My husband grew up going to the UL football games with his dad and has the fondest memories. Bringing his own kids to the games was what he looked forward to the most about having kids of his own. At 8 am sharp, you can find him at Cajun Field as he starts his day tailgating. I’ve brought the kids tailgating since they were born, and this is my almost four-year-old’s second year tailgating all day and going to the games. She looks forward to tailgating and cheering “Geaux Cajuns” almost as much as Christmas Day. With donuts for breakfast, how can you blame her? But tailgating from 8 am until a 6 pm kickoff is a long time, so here are my tips for entertaining toddlers at a tailgate this fall.
This fun UL tradition is like a mini parade featuring cheerleaders, the band, and of course, football players and coaches. Come give these guys a high five, wish them luck on their upcoming game, and check out their snazzy suits! Pro tip: know when it’s supposed to start. While the bullhorn does sound to signify it’s about to begin, depending on how far away your tailgating spot is, you won’t make it in time for the actual walk.
Take a walk:
It’s always fun to walk around and check out the other tailgates, visit the baseball stadium, and collect free goodies from various vendors.
The pop-up tent I linked above provides the perfect shade to cool off, a surface without grass, or even a place to rest if a quick nap is needed. My kids have often brought additional toys, like play food to cook and serve to tailgaters outside under this tent. As a bonus, this tent has quick installation.
Lots of Games!
You can get fancy with this and go wooden or even a pop-up set will work great. Somehow kids can’t resist a good game of corn hole, and honestly, neither can adults!
I saw these games in several stores this summer, or you can go professional with this set from Amazon featuring two ladders. Ours was an Aldi find for $4.50. While it only has one ladder, it’s perfect enough to quickly assemble and disassemble without taking up too much space. This game gets out a bit more of their energy as they have to throw weighted (sand-filled) bolo balls to wrap around the rungs of the ladder. Technically there is a point system (great for adults) but for toddlers, actually making it on the ladder is an accomplishment enough, and if they make it on the highest rung, it is like winning a golden trophy.
Ours stands up about 2 feet tall and was purchased this past summer from Aldi. This is perfect for toddlers to play with each other. Even if they don’t always follow the extra rules to playing Connect 4, it entertains for hours as they work on fine motor skills and cause and effect. Adults can play with toddlers while comfortably sitting on lawn chairs or on a tabletop for standing height.
This was another Aldi find. The large dice came with instructions for various games, though truthfully – my kids play with this game all day. They call out the number they rolled, or attempt to roll the same number 5 times, and line the dice up. Still, I see it as a win in terms of occupying time and learning. When not in use by toddlers, adults can enjoy a game of Yardzee or Yardkle.
Ok, wrong sport I know. But even the smallest toddler can kick the ball and attempt a game of catch with a toddler size soccer ball. These can be found for $5 or less at stores like Walmart in various sizes to fit your toddler best. With all that running, your toddler is guaranteed to take a great nap or sleep in the following day!