Your experience at the baseball game will undoubtedly be different with kids than without them. Expect to miss some plays and not be able to tune into the game as much as usual. But it can be an awesome family time that you all enjoy. Here are a few ideas to make your time at the ball park fun and memorable for all of you.
- Teach your kids patriotism. Stand, put your hand on your heart, look at the flag, and sing the National Anthem every game. And don't forget to stand, stretch, and sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" or God Bless America" during the seventh inning stretch.
- Let your kids take along a toy or two. Our youngest used to take her Fisher Price farm and play with it when she got bored.
- Don't worry about dirt. Kids are washable, so if they want to sit on the ground in front of their seat and use it as a table to eat or play, let them. That's where our daughter used to play with her farm and it worked great. Just make sure whatever you put on the seat is heavy enough to hold the seat down so your're not catapulting hot dogs to the row behind you--which, by the way, the kids would want to do over and over.
- Listen for the organ music and clap along with the crowd. This keeps the kids involved and active. Whatever fun things are done at the park, participate. Clap, stomp, howl, wave, or do whatever the music calls for. We used to sometimes clap each other's hands in high-five fashion just to switch it up a bit. And don't forget to watch the jumbotron (or whatever your park calls their huge scoreboard) for signals on what's happening. Chase Field in Phoenix where the Arizona Diamondbacks play has a muscle cam where people show off their muscles, a kiss cam when the couple the camera lands on has to kiss, a mustard, ketchup, and relish race where you cheer for your favorite condiment, and lots of other fun stuff.
- If your child is getting restless and there's a kid zone or playground in your ball park, visit it. This will give the kids something to look forward to if they're not into the game. And leave the game early if you need to. As your children get older, they'll be able to last longer periods of time if you make this a fun excursion now, rather than a marathon.
- Teach the kids how the game is played and where to look for the score.
- Let kids make signs to hold up during the game.
- Get treats. It's part of the fun of the ball park. Whether it's a hot dog, ice cream, or cotton candy, make it a special outing and splurge a little.
- Encourage your kids to yell and cheer. This is really fun for them because they're usually told to quiet down. Now's the time for that outside voice!
- Relax. Don't take the game too seriously. Your kids don't need to see you angry at umpires or cussing out players who mess up. Set an example of good sportsmanship.
How about you? Have you taken your kids to sporting events? How did it go? What did you do to make it successful? Any mistakes you hope not to repeat? Let's talk sports!