All four of my kids participate in sports. Between soccer, gymnastics, wrestling, and occasionally basketball, we have sporting events to attend all year round. These events can range from a one hour recreation league soccer game to a two-day wrestling tournament. As a result, I’ve developed a checklist of items that I consider essential for enjoying these events with less stress. I bring all of these things to my kids’ sporting events in a duffel bag that I can easily sling over my shoulder. It fits a ton of stuff and is easy to pack and store. Here’s what I put in it for our outdoor sports:
- Bleacher cushions: These are a MUST if you are going to be sitting for any length of time and are so lightweight there’s no reason to go without them. For soccer season, I keep the camping chairs in my trunk all season since there are no bleachers at our soccer fields.
- Bug repellent: My younger kids are mosquito magnets. If I don’t pack bug spray, they are covered in bites before half time.
- Sweat-proof sunscreen: Since my entire family uses the same sunscreen, I buy the sweat proof so that it doesn’t get washed away during the first few minutes of the game.
- Elastic hair bands: The ponytail holder keeping my daughter’s hair out of her face, inevitably always breaks just as the game is getting started. So, I keep several extras on our sunscreen bottle. The extra hair bands also come in handy for the days you decide to wear your hair down only to find yourself out on the windiest day of the year.
- Non-comodogenic sunscreen: I have two teens who break out just thinking about blemishes so I buy a facial sunscreen that doesn’t clog pores.
- Assortment of bandages: Major injuries during school sports are usually handled by the team medical personnel, but the minor injuries like a scratch or hangnail that gets ripped loose are easily remedied with my own supply.
- Anti-itch cream: In case that DEET-free insect repellent fails us or, as is usually the case in my family, someone gets a mysterious rash from something in the grass.
- Antiobiotic cream: Goodness knows what germs are lurking around when you have teams of sweaty children running around on a field that several people have walked their dogs on. If someone in my family gets a scratch out there, it’s super easy to slather a little antibiotic ointment on it to fend off any hazardous germs.
- Collapsible scissors: These are so small and thus, easy to make room for, so I always have a pair with me. These get used for everything from snipping a stray thread from a uniform, to opening snacks whose “tear here” notch is missing.
- Notepad and colored pens: It took me awhile to figure out that I needed these and now I can’t imagine what I did without them! Primarily, this is how I keep my other kids, who I drag along as spectators, occupied (Tic-tac-toe, Hangman, wish list, pictures). However, it also comes in handy when you decide to exchange numbers with another parent, or want to share a recipe or give/get directions.
- Body Armor sports drinks: There are a lot of sports drinks out there, but I like Body Armor (available at Target) because it’s all natural. It’s the only sports drink I’ve found that doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. Gluten free, caffeine free but full of electrolytes and vitamins and my kids love them! You can read more about their products on their website.
- Plastic zip seal bags: Since some of the fields we play at don’t have garbage cans nearby, I always bring some bags along to hold our garbage so we can dispose of it later. The zip seal storage bags have the added benefit of sealing securely so that your entire bag doesn’t end up smelling like garbage. They are also great for sealing sweaty clothes until you get home.
- Disinfecting wipes: If you’ve ever gotten a whiff of your child’s gym bag, you know they aren’t great about wiping down their equipment. That’s why I always bring along some wipes so I can do a quick disinfect before they get zipped into the dark, damp bag where germs multiply faster than rabbits.
- Hand sanitizer wipes: On-the-go snacks are almost always eaten with your hands so before my kids start stuffing their faces, we do a quick “wash” with a wet wipe. These are also great for cleaning sticky hands AFTER the half time snack.
- Assorted healthy snacks: All that exercise requires a lot of fuel so I always stock our bag with a variety of snacks that are easy to eat on the go but also provide nutrients their bodies need. Typically I include some fresh fruit along with organic fruit snacks and/or squeezable fruit/veggie pouches, trail mix, and protein and/or granola bars.
BONUS: For summer sports, I also toss in a small spray bottle filled with water and a few drops of peppermint essential oil. A few spritzes of this make you feel instantly cooler.
Even with ALL of the items listed above, I’ve got room to spare in our duffel bag for a change of clothes and extra sports gear. Here it is with everything in it:
It easily zips closed and as you can see, there’s plenty of room left for any other items you decide to add to your essential list.
Body Armor sponsored today’s post but their generosity didn’t stop there. They are offering all of my readers a free coupon for $1 off of two bottles so you can see for yourself that they taste as good as they are good for you. They are also giving away a six-pack of Body Armor plus a $20 gift card to buy other sports mom essentials to FIVE lucky winners!
ENTER TO WIN
Prizes: Five winners will each receive one 6-pack of Body Armor Super Drink + $20 Target gift card
Who’s Eligible: U.S. residents ages 18 and older
Ends: April 6, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST