We just finished our first year of competitive soccer. What a whirlwind that has been. Practices twice a week and games on Saturday and/or Sunday. We also spent a lot of time on the basketball courts over the winter and are in the middle of baseball season. Whew! Before the spring though, we had always been able to keep Jacoby in a stroller or pack n’ play during games but now that he’s a big three year old, he does not want to be contained.
So in the past 6 months, I have learned some ways to keep a toddler entertained during time spent on the sidelines.
Snacks are a must for all events. No matter the time of day and no matter if we just ate a full meal before we left the house, I try to always keep a fruit snack in my purse for emergencies. I also try to make sure I bring a drink and some more healthy, easily transportable foods (i.e. fruit). This will keep them occupied for a small amount of time.
Toys and Books
I am forever forgetful, so this one always stumps me. I think it’s important for them to have something to do, but I also don’t like to forget something and then not have it any more. But the good outweighs the bad and so it’s always nice to just keep a small bag with a few things in the car to grab and go.
You never know what kind of terrain you will be on for outdoor sports. And sometimes the bleachers can be a little scary. So this gives you the opportunity to have a place to sit but not be on the grass or dirt.
Bathrooms are always iffy at the ball fields and we’ve had an accident or two because Jacoby didn’t want to use the “yucky bathroom” aka the porta-potty. Or he’s waited too long and we don’t make it across the field and down the parking lot. So always nice to have a backup! You also never know what the weather is going to be like. It’s strange, but it always seems like soccer fields are about 10 degrees cooler than our house. I’m sure it has something to do with the openness of the fields and no tree coverage.
Let them Run
Of course this isn’t always an option, but usually there is a little bit of space to let them run around. Thankfully I have a toddler who, when let loose, isn’t *usually* going to run away. So as long as he doesn’t get in the way of the other parents, I let him run around. Usually I give him “missions” such as running to a specific tree or seeing how fast he can run to the fence and back. It keeps him entertained but also lets him be active because he is dying to be on the field with his brother!
And when all else fails bust out the electronics. This has been our go-to lifesaver. I like to watch the games and so when Jacoby gets tired of running around and playing with his toys and eating his snacks I hand over the phone or Kindle and he plays games or watches Netflix. We both are happy because we can each do what we want!
These are just a few helpful tips that have helped me to keep the little one entertained while we spend a crazy amount of time away from home.