How to Take Your Kids to a Baseball Game

Lessons learned as parent at the ballpark

One of the true privileges of parentingor grandparenting, or uncle/aunting, or mentoringis the ability to share something you love.

To take something that has brought you joy, or fulfillment, or excitementthings baseball does for us in a low-stakes kind of wayand open the door for someone else to experience that, what a gift!

So, we’re often eager to share the experience of taking our kids to baseball games with them. That eagerness though can lead to a lot of pressure. How can I make this memorable for them? What will give them the best possible experience?

Forget that.

I remember my first major league game. It was at Wrigley Field, and I went with my brother, dad, uncle, and grandfather. I fell asleep in the car on the way there because we had to get up early to make the three-plus hour drive. I can picture our seats in the sun along the third base side, and all the green. I wanted to cheer for Shawon Dunston, because his name was kind of like mine.

Do you know what I remember about the actual game? There was a bee in my soda cup, and when I went to take a drink it stung me in the lip! It swelled up and crying, my dad took me to the first aid station. We missed a home run by Andre Dawson, my other favorite player, and my soda was now flat and warm.

The point being, I don’t think that’s how my dad would have scripted my first game if he could. Frankly, it’s not an experience I’d be eager to re-live now. So we can all relax. Your experience taking your kids to a game won’t be worse than my first game (probably).

We shouldn’t feel pressured to make the perfect experience for our kidsbeing there, with them, is enough!

In addition to avoiding bees, here are a few things I’ve found helpful or that I wish I had known earlier as a parent about taking my kids to games. My qualifications are that my seven-year-old never wanted to leave a game early for any reason. Pretty good!


Don’t worry about the game.


This one may seem counterintuitive. We want to share baseball because we love the game, but early on especially the focus should be on just enjoying being there at the ballpark. Look at it like an investment for when their attention spans allow them to gain curiosity and enjoyment out of the game at their own pace.

I personally have bemoaned the “amenities” ballparks are constantly adding that detract from the game, right here on this site! When my kids were younger though, I appreciated ballparks that had kids’ play areas, as most of them now do. Check the team’s website ahead of time to find out what options there are and where they are if it’s your first time at the park, or your first time taking a kid.

Sure, I missed a lot of the game on trips out to the play area, but the kids loved it and it made them want to come back time and time again to the ballpark. Think of it as less baseball per inning, and instead more innings total that you’ll get to see over the season!

The one exception I’d add to this is to avoid bringing your own entertainment to the ballparktablets or even books or toys. Making the ballpark a special experience they can only get at the park makes it more fun for both of you, in the long run.


Save money.


It’s stressful to spend a lot of money on tickets, parking, concessions, souvenirs, and anything else that pops up during a trip out to the ballpark. It’s a lot less pressure knowing you can abandon things at any time. If the kid isn’t having a good time or is bored, it’s a lot easier to walk away from $6 tickets and some packed snacks than it is $75 tickets and $30 in concessions for just an inning.

Typically, I’ll pack several small items like goldfish crackers but also include some healthy choices like carrot sticks or sliced cucumber. You’d be surprised what kids will choose over the course of three hours! Getting kids to watch a baseball game and eat vegetables is like knocking out the opposing team’s best starter early in the first game of a playoff series.

Likewise, there’s no need to shell out for a major league game, or the Royals. There are tons of minor and independent leagues, often with much less expensive tickets, up-close action, and family-friendly entertainment options.

Many teams at all levels also sell kids’ ticket packages for some mostly nominal cost, where you get a certain number of kids’ ticket vouchers as long as an adult ticket is purchased. These typically pay for themselves after just two games, and I’ve found it to be worth it.


Think like a kid.


Related to the item above, try to plan as much in advance as you can from a kid’s perspective. If it’s a mid-day July game, chances are it’ll be hot. Here I’ll typically turn to Reddit or Google to find out the best places for a shade if it’s a stadium I’m not as familiar with.

Keep in mind that “good seats” aren’t the same for you as an adult as they are for a five-year-old. When my daughter was getting old enough to sit through (mostly) whole games, I took her to her first “good seats” game, where I spent a little more so she could see the game and players up close. We took our seats along the first few rows of the first baseline, and she said “Dad, I can’t see.”

We ended up moving up to the cheap seats that are less crowded, higher up, and have a fuller, unobstructed view of the entire field. Lesson learned.

When kids are younger, they may appreciate that view more, or one that’s closer to where the mascots hang out. Older kids may prefer being “close up” to see the players on deck if you can score decent seats, or in position to catch a ball. My daughter now loves the right field bleachers, because players will throw the ball up into the stands after they’re done warming up (and on weeknight April or September games, you’re almost sure to get one if it’s not crowded).


Set benchmarks for special treats.


This flies in the face of the advice earlier about saving money, but we’ve had success setting some limits on what we’ll buy at the game and when. Giving kids something to look forward to like “ice cream in the sixth inning” or “we’ll pick out baseball cards from the team shop in the fourth” is a good way to teach them about the flows of the game and what makes up an inning, and also gives kids something else to look forward to. I’ll caution here that this shouldn’t be a bribe, just a fun little treat for you and the kids to enjoy together.


Know the stadium ahead of time.


The goal here is to be as efficient as possible with your “travel time” within the stadiumthat’s more time for baseball! Even minor league stadiums have pretty good and comprehensive websites now, with maps for concessions, bathroom locations, and other entertainment.

It can be helpful to know your food options, as well. There’s nothing worse than promising your kids ice cream only to have to make your way down three levels to get to the closest stand. Or worse yet, having to settle for Dippin Dots.

Another amenity valuable to know ahead of time is the family restrooms. These are typically private one-room restrooms with changing tables, and I’ve found them to be cleaner on average than the general restrooms, and provide a nice quiet respite for younger kids who need the bathroom.


See what sticks.


Different age groups are going to catch on to different things at the game. Encourage it! For my four-year-old, it’s tracking where the mascot is. (Here I’ll brag and say she also likes to know where Corbin Burnes is warming up and when he’s going to be on the mound.)

Recently at a game, my other kid asked what OPS on the scoreboard stands for. I was both incredibly excited and at the same time felt bad that she didn’t know what she got herself into by asking me that question. It opened up a great conversation about how players can do different things well to contribute and gave her a new way to look at what she was seeing on the field.

Maybe it’s telling them about the funny stories you remember with your parent or grandparent at a game. (Not the bee story thoughdon’t want to scare them.)

Ultimately, this is the best piece of advice I have. Enjoy being there with your kids on their terms. Find what they like about being there and encourage it!


Really, this is meant to provide some practical lessons learned for kids that have grown up enjoying baseball on some level. There are kids who will grow up and, despite your best efforts, never go to another game again! That’s fine!

But, if you are invested in just spending the time with them at the park, in whatever ways makes them feel special and connected to you, you’re going to both have a good time and build fond memories, regardless of what Andre Dawson does.




Sean Roberts

Sean Roberts is a baseball columnist for Pitcher List. His work has been featured on Baseball Prospectus, the Hardball Times, and October. He's still getting used to the DH in the national league. @seanroberts.bsky.social

2 responses to “How to Take Your Kids to a Baseball Game”

  1. Neal says:

    Super cool article with one helpful tip after another. Very excited to take my future kids to the ballpark. Thanks and well done.

  2. Ken Fox says:

    Nice article and very timely – I’m taking my 6-year old to her first MLB game this weekend :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login