Taking 3 Year Old to Game

Submitted by Hoke_Floats on September 14th, 2011 at 9:08 AM

I am taking my 3 year old with a friend and his 3 year old

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can do to help to ensure that I at least get to watch 1 quarter of football?

  • I think the kids will want to see the band take the field and Michigan run through the tunnel...but that doesn't even take me to kickoff
  • Can you bring in PB&J sandwhiches?  I don't know what else they would eat at the stadium, I have to cut up the hotdogs into tiny pieces so they don't choke and I don't see my kid taking down a polish sausage
  • Do they still sell cider and donuts?  Or is that later in the year?
  • Kind of wish UofM had a mascot ( I know it sounds bad, but 3 year olds love that stuff)
  • Are there any good statues on the concourse or anything else that might provide a nice walk to at least stay in the stadium till halftime to see the band again?  (Bo's Eagle)



September 14th, 2011 at 9:12 AM ^

reveal the problem with the concept.  I considered it many times but decided against it after considering the very things you have posted above.  I wish you good luck.  See you on the other side brother.


September 14th, 2011 at 9:12 AM ^

- You could get sandwiches in if you have cargo shorts on I'm sure. 

- I don't think I've seen cider and donuts, but I don't get food at the concession stands.

- You shut your dirty mouth about that mascot.


September 14th, 2011 at 9:20 AM ^

I know, it seems so lame but you should see a kids face when he sees a (most likely registered sex offender) giant plush animal

3 year olds eat that stuff up

Its really part of the larger debate on overall stadium experience.  If you want to entertain anyone from 3-99, a mascot is not a terrible idea to grab those kids attention.  However, if you want to cut it off at 10-75 you can get away with the loud music and no mascot


September 14th, 2011 at 9:17 AM ^

Get the kids a babysitter and sell the tickets to someone who can enjoy the game.  A "dry run" to a HS game might have been a good idea, too.  I hope it works out for you either way.  

I hope your kid actually knows what a touchdown is and understands the point of the game.  I wouldn't have at that age, but I was reading the sports section at six years old.  You never know when cognizance will kick in.  


September 14th, 2011 at 10:00 AM ^

My wife and I watch our friend's son every Sunday. He's a little younger than that, but he knows what a touchdown is too and football==Joey to him. At first, I thought it was a valiant effort to try to start them early, but after thinking about taking my friend's son to a game - even next season - I think there is a pretty slim chance you are going to be able to keep his attention for a quarter.

Maybe what you can do is show up to the game around the second quarter. Then, the band might be able to hold his attention and you can leave sometime in the 3rd quarter when he gets bored again.


September 14th, 2011 at 9:21 AM ^

A couple of years ago, I brought my 4 year old son to the game.  We tired him out on the golf course and he slept during the game.   When he did wake up, the guys behind him gave him some gum and made his day.

As you know, it will be crowded and maybe hot in there.  Just make sure to have lots of water.  Kids love when you buy them food and stuff in the game so I wouldn't even think of bringing a sandwich in.  But, then again, your son might only eat PB&J.

Have a great time at the game - Go Blue!


September 14th, 2011 at 9:22 AM ^

Sell/give the tickets away, go see the band rehearse and do the step show. Watch the game on TV. Take the kids to the spring game, especially if the weather is nice - there's no pressure about having to leave early, nor are you packed in like sardines with a 3yo.


September 14th, 2011 at 9:25 AM ^

as a father of 2, my impression will be that you won't end up watchin a lot of the game.  3 y/o just do nt possess the attention span/insight of watching a game like that.

Sit them down infront of the tv and see if they will watch a game in its entirety without being distracted, if they watch the game the take them.

If not then dont, you will just end up pissed you didnt get to watch the game as you had planned.

Just my 2 cents...


September 14th, 2011 at 11:08 AM ^

I have a 3.5-year-old and I think he's still too young.  I'm dying to get him to a game but I don't think he will appreciate it enough to justify the cost and effort it will take to get him there.  The 3-year-old attention span is just too short.  4 might be a better age but I'm thinking 5 is the time to start. 

I saw a guy with his 5-year-old in the airport Sunday morning and he said she lasted through the entire game!  (Of course, I wondered what the hell he was thinking keeping a 5-year-old up that late while I was listening to him.  But she seemed like she had fun.)




September 14th, 2011 at 9:26 AM ^

I agree with the above. It sounds like a lot of money for you, and they will be miserable. Why don't you come down for a Toledo game or an EMU game? They will want to run through the stands and won't be able to at UM.

Bring them to the Spring game in a few months, though a little cold, it is a lot of fun for the kids. My 4.5 begs me to go the games, but I would not put him or me through that hellish experience.

Plus, you will have 2. Recipe for disaster.



September 14th, 2011 at 9:27 AM ^

Your biggest problem, IMO, is going to be the confined space of the stands. Don't know how long my 3 year old would last there. He'll probably need to stand on the seat too, which is going to increase the squirminess and make him want to jump off to the row below. You need to get something that will occupy him and allow him to get out energy. Try to get your hands on a pom-pom. He'll shake it like crazy, pull it apart, hit his friend with it, annoy everyone around you, but he will be occupied.

Teach him the songs and what to do. Let's Go Blue and the Victors have hand clapping and fist waving. They'll get into that but even better if they already know what to do.

Focus his attn on the Jumbotron. Maybe that will work like tv (sweet blessed tv). Downside is that he'll start asking you to have them turn on WonderPets.

Take shifts. You and your buddy are going to have to, if you want to see the game at all, take shifts walking them around the concourse. Maybe plan this in advance.

Alternate plan... double dose of Benadryl. Set sleeping kid on bleached, enjoy game.


September 14th, 2011 at 9:34 AM ^

...just turned three last month and there is no way I would consider taking him to a game yet.  When I am at games, my wife will tune the TV to the game and tell him daddy is there.  His answer is always, "I want to go there next time." 

As much as I anticipate the day I will take him to a game at The Big House, it is just going to have to wait.  I can't imagine what it would have been like with him at the Notre Dame game.  I stood the whole game, sans halftime, and never went to the concourse.  He would either have had to sit on my shoulders, or not seen a damn thing. 

Therefore, I have made a deal wiht my little man.  I have told him that the day he can sit down and watch an entire televised game with me is the day I will deem him ready to go to Michigan Stadium.  I am guessing that will be in 2013, but I am not sure.  I have considered taking him to the spring game next year as a trial run, that way he could get to see more than just tailgating and the game.  I think the facility tour and everything that goes with the spring game would actually build more excitement for him than a regular season game, and if I missed a few plays here or there I would not be disappointed. 

Just my opinions.  Good luck, brave MGoBlogger!

[EDIT: This was all said in a combination of several of the above posts.  Sorry.]

Six Zero

September 14th, 2011 at 11:07 AM ^

Wait until he will sit down and watch an entire game before considering actual attendance.  Right now 'watching Michigan with Dad' essentially means 'trying not to get into too much trouble playing while dad watches football in the same room.'

That and 'Let's see if I can find some way to convince dad to let me play with the lucky UM football.'  He's like Wiley Coyote, always trying some new hair-brain scheme to convince me that he can get his hands on that and throw it inside the house.

Indiana Blue

September 14th, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

leads me to the fact that a 3yr. old will not be able to maintain an attention span of more than 5 minutes (unless its cartoons) at any given point in time.  You are talking about a 5 hour endeavor by going to Michigan Stadium.  By the time they are 6 - 7 yrs. old they can really enjoy a game.

Good luck and hopefully you'll be able to catch most of the game by watching the TV's at the concession stands!  Take the credit card, because M Den at the stadium will be a pleasant distraction.

Go Blue!


September 14th, 2011 at 9:33 AM ^

I took my very rambunxious 4 year old last year to the Illinois game.  What a champ he was, but go figure that the first game I take him to goes into triple OT.  Everyone around was patting his head and saying how great he did after the game.

My recommendations:

1) BINOCULARS!!!!  Can't stress this one enough.

2) Lots and lots of snacks.  Gold fish, Cheezits, cookies.  And at the stadium - kettle corn and pretzels.  This is another extremely important one.

3) Walk into the stadium with the band and the crowd.  Put him on your shoulders.  My son thought this was the coolest thing ever.

4) Pom poms or foam wolverine claws are a must.  Plus, if someone keeps encroaching on your seat, have your kid keep poking or hitting the guy with them.

5) Be patient and take extra long breaks between quarters.  Yes, you miss some of the action, but you are setting the groundwork for a life-long Wolverine.

Charlie Chunk

September 14th, 2011 at 9:36 AM ^

It was just her and I.  I had her thinking we were on a date together.  It was her big day with Dad at the ball game.  What a day...I loved it!

To start with, I bought her some popcorn, a program and a very small drink.  I think I even dumped some out before I gave it to her (limit the bathroom time).  She wore her little Michigan cheer outfit.

The trick is to get them interested in all of the different kinds of entertainment going on inside of the stadium.  The band, the cheerleaders, the color guard, the teams on the sideline, the coaches, following along with the cheers, letting them mess around with the people sitting near you, etc. Point out things to keep them involved.

Make sure your child understands that you want them there and you want their reaction to everything going on. 

We had a blast and I have a great memory from that special time for the rest of my life.  That was 18 years ago and I wouldn't trade it for anything.




September 14th, 2011 at 9:37 AM ^

My kids are now 10 and 8, I was thinking I might try and make a game this year. We have been to a few minor league hockey games in the last two years and they have been doing well there. I hope to make it up one saturday but the kids hockey practice time is now the issue.




September 14th, 2011 at 9:44 AM ^

to the Illinois game last year and he lasted about 90 mins with the band and then part of the game.  Luckily Grandma came and picked him up so he could go take his nap!  Mom and Dad didnt have to miss too much of the game.

I agree with all here, the snacks were important and the band was big!  Although I think his favorite part was the UM cookie the people in front of us gave him.

We are coming back into town for the SDSU game and this shold be more fun.  He is 3 now and actaully stayed up on the couch watching the ND game with me on Satruday.  He was yelling go Defense and Notre Dame is Poop!  The wife wasn't happy with the last one but how could I stop him!  We actually told him the game was over and that Michigan won at halftime so he would go to bed!


September 14th, 2011 at 10:02 AM ^

Technically you can't.  I would think twice about doing so too,  if the stadium staff sees it they won't let it in.

There are now placards on the inside of the stadium highlighting past players, but outside of the eage, the giant block M and Wolverine statue on the north side there aren't any statutes ( this is a good thing).

During the ND game saw a very young child (yes someone brought a child, looked to be maybe 2 y/o) wearing ear protection / earmuffs since the stadium is now actually loud.  You might consider doing something similar.


September 14th, 2011 at 9:49 AM ^

I took a 10-month old to the Western game and all I can say is your new bestfriend will be the concourse on the west side of the stadium.  When we walked in, an usher said if it got too hot for our little one to take her up there because there was a nice breeze.  She proceeded to fall asleep so I walked up there.  I watched the whole game up there and stayed out of the down pour when it happened.  The only rule is that you have to stay behind the yellow line where handicap seating is.  (There was no one in those seats for the WMU game).  You can stand there as long as you want.   It is a great place to watch the game.  The best spot is above the student section because the students haven't figured out they can go in and out up there.   I realize a 3-yr-old will be more mobile but it's still a good choice.  My advice...go to your seats and stay there as long as the kids will take it.  After that head up to the concourse and watch the rest of the game from there.  You'll basically watch the game from standing room only tickets that have sightlines as good as the club level.


September 14th, 2011 at 9:51 AM ^

You will not enjoy the game and your kids will be bored.  You will be irritating to the fans around you.  

There should be a law about taking kids to games until they are at least 8.  Why in the world would you pay good money and take an awesome event like a UM game and torture yourself.  

Stay home, watch the big screen with a DVR, let the two kids watch the game for the first series and they will be out of the room playing xbox, wii or even go outside.  Pause the game and play a game or two with them and get back to the game.

Only other option is to drop the kids at Grandma's house and pickup your pops or other buddies and have a truly awesome time until your kids are ready.





September 14th, 2011 at 10:03 AM ^

I have a 5 year old and 2.5 year old and have taken them to three Cubs games this year... and lasted through the 6th inning each time.

The secret is popcorn

Let them eat popcorn.... their little fingers can only handle one kernel at a time and it takes them 2 hours to eat the box


September 14th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

........is totally different that 110k people in small bleacher seating.  Football is a totally different animal.  I take my kids to hs football but it stops there because he can go run around on the side of fields or a grassy area with the other ADD kids that cannot sit still.  

6 bathroom breaks and 2 food breaks in the bighouse, add traffic and a sprinkle of frustration from not seeing a big play..................  


Other Chris

September 14th, 2011 at 10:09 AM ^

We've been to pretty much every Michigan sport except wrestling, and even gone to other schools nearby to see some games/meets.

Five is pretty much the minimum for Michigan Stadium. If you aren't on the aisle, you will piss off the world with the continual up and down, and the up and down will be continual -- trust me on this. You will spend more time than anyone would want in the bathroom.  Whatever you bring to entertain the kid/give him to eat or drink will get dropped and you'll have to grovel around on the ground and ask the people in front/behind to help look for your phone, his little car, his cup, whatever. I've lived through this in Crisler, the Fish, Alumni Field, Cliff Keen and while annoying anywhere, it's not nearly as crowded or nearly as expensive at these other venues, so it's easier for everyone to shrug off.

You are not supposed to bring anything into the stadium -- no bags for sure -- so you might get busted for your contraband food. My kids want the bucket of fries and Dippin' Dots nowadays, but you can probably hide their existence from a little one. the big pretzel is probably the most accessible food.

Finally, for a little kid, the stadium is REALLY LOUD. This bugged my youngest even when he was five. So be prepared.


September 14th, 2011 at 10:12 AM ^

the rules say you can bring in a diaper bag, I think the other kid is not potty trained so it seems that at least 1 of us will have to bring in a bag

So I guess we will try to load it with gold fish, gummies and anything else that has to be eaten one at a time

Section 1

September 14th, 2011 at 10:12 AM ^

A friend of mine once brought his two kids, both < 8 years old.  The oldest one, the good one, squirmed the whole time.  The youngest one cried for half a quarter, watched for half a quarter, slept in my arms for a quarter, and then they went home after the halftime show.

Your experience might be a little better.  It might be worse.  It is a bad idea, no matter what.

Is there any way to make an MGoChart, correlating all of the people who think it is a good idea to bring small children to the games, with all of the people who think that everybody needs to stand for the whole game in order to make the most possible noise?


September 14th, 2011 at 10:14 AM ^

Wow, surprised how many people on here are saying no way never ever take a kid to the game. I took my 2 year old daughter last year to Uconn and she loved it. I'm planning on taking her again to EMU this weekend. There are probably some kids who can't handle, but mine did great. She loved the band, the cheers, talking to people around us, and she's beginning to learn about the actual game too. Have to start somewhere. I agree it would be different at say ND or OSU, but finding the right game with good weather and it's a great day.


September 14th, 2011 at 11:09 AM ^

I have to agree.  If anyone knows my kids, they are really active.  They run circles around the active kids.  I am not even exaggerating here.

Anyway, my 4 year old did excellent.  You have to be patient, prepared, and not expect to have the same experience you would with an adult.  You have to give them a lot of attention, keep them excited, find things for the to focus their attention on, and make the game about them also.

With any kid under 6-7, the world revolves around them.  At least that's how they see it and they need to feel like it is a special thing just for them.


September 14th, 2011 at 10:16 AM ^

...just that simple.  My kids are football nuts but at that age there was no way in...I'd take them to a game.  All the "I need to go potty", "I'm hungry", "how much longer", "it's to loud in here", "I need to go potty"...why even go?

I understand and appreciate you want to take your kids, but reality has to be checked at some point, and they'll never remember this in 10 years anyway.  Save it until they can.

Whatever you decide I hope it works out.


September 14th, 2011 at 10:41 AM ^

Make sure to bring a toy that he likes for the game. He'll probably watch a little of the game then get bored and then go to his toy and flip flop like that for the duration. I also wouldn't expect to stay the whole game.