Tailgating with the Whole Family
By Jessica Wilson
There’s nothing like a weekend tailgate with friends and family to support your favorite baseball team. You may have been a tailgate pro before kids but including them in your tailgate is a great way to share your love of the game. Whether the kids are two or twelve, here are some things you can do to help them get into the spirit with you.
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Tailgate Time Check list
FOR MOM & DAD:
□ Team apparel and hats.
FOR THE KIDS:
□ Team apparel and hats
The first step is to get everyone dressed in the right gear. Now, everyone in the family may balk at dressing alike, but think what a great holiday card this will be later in the year. Dressing in team gear like mom and dad really makes the little fans feel like part of the team. Now onto the main event – the tailgate! Even though the last thing most kids want to do is sit still, make sure you have a few folding chairs so they can at least be benched while eating all the great tailgate food you’ve prepared. A shade tent will also do wonders to keep everyone cool while you wait for that opening pitch. It will also help keep that delicious food out of the sun. Even though the highlight of your menu may be the Francis Coppola Diamond Collection canned wine you’ve got chilling in your cooler, remember to pack some kid-friendly things for the kids, too. Set up two coolers, one for the grown ups (label it with masking tape to say “mom and dad”) and one for the kids. To make snacking easy, place some juice and small bottles of water in the kids cooler topped with team themed fruit cups. What is that, you might ask? Well, just get some recyclable plastic cups in your favorite team colors and fill them with easy grab-and-eat fruit like strawberries, blueberries and sliced grapes. A healthy, and spirited, kid-friendly snack.
Your kids may be excited to see who will be the winner at the end of nine innings, but you can crown your own with some family friendly competition. Beanbag games and hopscotch competitions (created with that sidewalk chalk you remembered to pack!) are easy tailgate entertainment. That home run hitter has got nothing on your four square game!
You can even bring some coloring pages to your tailgate, or poster board and markers to make some signs to support the team. You can also bring a ball and glove so you and your little one can practice catching that foul ball that might come your way. But, not everyone is great at catching, so make sure “first aid kit” is part of your tailgate supply list, just in case the ball is caught by anything other than that gloved hand. Ouch! Sunscreen is great to have on hand, too. If your team’s colors include red, the only thing you want to take home that is red might be that new hat you bought at the fan store. Not new sunburn.
So there you have it. A few tips on how to make your tailgate family friendly. Now that you know what to take with you to the ballgame, don’t forget to take it all home as well. Have the kids help you collect the recyclables, the trash and clean up your tailgate space so it’s ready for your family of fans the next time you root, root, root for the home team.