How to survive baseball season with small children

Thursday, June 1, 2017

We are in the thick of baseball season over here with our oldest son on a Machine Pitch team and our oldest daughter playing teeball.  My husband helps out with our son's team, out on field and volunteering as third base coach during our at bats.  And, he is the head coach for our daughter's teeball team and I'm the teeball dugout mom.  We spend a lot of time at the baseball field as a family.

We have been blessed and relieved to have our players games not overlap, which means we usually get to have our whole crew there cheering one another on during their games. That also has meant we've had to figure out a way to keep three of the four kids engaged during the hour/hour and a half of game time.  And since we have a strict no screen policy at games/practices - all of our tips and tricks come with no plugs attached :) 

Our baseball season strategy can be broken down into two lists:  things we bring with us and things we do.  And I'm throwing in a little bonus about lessons that can be taught during the long season (longest season ever?) 

Things to bring to the ball field:
1. snacks - We do frequent the concession stand at almost every game (see below), but having some quick food we brought from home keeps us from breaking our piggie banks at the concession stand.  Sometimes I do just pack up dinner for the two little ones though because they tend to be starving during that time of the day.  We bring microwave popped popcorn in a baggie, those squeeze fruit pouches, and fruit snacks.

2. quarters - we let the kids use quarters to buy their own small snacks (mostly candy) at the concession stand because if you let them loose with any bills of cash, it will be gone.  Any bigger food purchases require adult supervision (hah).

3. water bottles - because we would be flat broke if we also bought drinks every time we were at a game.

4. a blanket (to sit on) - we leave one in the trunk of the car, so it always ready to be brought.  Some fields don't naturally lend themselves to a blanket, but our home field does.  It's a perfect "home base" type set up that keep all our stuff in one location and easy to shake off at the end of the night.

5. a stroller & a baby carrier - I've found variety works for our littlest ones and if I have two sleeping kids when we get to the ballfield, I have enough space to transport them all.

6. jackets - baseball season weather is unpredictable, so I try to remember to bring jackets just in case.

Activities to do at the ball field:
1. cheer for the team:  so many great baseball cheers and chants.  And also a great way to learn players' names! All of our kids (even Rusty!) are great at cheering on the teams - especially their siblings :)

2. take a walk: Sometimes a change of scenery and a little movement can occupy a whole inning and a half in a pinch of a near meltdown!

3. schedule the evening by innings:  we say things like the kids can't visit the concession stand until after the third inning, or we'll go for a walk after we bat again.  This way the kids can practice patience but also know that there will be an end to the wait.  Plus, it keeps them engaged in the game when they are waiting on something particular to happen.

4. talk and play with friends:  We love meeting up and playing with our friends at the baseball field.  We are lucky that our teammates families are so generous and kind to us even when we get a little rowdy.  The kids loving talking to players' moms and dads and siblings.  (Safety rule:  the kids know that they are never, ever allowed to leave with anyone - even someone we know or a family member - without checking with us first).

Lessons to teach at the ball field:
1. self awareness:  I remind the kids multiple times during the game, "no one is here to watch/listen to you.  Everyone came to watch the game, so don't get in anyone's way of watching the players."  The kids are allowed to play and run and be silly, but only if they are clear from spectators' view of the field.

2. safety & sibling accountability:  We have very strict no parking lot and NO (never ever) bathroom by yourself rules.  We talk about these rules at home, on the way to games, and during games if they need reminders.  And we are big supporters of sibling accountability in a general sense - and especially at sporting events.  Being outnumbered means we all need to be working together and looking out for each other to keep everyone safe.  This is something we practice and talk about all the time too.

3. counting:  runs, outs, innings, players, many counting possibilities.

4. greater than/less than:  Scoreboard, concession stand money/purchases, etc

5. baseball rules & positions:  Since the kids know most of the players' names on their siblings' team, we like to play "who is at third base?" and "Why did he stop at first base?" etc.

6. value of money:  Gemma started to catch on pretty quickly after heading to the concession stand and ordering blindly without telling the workers how much money she actually had.  Luckily, my mom had been there to cover the deficit - but after that, she makes sure she lets me know how much money she has and tells the concession stand volunteers how much she has before she starts ordering.

What kinds of tips and tricks can you share for baseball season hacks with little kids?  (or any hacks for baseball season!) 
Here's hoping for a successful and fun baseball season for you too!  


  1. Love this! We had three in soccer this spring and it was craziness with overlapping practices and games. We're ready for the break :)

  2. Carly's diaper bag is full TO-THE-BRIM with toys and baby dolls and snacks to share with Wyatt & whatever other little ones are gathered around me during the game. If I bring all the goods, he and his friends are less likely to wander (which is important after losing him two games ago!!!)