Simplify Game Day Prep

Simplify Game Day Prep

Make game day more enjoyable for the whole family with these six thoughtful ideas.

By: Marina Delio

Autumn is a season filled with excitement. The air is crisp, the kids have gone back to school and the trees have begun to turn from green to gold.

Without a doubt, one of the most exciting aspects of autumn is game season. But between busy, activity-filled school days, homework and after-school sports, getting the family to the field can feel a bit overwhelming. However, with a little planning, game days can be simple and stress-free. Here’s what you need to know to successfully get your brood to a fun-filled sporting event.

1. Bring a Sports Bag
If this particular game day involves your child as a player, always have a sports bag on hand to grab and go. You’ll want to pack it with a uniform and shoes, a water bottle, a snack, a small first-aid kit and sunscreen.

2. Keep Comfortable
While watching your favorite players at a big stadium is fun, sitting on the ground or in hard chairs is usually not. Bring a picnic blanket, folding table and chairs, or cushioned stadium seats. Keep sunscreen, hats, water bottles and sunglasses in a picnic basket or tote bag to keep your family protected and hydrated while sitting in the sun.

But don’t forget the chill factor when the sun goes down! Pack scarves, blankets and jackets for chilly late afternoon or evening games.

3. Pack Snack Essentials
Pack a picnic basket with healthy goodies such as sliced apples and oranges, popcorn, granola bars, trail mix, veggie sticks or hummus and pita chips. Don’t forget the beverages and cups. On cold afternoons, pack a insulated travel cup with hot herbal tea, apple cider or hot cocoa. Napkins, wipes and a bag for garbage will make cleanup a breeze.


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If one of your children is playing in the game, she will need to refuel before and after the game, so be sure to have a quick snack and drink readily available.

4. Take Along Activities
Younger siblings are not always thrilled about attending game after game. Keep the little ones occupied by bringing books, coloring activities, portable games or a ball to kick around if there’s an empty field nearby.

5. Gear Up the Cheering Squad
Support your favorite team in style! Making team shirts is a fun activity for kids and will help them feel involved if they are going to a sibling’s game. Buy some fabric markers and paint from the craft store, and decorate plain T-shirts with team names, colors, sayings — whatever you’d like!

Handmade signs will also make your player feel special, so pick up some poster paper and markers and make some encouraging posters. Bring your camera and snap some photos of your player alone, with the team and during the game.

6. Dinner? It’s All in the Prep
When you’re getting home late after a game and need to feed hungry kids quickly, planning ahead will really pay off — all you’ll need to do is heat and serve.

Good pre-prepped ideas include hearty slow-cooker recipes like chili or soup, baked pastas, quiche, frozen meals or enchiladas that can be assembled in advance. By preparing dinner early, you can even invite your friends over and celebrate — stress-free — after the game.

Marina is a mom of two and author of the Yummy Mummy Kitchen blog and cookbook. Marina loves cooking, healthy living, crafts and gardening. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA with her husband, little girls, cat and five chickens.

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