Whether you spend most of the season outside in the heat or inside a (hopefully air conditioned) gym, if you're going to your Coach's games with little ones in tow, you are sure to break a sweat. As my husband's football season is about to begin, I want to share with you what we bring to the games to keep the kids content and, more importantly, keep me from totally losing my dang mind. It should be noted, I try my best not to over-pack, for two reasons. One, I hate hauling around more crap than I have to. It's gonna be more than enough keeping four kids five and under from falling on the bleachers, I don't want to have to worry about a suitcase full of trinkets, too. And two, I'm the kind of mom that lets her kids get a little bored. If they have no chance at feeling restless, they'll have no opportunity to find something they love about watching football (my daughter loves watching the cheerleaders, and my son...well, he loves watching his daddy yell!). This is going to be a big part of their life for the unseeable future, I want them to love it as much as we do.
But for real, what's in the bag!? I'll start with the bag itself...we've tried different bags over the years. Even though I have little ones still in diapers, I hate the diaper bag as I find that's usually just full of crumbs and the same old stuff. My kids love their little Skip Hop Backpacks, and now that they're a little older, I'm ok with them picking out a few toys to throw in their own bag. However, I make it overwhelmingly clear to them that I am not responsible for their bag. They need to keep track of it! (What a mean mom!)
My bag of choice is a lightweight backpack. (Here's a link to my favorite: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KX0B5ME/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) I love that it's crazy lightweight, water resistant, sports cup holders on the sides for water bottles or sippy cups, and can carry enough to entertain a few kids for a few hours.
Then, weather depending, here is my list of what actually goes in the bag:
- three diapers per diaper wearing kid
- wipes, even for the ones out of diapers, because they're so handy!
- jacket, if it's supposed to get chilly, or coats, gloves, hats if it's super cold
- blanket/nursing cover for the baby (as soon as he gets here!!)
- two or three toys I let each kid pick out to bring (usually cars or Little People toys!)
- two or three surprise toys that stay in the bag all season (thank you dollar spot at Target!) Ideas: glow sticks, bubbles, little coloring books & crayons...)
- for crazy hot days, I bring a cooling towel and misting fan. They keep the kids cool AND entertained at the same time!
A few members of our Facebook VIP Group contributed some great ideas as well!
- "No electronics, just a blanket and toys! And a pad of paper and crayons to capture what's going on around us!" -Courtney W.
- "A big, fun snack bag, with little bags of goldfish, pretzels, apples, and oranges. Oh, and people! Anyone who wants to help with the kiddos!" -Emily N.
- "Snacks, nerf balls to throw, and juice! But now they are older, so I just bring my wallet." :) -Cari K. (We agree, when all else fails, concessions stand cash is the way to go!)
- "Cowbells, cowbells, and more cowbells!" -Jessica B.
- "Bug spray, stickers, and washable markers!" -Trisha P.
- "Magnatiles, baseball gloves, and a backpack cooler!" -Abby G.
Looks like we have a group of rather creative, resourceful Mamas! I hope this list was helpful as many of you are heading into football and soccer season soon, some even for the first time with little ones! Just remember that some nights will go great, and others, well, you may have kids experiencing meltdowns and running in a million different directions while everybody is watching. None of this is a reflection of how good of a mom you are; these little people are just that: little. They will learn with time and consistency that the best way to have a great time at a game is to listen to their mom! So keep your head up, girl, and keep at it! Remember why you came in the first place, and trust that soon enough, your kids will be old enough to stay home alone...(ahem) I mean, your kids will understand why they're there and love it too!
Cheer loud and cheer full, Mamas!
-Kayla Fox, The Fly Fox Apparel