Spending a day outside eating hot dogs and root, root, rooting for the home team is one of America's favorite pastimes. But tailoring baseball games for kids (between flagging down the pretzel vendor and fighting with your folding stroller) can seem like a challenge.
Luckily, we created this "kids baseball games" survival guide, which helps combat short attention spans and prevent mid-game meltdowns. The fan sitting next to you will thank you.
One of the most important things to know is what to bring to baseball games for kids. A little extra planning before you even enter the ballpark could make your day that much easier.
If your kid is under 2 years old, they probably don’t need a ticket. But keep in mind this means your toddler will have to sit on your lap, so it might be worth it to buy an extra seat anyway.
You might also want to snag aisle seats if you can, especially if you have a kid who has trouble sitting still or is potty training. Being on the aisle means you can get up as much as you want without disturbing other baseball fans.
Good news, parents! Most major league ballparks do allow baby strollers.
The bad news: Many require you to leave them at a stroller parking area. Some might allow you to bring a lightweight folding stroller to the stands, so long as it can fit under your seat. Check out your ballpark's website in advance to see what the policy is so you can figure out a plan that's best for you.
Kids have a short attention span as it is, but if they can't see the action on the field, there's no way they're going to watch for long.
Bring a booster or a cushion to elevate them in their seat, and consider a pair of binoculars too—at the very least, you can distract them by getting them to spy on passing planes or explore sights on the other side of the ballpark.
Okay. You've found your seats. You've settled in. So what do you do if they're still not enthralled by the action on the field? We suggest one of these fun kids baseball game activities for kids:
Have each kid pick two players from the home team, someone they think will score the first base hit for the team and someone they think will score the first home run. Once a player has been selected, no one else can pick them.
The kid whose player gets the first hit gets a concession-stand treat, as does the kid whose player gets a home run. Using snacks as a motivator is a surefire way to keep kids engaged for a while.
How about a hot dog? Or some popcorn? Or some cotton candy? A trip to the concession stand is a good way to spend an inning, especially if you sense your kids getting a little cranky or restless.
While you’ll find classic baseball standards at every ballpark, one of the real treats of baseball fandom is discovering the unique culinary creations at each stadium. These dishes can be entertainment unto themselves, from the deep-fried brisket balls called “Texas Snowballs” at Globe Life Park in Arlington, to Apple Pie Nachos at Coors Field in Denver.
This may just be one of their favorite things to do at a baseball game anyway! Deck the kids out in face paint and team apparel, and have them dance to the music when the fan cam swivels around the stadium. Kids generally think it's pretty cool to see themselves on the Jumbotron.
With their bright colors and goofy antics, mascots seem like they were created to entertain small children. The MLB has some of the most-famous mascots in existence, including Mascot Hall of Fame inductee the Phillie Phanatic. When kids start to get antsy, have them search for the team's mascot in the crowd.
The classic car game can be repurposed for the ballpark, and it's especially good for entertaining preschoolers because it's such an easy game. Since you'll be surrounded by super fans decked out in all sorts of zany team gear, kids will have fun with this one.
This is a great way for slightly older kids (probably at least 6) to gain a greater understanding of the sport, which will help them enjoy it throughout their lives. Plus it sneaks in a little learning, as kids have to count and use deductive reasoning skills.
Ok, this might be something you can only do at the Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park, which boasts a Ferris wheel and a carousel. But many ballparks are starting to cater to families by creating areas specifically devoted to kids.
Other notable parks include the Washington Nationals' Nationals Park and the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park. At Nationals Park, you can find a kids' play area, and the Racing Presidents. At AT&T Park, look for the Coca-Cola slide and batting cages.
Does your kid have a favorite player? If they do, consider making his day by buying that player’s jersey at the stadium’s pro shop. Other kids might be content to just have a cool new baseball hat. And if you didn’t manage to catch a foul ball? No worries—pick up a ball at the shop and promise to play catch.
You could also do this ahead of time by shopping the deals on MLB gear, memorabilia, and more at our Fan Shop.
Going to an MLB game can get expensive. Last year, on average, it costs a family of four about $200 to attend a game.
If you want to save some cash, take them to a minor-league game first. Minor-league games not only are cheaper, they're also big on crowd entertainment. Typical games include everything from fireworks to kids' races.
Hey remember to...you know, buy tickets. We recommend buying before you go to the park. You might find what you need by clicking on your favorite team below: