Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Tuesday Talk: Tips for Enjoying Game Day with Kids

Kevin and I have gone to our share of football games over the years, but we'd never gone to campus with a toddler in tow.  This past weekend we loaded up our car, my in-laws and headed to Notre Dame for some tailgating.  I hadn't been on campus since I was pregnant with Olive so I was really excited to show her around.  We'd both consulted friends and gotten tips about where to park, activities on campus and details for bringing little ones.  They were all very helpful in ensuring that we had a wonderful day.

We learned a few things along the way that I thought I'd share with you today in case you ever find yourself wanting to tailgate with little ones.
It's VERY doable and enjoyable for everyone if you PLAN ahead.

1. Arrive early and give yourself plenty of time to do things on campus and enjoy pre-game.

2. Pack toys and things for your kiddo to play with while you're tailgating.  The frisbee, mini football, pom poms, team colored necklaces and books were a big hit for Olive.  She also loved playing in the grass.  We had music playing and lots of adults to help entertain her.  Everyone around us was really friendly so Olive enjoyed stopping by saying hello to our tailgating neighbors.

3. Try to park in a grassy area so you can set up a blanket for the little ones.  We brought folding chairs for the adults and Olive loved our ND blanket.

4. Bring lots of snacks, sippy cup and favorite foods for your little one.
We had pretzel sticks, gummies, carrots, cucumbers, chips and normal tailgating food.

5. Let your kiddo run around and get the wiggles out.  We traveled 3.5 hours to get to campus.  Olive did great in the car with her usual toys/books and was ready to run when we got to campus.  We parked on the golf course so there was lots of green space for her to explore.  She ran around and caught/kicked the football while my husband was grilling for us.  

6.  Prepare all the side dishes ahead of time so they just had to be pulled out of the cooler when it was time to eat.  This allowed me to focus on Olive and have fun with her instead of worrying about fixing lunch.  I cut up veggies, dip, got potato salad and all of the condiments ready to go.

7. We sat down together for lunch like a normal meal.  Kids like routines :)

8.  We headed to campus with a bag of different toys to play with.  We brought bread to feed the ducks, the mini football, fan gear, books, drinks and snacks.  We enjoyed the sites and sounds on campus, took some pictures together and dropped the adults off at the stadium at game time.  

9. We opted to not take a 2 year old into the game at nap time and I stayed out with her.  It worked out great.  I explored campus while she napped and then we did fun things together when she woke up.  We picked flowers, fed the ducks, got a campus tour from me, took lots of pictures, shopped at the bookstore, ate a snack, checked out the library and ran into a bloggy friend from Cedars and Tiny Flowers.  We had a really great time.  I walked 16,000 steps that day and slept great that night :)

10. We planned ahead and made sure the weather was going to cooperate.  It was a dreamy day in northern Indiana.  If the forecast called for rain, we weren't going to attempt bringing our little one so since it looked like the perfect day we figured it would be fun for everyone.  We also packed pjs for Olive so we could change her for the car ride home.  Made for an easy transfer to her bed when we pulled into our driveway around midnight.

11. Have realistic expectations and don't expect your kids to be perfect.  Olive loved the day and didn't throw a single fit or cry once which qualifies as a best day ever in toddler land :)

12. Start family traditions when your kids are young.  It was a lot of work to plan for a successful game day, but it was so much fun.  We had a blast and can't wait to go back.

Have you ever taken your kids tailgating before?
Any other tips for me because I'm sure we'll be making this a regular family activity?

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  1. Smart tips! We haven't done anything like this yet, but it definitely sounds like a little pre-planning goes a long way in lowering stress! So smart bringing bread for the ducks. What a cute idea :) My husband and I went to undergrad just up 31 in Michigan, so when we wanted to escape off campus, it was usually to South Bend and a walk on campus. It's just such a beautiful campus!!! So glad it was a fun, family day!

  2. I've never been tailgating, but then again football isn't my sport. :) Thanks so much for hosting! This is my first time linking up here.

  3. We have talked about taking Connor to an OSU game but this year we mastered potty training so I'm thinking we may work it into the agenda in 2016. The Mom in me can't help but worry about how potting would go at The Shoe.

  4. I love these tips. Olivia hasnt been tailgating in a year. She could barely walk then so she was easier to contain :) I think these will be helpful if we go tailgate at homecoming.

  5. We had season tickets to the Air Force Academy when I was younger. My parents were also not afraid to take us out to the concourse or out of the stadium if we couldn't hang anymore.


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