1. Sunscreen – Everyone’s skin will burn when exposed to the sun for extended periods of time, so be sure to slather it on before leaving home. Banana Boat is a great option for kids and adults.
2. Hats – Hats are another shield from the sun. They’ll help protect your skin and shade your eyes from the sun. (I love to rock out my sunglasses, but during long periods in the sun I get sunglasses tan a.k.a. “raccoon eyes”. Not cute! Does this happen to anyone else?) Extra shelter from the sun is especially important for babies whose skin is still wildly sensitive. Urban Outfitters has a large selection of fly summer hats for Mama; while Target has the cutest selection of baby boy and girl hats.
3. Chairs – Lots of sports fields have just a couple of bleachers, so there isn’t room for all the spectators; not to mention, bleachers can be hot to the touch and they get uncomfortable after a long period of sitting. The easiest way to be comfortable is to bring your own portable sports chairs. Dick’s Sporting Goods has fairly inexpensive versions and you can find them in toddler, big kid and adult sizes. You can even get really fancy ones with umbrellas built in; which leads me to the next item on the list: an umbrella.
4. Umbrella – Plant an umbrella in the ground for shade when there isn’t any on the field. Shade also moves with the sun throughout the day, so it’s great to have a little of your own to avoid having to move with it. This Pop Up Leaf is a fun version.
5. Blankets – It’s tough for babies and smaller kids to stay confined to a chair for the entire length of the game; spread blankets out on the ground where they can have a little more freedom of movement and the ability to read books or play with small toys.
6. Water – It’s so important to stay hydrated when it is hot out. It’s best for your player to drink lots of water while playing; sports drinks are great for replenishing nutrients after the game, but drinking it during can cause cramping. So bring lots of water for your little athlete and for the rest of your family as well.
7. Cooler with ice – Bringing a cooler helps to keep your water and other drinks cold. It doesn’t have to be the big monstrous version you use for your backyard barbecues, as that can be overwhelming to lug around. You could use something as small as a lunch cooler and substitute ice packs--as long as there is enough room for water for your whole family.
8. Snacks – Your kids are going to get hungry. Of course you’ve fed them before you left home, but by the time you’ve packed the car and driven to the field they’re ready for a snack. Bring lots of small items like fruit, granola bars and squeezable yogurts that they can grab easily. Be careful of salty snacks as they can increase dehydration. It might also be a fun idea to bring popsicles to help cool them off.
9. Cash – No matter how many snacks you bring, it’s inevitable that your observant little love bugs will see something they like better at the concession stand. Bring a few dollars in cash to avoid the “Can I haves” that are sure to be incited when they see other people purchasing on-site. Additionally, it’s often run by parents or boosters and it’s always great to support your team.
Have I forgotten anything? What else is on your summer sporting checklist?