If you follow my Instagram stories, you know that we just took a road trip to Iowa City for some Homecoming and football-themed fun. And while my hubby loved pointing out where his classes were on campus and was thrilled to find that his favorite bars were still around, the true star of the show was the University of Iowa vs. Purdue University football game. And while our experience wasn’t exactly perfect, we had a great time and cheered the Hawkeyes on to victory. So whether you loved going to games as a student or went to a small school like me and missed out on the experience, here are some tips for taking kids to a college football game.
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The biggest tip I can give you for taking kids to a college football game is to reframe your mindset. You might be super excited for your pigskin experience, but your family most likely won’t be as invested as you are. So pick one or two “must do’s” such as watching the team enter onto the field, take a picture at the front gate, or rub the lucky statue and let everything else go. I promise you (and your family) will enjoy the game so much more.
The college football game tip that really shows that I’m a mom who plans ahead? Dressing for any and all types of weather. My weather app predicted a beautiful day for a ball game when we were walking to Kinnick Stadium. What did we get? Rain. Lots of rain. But since we bought cheap rain ponchos and packed extra gloves, hats, and sweatshirts, we stayed cozy and dry. Just be sure to that all of the extra layers fit in a clear, stadium approved bag.
The worst part about bringing kids to a college football game? When sports bring out the rude sides of people. We unfortunately dealt with people in front of us that refused to sit down for any part of the game, so we (along with the elderly couple behind us and the family next to us) were stuck watching the game on the video board instead of seeing live action.
Standing might be the norm in the student section or for BIG games, but in our section it was just four people who decided to make watching the game nearly impossible for all of the people sitting behind them. Be sure to check out the stadium website beforehand and screen shot numbers you can call to help you deal with unruly and rude fans since you probably won’t have service while in the stadium.
If you are able to actually sit in your seat, bring something to sit on! Whether a fleece blanket or a backless stadium seat, having a little cushion for your body always helps since college stadiums have metal, bleacher-style seats that can get really cold in the Fall.
As with anywhere you go with kids, another tip for taking kids to a college football game is to pack lots of snacks! Most college football stadiums allow you to bring in outside food or factory sealed water bottles so it is a great way to not only stretch your budget but also ensure that you will have something your child likes to eat on hand—because NO ONE likes a hangry football fan!
Lastly, bring or purchase a football to toss around outside the stadium if your child is too wiggly or impatient to stay for the entire game. Just know that you cannot bring the football into the stadium with you, so take advantage of the college football stadium’s bag check services if available. You can play outside, burn some of your child’s limitless energy and still feel the energy of the game—even if you are on the other side of the gates.
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