Just in time for summer vacation, guest post blogger, Barbara, from Modern Sports Mom, shares some great ideas for how to keep siblings occupied at whatever sport they are attending.
If you have more than one child, you know the need to drag another kid with you to games is a very real thing. Most would rather do literally anything else than sit for hours in the blazing hot sun, stuffy court, or ice cold rink! Whatever the sport, it's a part of life for sports families; one sibling has games, the others must follow along.
Over the years I've learned a thing or two about how to keep said sibs busy, entertained, and even productive during games. First with a toddler at my older son's games, and now we've come full circle, with a teenager at my younger son's games. Whatever age the youngster may be, the list I've compiled below can help keep the "are we done yet?", or "this is sooooo boring" comments, at bay.
Fill a Small Suitcase With Toys
Add blocks, books, and other knick-knacks that is reserved JUST for games. Since they are not everyday items, younger kids will consider them special and get excited about playing with them during games. Let them choose what to put in it so it’s extra fun.
Have Them Keep Score
Kids that are old enough to write may enjoy learning how to keep score. Buy a score book, and a pitch counter. Let bro or sis get involved by learning to keep their own score and watch the pitch count. Even a younger child can get in on the action with a portable hanging scoreboard, where they can easily flip the numbers to display the score for both sides. This is a great way to make them feel like they are a part of the game, and their contribution is valued.
Let Them Play
Be sure to have some sports balls as part of your sports parent arsenal; a football, soccer ball, basketball, tennis ball, or any other type will do. If there are other kids around, let them play catch, handball against a sturdy wall, or shoot hoops if there is a court nearby.
Pop Up Tent
One way to ensure that the complaining is held to a minimum is to set up a small pop-up tent for shade. This would serve as their own little spot to play with their toys, alone or with a buddy, while staying cool!
Tablet & Electronics
For crying out loud, this is not the time to enforce your 'no electronics' rule! Give them a tablet and make it speedy! With a zillion games, and even movies to choose from, you'll buy yourself some uninterrupted time to enjoy the game.
There are a so many great ways that chalk can entertain kids at games. Boys and girls alike will enjoy racing cars on a drawn on track that mom or dad made on the cement! Another option, if they are able, let them use the chalk to write supportive sidewalk messages for the team. Let's not forget 'hopscotch' and other fun activities!
If your kid is old enough to babysit, but not to stay home alone for hours on end, bring them along and have them offer up their services at the fields! Your fellow team parents will appreciate it and likely be willing to pay a little to have your teen watch their smaller children at the playground. It's a nice way for them to make the most of their sibling's games by earning some extra cash!
It Takes A Village
Identify the team families that have kids of similar ages and make a deal to allow the kids to take turns sharing toys. The most fun toy to play with is always the one that is new to you!
Another way to keep the whining down is to keep those tummies full! Do not forget to pack snacks. I repeat--DO NOT FORGET TO PACK SNACKS. LOTS OF SNACKS! Bring enough goodies to last for hours in a cooler, or snack bag. Non-perishables such as granola bars are great, as well as fruits that require minimal chilling.
Travel Art Kit
The creative kid would enjoy bringing along a travel art kit. Stuff it with plenty of paper, assorted paints, markers, etc., and brushes.
Do you have a collapsible wagon? This thing isn't just a life-saver for those of us that have to tote a million heavy items to each game (i.e., chairs, coolers, canopies, umbrellas,..you get the idea), but it can be super fun to ride in! If your kiddo can fit in it, a friend can pull him or her to and fro, within short distances of course, or if possible, both can sit in it and just play. I don't know why they love them so much, but they do!
Toys They Can Ride
A bike, scooter, skateboard, tricycles, or anything age-appropriate with wheels is a winner. Make sure they wear a helmet and necessary pads, are aware of their boundaries, and are respectful towards others and their things.
Planning ahead can save the day when it comes to keeping siblings occupied and even engaged during games. Do your kids get bored at their sibling's sporting events? What ideas have you tried to keep them entertained?
Barbara is the mom behind the blog, Modern Sports Mom. She began writing a craft and lifestyle blog in 2012. As life evolved, and her boys became more involved in sports, she aimed to create a site that would resonate with moms like her, and in 2017 Modern Sports Mom was born. A baseball and football mom, she is fueled by her strong faith, dedication to her family, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee! Barbara lives in beautiful Southern California with her husband, kids, dog, and cat.