Kids Baseball Game Survival Guide
Spending a lazy day outside eating hot dogs, drinking beer, and root, root, rooting for the home team is one of America's favorite pastimes. But when you bring kids to a baseball game, between trying to flag down the pretzel vendor for the umpteenth time and fighting with your folding stroller, the event can seem more like a chore than a fun leisure activity.
Luckily, we created this kids baseball game survival guide, which features everything you need to combat short attention spans and prevent midgame meltdowns. The fan sitting next to you will thank you.
Even if you're used to traveling with kids, there are a few special things to bring to a baseball game to ensure your little ones enjoy the experience as much as you want them to. What's more, a little extra planning before you even enter the ballpark could make your day that much easier.
1. Does your kid need a ticket?
Do babies need tickets to baseball games? No—just like at most ticketed events, kids under 2 years old do not require a ticket. Keep in mind, however, that this means your kid will be seated on your lap the entire time. If you're planning on attending a reasonably priced game, it might be worth it to spring for an extra seat anyway, especially if you're traveling with a lot of stuff. It will give you and your kids room to spread out, and give the people sitting next to you some extra space.
2. Snag aisle seats if you can
This is especially helpful if you have a kid who has trouble sitting still, or one that's in the middle of potty training. Being on the aisle means you can get up as much as you want without disturbing other baseball fans, which means less stress for everybody involved.
3. Are you bringing a stroller?
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, however, might allow you to bring a lightweight folding stroller to the stands, so long as it can fit under your seat. It's worth it to check out your ballpark's website in advance to see what the policy is so you can figure out a plan that best works for you.
4. Bring a booster seat
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 help elevate them in their seat, and consider bringing 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 ball park.
Things to Do at a Baseball Game
Okay. You've found your seats. You've settled in. And you've distracted your kids with hot dogs and cotton candy as long as you can. So what do you do if they're still not enthralled by the action on the field? We suggest trying one of these fun kids baseball game activities:
1. Place bets on your favorite players.
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.
2. Try to get on the ballpark's Jumbotron or the TV broadcast.
This may just be one of our 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.
3. Hunt for the mascot.
With their bright colors and goofy antics, mascots seem like they were created specifically to entertain small children during sporting events. 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.
4. Play I Spy.
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 to learn. Since you'll be surrounded by super fans decked out in all sorts of zany team gear, kids should be able to have a fun time with this one.
5. Teach kids how to keep score.
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. MLB.com has a relatively simple method of scorekeeping if you don't have your own system already.
6. Ride the Carnival Rides
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 San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park. At Nationals Park, you can find the Exxon Strike Zone, Playstation Pavilion, kids' play area, and Geico Racing Presidents. At AT&T Park, look for the Coca-Cola slide, batting cages, and Playstation 3 kiosks.
7. Hang out at a minor league game instead.
Going to an MLB game can get expensive. According to a 2015 CNBC article, on average, it costs a family of four about $200 to attend a game.
Instead of dropping that kind of cash on an experience your kids might not fully appreciate yet, try taking them to a minor league game first. Minor league games not only are cheaper, but they're also big on crowd entertainment. Typical games include everything from fireworks to kids' races. You might even get the chance to see a future major leaguer before they hit the big time.
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