Thursday, July 29, 2010

Spectating Races with the Kids

With hubby and I both racing all summer long ... the kiddos get to bet quite the little professionals at spectating. Though they don't look forward to getting up before dawn on race day, they DO enjoy staying at hotels, seeing new cities, swimming, seeing new parks, snacking and cheering on mom and dad.

As we are currently packing to head down to Chicago for the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon this weekend, I'm getting hubby's "survival bag" together. It's almost as much work for the spouse that is spectating!!!

Here are some things that I like to do to keep us all sane ....

I also like to take a lot of plastic shopping bags along to discard trash. I typically tie one or two to our stroller. When a garbage can isn't handy, it's a great way to get empty wrappers, packaging and such out of site.
Visit the Dollar Store and stock up on cheap toys and treats that will grab their interest. These are super affordable and you won't care if they get distroyed or left behind. Something new will always intrigue them more. You can also scour your bin of McDonald's toys that they haven't played with in awhile and find some rediscovered treasures.
This time I even went so far to take most of the items out of their packaging, so that the parent doesn't need to deal with the junk. I also took a plastic bag and labeled it with each of the kids' names. I put treasures inside for each of them, so that there is no fighting (hopefully!).

Since we will have a few hours of driving on our hands, I visited the local library and got several books that they can read in the car as well as some videos they've never seen. Hopefully this keeps our trip quiet in the minivan.
Snacks, lots and lots of snacks!! They kids seem to snack all morning long while we are spectating races. Here are some of our (mostly healthy) favorites:
  • Yogurt
  • String Cheese
  • Individual bags of Chips and Pretzels
  • Premade PB&J Sandwiches
  • Berries
  • Juice Boxes
  • Bottled Water and Crystal Light Packets
  • Lunchables

Have them cheer you on in style and be your own personal fan club. Have custom fan club shirts made or order some directly from Family Fan Club (HERE). Get the kids their own cowbells and noisemakers, so that they can cheer everyone on. I purchased these noisemakers from the Target Dollar bin over the past few years. When they aren't tossing them in the street, it helps keep them entertained as they watch everyone pass them by and look for you in the crowd.
Some other miscellaneous items I like to bring along:
  • Beach towels (blankets tend to be too bulky to tote around)
  • Baby wipes and tissue
  • Hand santizer
  • Extra clothes and jackets (they always get super dirty race morning!)
Race day can be long for everyone ... especially when it's a "big city" race and there isn't a park in site!!! I'm always looking for more ideas.
How do you keep
the kids entertained
on race day??


  1. My kids love to high-five me and my running friends along the race course! My hubby is erally good about that....he makes sure to bring the kids to several points in the race to see me and friends. My friends always tell me how cool it is to see a little person cheering them along the way. He also packs a mini cooler full of treats and they always get a taste of the post-race goodies.

  2. I tend to go on my own. I don't know what my husband would do with all 4 kids at a race. it might be a bit painful.

  3. this is very timely for me - I usually go it alone, but this weekend, we're doing it up family style. which means my husband will have all 4 kids to deal with while I run. I will definitely be looking here for lots of good race-day ideas....

  4. Sounds like you pretty much have it covered! You provided some great ideas.

    Good luck on the race this weekend. You're going to do great and have fun doing it!

  5. Great ideas - I'll definitely be borrowing these in the future!

    Good luck this weekend and have fun!!

  6. Those T-shirts are adorable!! Is the R&R along the lake? Lots of park and fun sight-seeing to keep them busy! Good luck!

  7. you are much braver than I, we get a sitter and leave them home !!

  8. Great ideas! I do almost the same thing as you, but my kiddos don't have cool t-shirts like yours! I may have to get some of those! :)

  9. Wow, you are very organized!! Love those bags and super cute tees!
    We always just get a babysitter! haha

  10. This is great. I am so doing this for my next big race. I like to give my son a cheap camera so he can take pics of the tings that he likes too. He has fun with that.

  11. Great ideas... you are so organized! You've done this a time or two huh? :)

  12. You are one super organized diva running mom! I love your ideas.

  13. oh my goodness I LOVE THIS!!
    Ive done one race (the disney princess half) and unfortunately my family couldnt come with.

    they ARE coming to Las Vegas with me and I could definitely use all these tips.

    Im doing a linklove post about running next week---may I link?

  14. I bring the grandparents! :)They (kids and grandparents) stay entertained and excited the whole time! I'm not sure who gets the most enjoyment-it's a toss-up!

  15. Love this post! Those are all really great ideas! The shirts are so cute.

  16. Well, I don't know. But on training runs, my husband doesn't give our kids anything to entertain them! They just sit there like good kids (I don't know how he does it).

  17. You have this down to a science!

  18. Have a great race Jamie and send us some pictures of the family wearing their support!

  19. Saw a picture on long legs Katye's website- you looked GREAT after the Chicago Half!