Taking your son or daughter to his or her first major league baseball game is an experience every parent treasures. Not only will you get to make memories for your child, but you’ll also get to introduce them to America’s favorite pastime. Exposing them to the game at a young age may also inspire them to look up to the baseball players and help establish the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle.
So how do you navigate going to a baseball game with a toddler or young kids? We’ve come up with a few tips that will make your first outing a success.
PLAN YOUR SEATS STRATEGICALLY
Let’s face it, if your child is four years or under, he or she will probably have a hard time sitting still. Look into the kid-friendly seating at your local ballpark. Some stadiums have outfield and children’s park tickets that you can bring a blanket and enjoy the game with plenty of fun activities for your little ones. When they’re ready to sit down and take a short break, you’ll be able to watch an inning of baseball together. This is a fun start and great introduction to baseball games.
Once your child reaches the age of four, you can purchase standard seat tickets. Opt for an aisle seat or the first row of a section so there is extra room for your little one to move around. Since your child isn’t likely to stay seated for a long period of time, this will ensure you don’t have to keep climbing over other fans.
BRING THEIR GLOVE
If you you arrive to the park early, stop by batting practice for a chance to catch some foul balls, or head to the outfield to play catch. Your child will have fun wearing a glove, and they’ll be ready to catch anything that comes their way during the game – with a little help from mom or dad.
ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM!
Show your team spirit by gearing up. You and your child can dress in the team’s apparel and sport a baseball hat. Seeing everyone dressed alike and in the same colors is such a fun experience for a little kid.
Afternoon games can get sunny and night games can become quite chilly. Pack a bag with sunscreen, jackets or blankets depending on the weather forecast. A bottle of water is important for hydration, especially during those hot afternoon games. You’ll also want to bring backups for when your child starts to get restless – toys, coloring books or a few games can be entertaining..
GIVE A PLAY-BY-PLAY
Keep your child engaged by explaining what’s happening during the game. Let the child know who’s batting next and point out the fun videos on the jumbotron. From the numbers on the scoreboard to the the difference between a foul ball and a fly ball, there’s a lot to learn.
BUY ME SOME PEANUTS AND CRACKER JACKS
Ballpark food is part of the experience. But hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, roasted peanuts and ice cream, which might even come in a mini batting helmet that can double as a souvenir, should all be kept to a minimum. We want to teach and maintain good eating habits – even when we’re at the ballpark.
EXPLORE THE BALLPARK
After a few innings, take a stroll around the ballpark. Many of the newer stadiums are kid-friendly with lots of fun activities for children. Special events, photo ops, mascot greetings, a playground, and open spaces to play catch or run around will keep your child entertained.
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
Experiencing a baseball game in person is so much more fun than watching it on TV. Your child will never forget the new sights, smells and sounds at the ballpark. Take advantage of all the fun – sing the National Anthem, do the wave, participate in the seventh-inning stretch, sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game, dance for the jumbotron, and cheer when you team gets a run.
Taking your child to his or her first baseball game is a special parent-child bonding experience and possibly the start of a new family tradition. Who wins doesn’t matter. Those exciting moments with you by their side is what they’ll remember.