Kids and Baseball: Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

{Published in the April 2018 issue of the Deer Valley Times and the North Tatum Times}

Baseball season has arrived! Our family loves to go to baseball games. Not only does this activity let you get your kids out of the house, you can also see nature and science in action. Fresh air and birdwatching abound, not to mention baseball statistics, field geometry and the aerodynamics of img_4003baseballs in action! Ladybug’s favorite team is, of course, the Arizona Diamondbacks. She is a baseball kid and roots for the D-Backs like a pro. She is also learning more and more about America’s Greatest Pastime and the teams that play with each game we attend.

Baseball is a very kid-friendly sport. Most organizations go out of their way to make sure that the whole family can enjoy a game together. They provide many activities and special extras just for kids. Take the time to find out what is available at your local ballpark before you go.

To get the most fun out of taking your kid to a baseball game, be sure consider the following before you go:

Plan Ahead

  • Buy your tickets in advance: Various prices and levels of tickets are available if you buy your tickets at the ballpark, but it’s a better idea to buy your tickets in advance so you know exactly what you’re getting. You can go online to pick your seat locations, stay within your price range, and make sure all of your seats are located together. You can also see if there are any freebies or handouts that day. The fewer surprises, the more fun for your family.
  • Plan your parking strategy: There are usually many different parking options for a ballpark, but they vary in price and distance. It’s a good idea to know where you plan to park before you go, so you know how early you need to get there before the game and how much you need to spend on parking. You can also pick parking next to restaurants or other venues you may want to visit before or after the game. And be sure to consider how you are going to make your getaway, once the game is over (or if you need to leave early).
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    Wow! A Diamondbacks backpack giveaway! So cool.

    Get there early: The parking, walking, waiting in lines and maneuvering your family into their seats just plain takes time. There’s no way around it, so make it a point to get to the game early. We usually like to arrive at least 2 hours before the game, but take a look at the ballpark information before you go. The time they open the gates can vary from game to game.

    Be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen and a hat (especially if you are in Arizona), in the event you have to wait in line for the gates to open. Better yet, plan to grab some lunch or appetizers in a nearby restaurant to minimize line time, but take advantage of the early parking score! We like the Game Seven Grill next to Chase Field here in Phoenix, but be sure to check out your options before you go.

  • Plan your meals: Eating is one of the main activities we do at a baseball game. Chase Field has so many options, it can be hard to choose. It’s a good idea to think about your snacking or mealtime strategy before you go. Consider: How much do you want to spend? What kind of food do you want your kids to eat? What will they eat? Take a look at the ballpark’s offerings before you go to get a  good feel for you baseball feast, or plan to eat before you go.

Maximize Fun at the Ballpark

  • Take advantage of ballpark extras for kids! Baseball is very family-friendly and most ballparks have lots of extra activities and programs just for kids. The Arizona Diamondbacks have many fun things to do and see during a game. Be sure to take a look at their fan page if you need to get the young ‘uns out of their seats for a bit. The Sandlot is great for kids 6 and under
    BigHeadRace
    Who are those goofy, big-head guys anyway?

    (they have a height limit), but there is also a play area for toddlers and a batting cage for the aspiring players.

  • Take time to explain the game: One of the most important, and entertaining, aspects of going to a game with your kid is teaching them about the game itself. Explain scoring, hitting, running bases and teams. Older kids can get into stats and seasons. Ladybug always wants to know what is going on (and why we are at a baseball game in the first place), so realize that it’s important to take time to explain the game to your kids while you’re there.
  • IMG_4614Bring a dose of patience: Whenever you are having a fun adventure with your kids, be sure to bring your patience with you. Make time for bathroom breaks, sightseeing, snacks, activities and gift shop trips. Enjoy seeing your kids have fun and realize that they need breaks and rest to make this activity a memorable one.

Last but not least – have fun! Baseball is a game, and games are all about having fun. This should be a fun adventure with your kids – make is one of the lifetime memories for your whole family.

A Note About the Science of Baseball

IMG_7189One really cool aspect of baseball is how it can relate directly to science and mathematics. The Arizona Diamondbacks partnered with Chase and Insight in 2013 to develop and launch a program that promotes the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) for kids in the Arizona education system. The Arizona Diamondbacks Science of Baseball, presented by Chase and Insight each season, has reached over 6000 students in 100 schools. Just one more reason to love going to a baseball game in Phoenix.

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