Surviving the Sidelines

Soccer, baseball, swimming, lacrosse… have you been sitting on the sidelines of your kid’s activities lately? We don’t do it nearly as much as other families, but enough to realize the dilemma of the bored child who is NOT participating. Oftentimes, it’s the younger siblings that are on the sidelines, but in the case of our family, my oldest daughter is finding herself more and more on the sidelines.
While I’m happy that my youngest is discovering activities that she loves, I also understand my oldest not always being eager to come along. It’s not always fun to sit on the sidelines. So, what to do?
Disclaimer: Thank you to Parragon Books for providing the fun activity book showcased in this post. All opinions are my own. This post also contains Amazon Affiliate links. Please see my disclosure for more details.
Books – If your child is a bookworm, they may be perfectly willing to sit and read the entire time they are waiting on the sidelines. But, sometimes they just may not be in the mood. We always bring along a book as one option. It’s easy to carry along and can sit in the car if not needed. You can’t go wrong with a book of choice.
Activity Books – Activity books have saved the day a few times. My 8-year-old can go through page after page on her own. A recent favorite was Totally Brain-Bending Puzzles from Parragon Books. It was challenging, but not too hard. Plus there was such a great mix of puzzles that she didn’t feel like she was doing the save thing over and over again. This is probably her favorite sideline activity. Don’t forget a supply of pencils and a small pencil sharpener!
Pencil and Paper Games – You can play a ton of games with just a pencil and paper. Bring along a notebook and a supply of pencils and you’re all set. You can play Paper Golf. Hop on over to Mama Smiles for the instructions. Tiny Rotten Peanuts has a collection of 10 Drawing Games. Several would be perfect for the sidelines.  Or, you can play Dots and Boxes. Find out how at What Do We Do All Day.
Travel Activity Kits – Have you seen all those great ideas for travel activity kits all over Pinterest? Many of them are also perfect for the sidelines. Try one of these 20+ Road Trip Activity Ideas curated by Childhood 101. Or, print off one of these Roadtrip Drawing Prompts over at Picklebums.
Movement! – No matter the age, your kid on the sideline is going to need to move. Depending on their age, they may be able to walk around a bit themselves. Let them stretch, do a few yoga moves, jump, or even run. Just because they’re not the ones participating, doesn’t mean they have to sit around the whole time.
Stay Hydrated – Your little athlete isn’t the only one that needs to stay hydrated. Make sure to bring along water for those sitting on the sidelines. And, if you’ll be there awhile, bring along a healthy snack.
What are your best ideas for keeping kids happy on the sidelines?




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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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