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 10:42 AM ^

Took my 6 yr old daughter to MISS ST game and she loved it even with the pasting we got. Girls are different - smarter/ less ADD. Also beyond naps and bigger bladder at that age. Now the boy is 2 and would never think to take him yet - way too antsy to sit still. He loves football though. Every night while he drinks his bottle he pulls it out and says "I wa foobaw" - we watch a utube hype video each night. Never too early to start. All depends on the child - you know them the best.


September 14th, 2011 at 10:47 AM ^

Where are your seats?  The student section isn't the only place where people frequently stand.  Depending on your location and line of sight you're kid first memory of Michigan ball might be staring at someone's ass for 4 quarters.  

Also as Other Chris, the constant up and down will piss us off.  Even my wife stops finding the "up and down" kids cute about the 2nd quarter.  After halftime she's completely onboard with my "punt the baby" plan.  

Also whatever you do, when the kid is clearly at his limit, leave.  You don't want your kids first memory of Michigan football to be "2 quarters of pure boredom in the sweltering heat because daddy told me to it out".  Little kids got bad attention spans and EMU is boring as hell  to begin with.  By the fourth quarter we'll be playing BWC under center for the hell of it.


September 14th, 2011 at 10:56 AM ^

this is a risk - but sounds like you're intent on doing it, so keep in mind the following:  the boys need to be priority #1, not you and your buddy watching any football.  when the boys have had enough, then it's time to go - do not force them to sit there after they have "hit the wall".  wear cargo shorts and fill your pockets with cheerios, gummies, and whatever small toys they like.  the emphasis should be on fun, fun, fun - pompoms, etc.  interact with all the other fans.  carry them on your shoulders walking in and out of the stadium.  go to the step show and march to the stadium with the band with the boys on your shoulders as OP suggested.  sing along with the music and help them sing too, make sure they participate even if they don't know the words.  you will also have to talk with them beforehand about winning vs losing and what that is all about so they get why cheering happens, etc.  finally - be careful of falls.  try to get in the stadium early if possible so there aren't so many people on the steps so they don't trip and fall trying to keep up.  have some wipes and band-aids in case of a boo-boo.   pray there are some Moms or Grandmas sitting around you for outside help!

Good Luck and GO BLUE!


September 14th, 2011 at 10:57 AM ^

I think you should have a part II, reporting to us immediately after the game, assuming you still posess the capability of writing.  Between potty breaks, short attention spans, etc. etc. it should be quite an experience.  You might want to DVR the game, just in case you miss a play or two.


September 14th, 2011 at 11:01 AM ^

I took my daughter to her first game when she was 3 and she loved it (she is 5 now and I take her to one game every year).  I kept wanting to walk her around the stadium but she wouldn't leave her seat.  She was really into the cheerleaders and band.  She liked watching the football but didn't really know what was going on.  Throughout the game I kept finding things to point out to her and talk about (special cheers, doing the wave, the flag girls, cheerleaders, etc.).  Be ready with plenty of snacks.  The funnel fries and dip and dots are my daughters favorites.  Also, it is pretty easy to sneek in a sandwich, juice box, candy if those will help occupy them.  Also, don't forget your camera.


September 14th, 2011 at 11:45 AM ^

We were in section 33 about 40 rows up (north end zone adjacent to the student section).  She mostly sat on my lap during the game and I held here when we stood.  That game there wasn't alot of standing though.  That is a benefit of taking the kids to the lesser games.  The crowd is a little more relaxed and you don't have to focus so much on the game and can give the kid a more attention.  I think the new video boards should really help out for the kids to be able to see.


September 14th, 2011 at 11:10 AM ^

When my daughter was 3 we took her to the Western Michigan game after 9/11.  It was her first game and considering the emotion we had a lot  of second thoughts on bringing her.  Luckily we were on an aisle so we could do plenty of walks.  Bring snacks, put them in your pockets or in a change of cloths if needed.  They will have a great time.  Enjoy!


















September 14th, 2011 at 11:25 AM ^

I have really wanted to bring my sont to a game for a year or so, but I am torn.

He is 4 years old, watches sportscenter over breakfast, loves watching the Michigan FB and BB games and asks to wear his Denard jersey daily.

But, he is 4, and has a limited attention span, and can get scared by loud noises.  So, I am torn.

I am thinking about going next year, to give him an additional year, and picking a really crappy game.  I can do the earmuffs (or ear plugs) thing to help out withthe loud noise. 

Please post and let us know how it goes.  Good luck and GO BLUE.


September 14th, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

...to the UMASS game.  He did pretty well and my wife and I got to watch most of the game.  It helped that Grandpa came along and helped with entertaining him.  I got busted for bringing in contraband Cheerios by the A2 PoPo, but I found popcorn and a couple of other things that kept him from throwinig a hunger fit.  Given the light crowd for UMASS, the fact that we were on aisle seats (big issue given the number of times he wanted to go potty/explore the stadium) and the decent weather, we lasted about 3 quarters before he got tired and cranky.  I remember the long walk back to our car as being the most difficult part.  We also brought him to the away Wisconsin game in 2009 when he was 20 months old; we sat in the nosebleeds and bonded with the Sconnie fans who treated him very well (it helps that we lost by a lot).  He even started doing the Wisconsin chants, much to my chagrin. 

We're going to Minnesota this year and are bringing some friends along.  We're also packing the IPhone as a helpful distraction.  It can be done, but I would suggest aisle seats and going to a non-packed game. 


September 14th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

Theres a lot of people on the field so spotting the ball or specific players can be a challenge for young kids who haven't yet developed the same 'noise' filters we have.  So finding something they can repeatedly hone in on and look for that is exciting is good for them.

Denard is easy to spot because of his long hair and he has the ball so much.  My 2 year old sometimes watches football with me and spends the whole time trying to find Denard on the screen and encouraging him to GO GO GO.  She loves that he has long hair like her.  When the defense is out or another guy has the ball she asks "Where's Denard?"

Who needs a mascot when you have an immediatly identifiable, exciting, and smiling star like Denard?



September 14th, 2011 at 12:05 PM ^

I took my son to his first game when he was four. He did pretty well. Now at eight he can tell me what defensive scheme is on the field and knows opposing players to look out for. Every time I take him is magical, even if a hurricane/ lightening storm hits and Denard doesn't score a touchdown.

M go Bru

September 14th, 2011 at 12:06 PM ^

Good luck!

I took my son the first time to the spring game when he was 3 or 4 and I brought my bachpack child carrier in case he had trouble walking that far.

Then you have enough room to sit and the kids can play around without be confined to a seat.

He enjoyed it but it was 10 years ago before they were strict on what you could bring into the stadium.

M go Bru

September 14th, 2011 at 12:15 PM ^

Good luck!

I took my son the first time to the spring game when he was 3 or 4 and I brought my bachpack child carrier in case he had trouble walking that far.

Then you have enough room to sit and the kids can play around without be confined to a seat.

He enjoyed it but it was 10 years ago before they were strict on what you could bring into the stadium.

I would say it is not a good idea to bring a child to a game until the child is tall enough to see the game when standing on top of the bench seat. At least about 4' tall. 


September 14th, 2011 at 12:27 PM ^

You must not be outnumbered by the children! This is a recipe for disaster. Get the large bag of kettle korn and let them have at it. Limit the drinks. Play "games" with the on field activities as some others have said. Make sure you're in a section where people are less likely to stand so they can see.

I have taken my then 3 year old to games but he hasn't made it through a whole one - one he did great but he left at halftime with my wife so i could focus on the game; the second he couldn't see over the standing crowd and was out of it from the start.

He's 4 now and I'm going to EMU this weekend with him and we are both very excited - if he doesn't do well, then its just EMU. Or maybe just meet me on the north side lawn so they can play together.


September 14th, 2011 at 1:33 PM ^

As many have suggested, 3 is pretty young.  It will be hard.

Not quite old enough for a gameboy or iPhone with Angry Birds.  Last year, my son (then 5) liked having the FanVision in his hands and playing with it.

My girls, when they were younger, liked bringing in pen and paper and keeping track of the score and possessions and things like that -- but that was in the 7-9 range, not 3.

As stated, cargo shorts/pants are the ultimate parenting accessory for games right now.  Packs of peanutbutter crackers and small toys will help.  Also, candy...

One suggestion, pin to the inside back of their shirt/coat a note with: my name is XX, my dad is YY and his cell phone is zzz-zzz-zzzz.  Make sure you introduce them to the ushers and explain that police officers and anyone wearing an usher outfit is there to help.  Also, walking in and out, put them up on your shoulders.  You'll move faster, and they'll enjoy the view (not staring at everyone's rear ends as they try to navigate the crowd).


September 14th, 2011 at 9:15 PM ^

Security at the gates will give the child a wrist band and you can register all your contact information.  That is the first place to start, but definitely education the child on ushers and security is a great thing.


September 14th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

Took my 5 year old to his first game in 1995.  From that time on he bled Maize and Blue and has been to almost all games since he was 7 (1997 - What a year to be 7 (or any age and an M fan).  After the ND game last Saturday he told me that this ranked as his #2 moment in the stadium behind only the 97 OSU game.  He will now graduate from U of M this next spring.  Take the time.  Make these memories for you and your kids.

Here is what I did to make the experience the best (also did it with my daughter 2 years later):

1.  Monitor their fluid intake before the game so you are not running to the rest room every 5 minutes.

2. Explain to them before the game that you will take them out at half time for a treat, but not before.  Good time to hit the rest room and get a lemon chill (keeps them busy for a period of time in the 3rd quarter)

3. Explain to them what is going on.  Will keep their interest.  Explain to them what we want to happen.  For instance, when on offense point out the yard markers and explain we want them to get past a certain point.  Get excited when we do and give them high-5's.  Keep their excitement up as well as you can. 

4. Point out other things going on.  The Band.  The Cheerleaders, etc.

5. Sing the Victors or Let's Go Blue when the band plays it

6. It gets easier every game you take them too especially if you set the expectations, be consistent game to game and stick to the expectations you laid out.  My kids learned what to expect by being consistent.  They ALWAYS wanted to go.

Good luck.  You are starting the process of creating a die hard MGoFan




September 14th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

What you need to do is find someone selling their suite to the game. That way, they can at least roam the suite, you have you own private bathroom, they can get food whenever they want, they can watch a play or two, you're all set. You probably should bring a babysitter or wife or playmate or two to entertain them so you can watch the game without interruption.

Of course, the other options, as mentioned above, are either to go and forget about watching the game, go to a game in Ypsi or a HS game, watch it at home, or leave the kids at home.

The one thing you can't do is plan to bring the kids, sit in the stands, and have any meaningful watching of the game. The good thing is that this isn't much of a game, and it should be over quickly. If you can have the kids pretty entertained, and then watch the first quarter, you should be able to see most of what's important anyway.

Good luck!


September 14th, 2011 at 1:54 PM ^

Bring a bag of stuff to do in case they decide they don't want to watch anymore.  I would get into the stadium right around kickoff or just after to not waste their attention span on stuff that doesn't matter.  I would consider a dvd player with a headset as well if you really want to see the game.  Good luck!