charges down. That’s a hard thing to do. So we love our LeapFrog and Nintendo DS.
3. Quiet Toys. When they are sick of playing on the electronics, you’ll need some toys for them to play with. My kids favorite thing to bring with are Lego bricks. We bring a closed container full of them and they build things in their “fort”. All the other kids at the park come and play with them and they make new friends along the way. Everyone loves Lego.
4. Food and Water. This is self explanatory. Shoving something in their mouths makes them stop talking, right? You don’t want to spend money at the concession stands either. And when they see someone with some food, they will ask and you’ll be prepared with stuff you pull out of the cooler.
5. Something to ride. Bikes, scooters, skateboards or tricycles are perfect for a sports park. Just as long as they have clear boundaries set and an older sibling goes with them. And make sure they know they have to go slow so they don’t knock anyone over. Helmets are a MUST also.
6. Blankets and umbrellas. Make sure you check the weather forecast so you can be prepared for the right kind of weather. You’ll want blankets for cold days and umbrellas for rain or shine.
7. Have them keep score. If they are old enough, you can have them keep score by using tally marks on a paper. And if they are even older, they can keep a stats list too.
8. Have them learn as they watch. Talk to them about what is going on in the game. That way if they are interested in the sport too, they can learn by watching.
9. Bring a collapsible wagon. This thing has saved my back. All these things I’ve mentioned need to be carried in and out and you’ll want a wagon to help you with this. You’ll notice everyone has one too, and you’ll fit right in.
10. Sports Gear. There is usually a wide open field next to the game fields, perfect for playing catch or kicking a ball around.
There you have it. My 10 tips for keeping kids occupied at sporting events. I hope you find these useful because I think all moms need a little bit of sanity in their lives. And if keeping the kids quiet so you can concentrate on the child playing the game keeps you sane, then I’ve done my job.