With Little League and a travel tournament team as well as a father-in-law who coaches high school softball, we spend a lot of time in the dirt. I have learned over the years how to keep little ones entertained while trying to maintain some focus on why we are there.
Here are 6 tips to keep your sanity while at the ball fields:
Keeping the younger sibling busy is hard when you want to keep your focus on the older child playing. One of our favorite “night before the game” activities is to have Amelia fill her backpack with toys to take to the ball field.
Right now she loves playing with little figurines and she packs that backpack to the top. The downside is the possibility of losing some of those toys so we try to inventory the toys or keep them limited to a small area.
I also pack a handful of blankets to play on because sitting on the ground isn’t always fun. We bring a giant wipes container filled with crayons and a handful of coloring books for another quiet activity.
Sometimes toys just don’t cut it after being at a softball complex for 5 hours. We do bring an ipad for games and movies. (Our ipad is not connected to our data plan so she is limited to only downloaded content). It isn’t ideal, but sometimes it’s what keeps her in place.
We picked up a couple of portable chargers from the Target Dollar Section. This helps make sure none of our electronics go without charging (until the portable chargers are empty that is).
The biggest hurdle we have in being at one place all day is food. While I would love to load up on concession food all day, it’s not the healthiest. Especially for the one who has to play softball all day. We typically pack a cooler filled with healthy snacks (fruit, granola bars, crackers, yogurt) to try to stay away from the junk food. However, we do make sure we hit up the concession stand at least once or twice while we are at the complex. Let’s be honest – some of the concessions stands in the Des Moines area are amazing and it’s not just the kids who want a treat!
NOTE: Always double check to make sure coolers are allowed prior to bringing them to a park. Some locations frown on bringing in your own food.
4. Potty Chair
A few weeks ago we were at a field that only had Port-a-Potties. Thinking ahead to how my youngest daughter feels about port-a-potties, I grabbed the training potty we hadn’t used in a year. Thankfully I did. After one look at her bathroom options she said “nope” and walked away. The potty chair was used by her and another child who was potty training.
Of course, for this tip to be effective you need to know where you play in advance and know the bathroom situation. It’s worth doing some investigation to know what your bathroom situation will be!
5. Pop-Up Wagon
Remember the previous tips?? I bet you are thinking “wow….how do you cart all that stuff around?! Are you crazy or just super strong?!”.
One of the best investments we ever made was purchasing a pop-up wagon. Yes, I literally cart all this stuff around. It works out great and doubles as a place for Amelia to lie down if she gets tired (remember those blankets for the toys!!).
Lots and lots of patience. It’s not always fun being stuck somewhere all day. And even with a wagon load of activities and snacks, it can still get boring. And dirty. There is a lot of dirt, sand, and rocks. Everything we take with us comes home with an extra layer of dust. Patience is the key to being able to watch my oldest play while keeping the youngest entertained.