Baseball season makes him happy. Which makes us happy.
Baseball season makes him happy. Which makes us happy.
For the second year in a row, my son is participating in the local T-Ball league. Next year it will be my daughter’s turn (the league starts at age 5). This is a baseball family.
Unlike the recreational soccer and gymnastics that the kids have done in years past, there’s something different to the T-Ball league. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s two nights a week, making it a bit more of a commitment. Or that it’s 2 hours long from start to finish. But there is a definite team feel that develops.
There’s something else that happens because of having an extracurricular outside of school as well. He develops a new circle of friends. He has responsibilities (balance of time – homework has to get done on non-baseball nights!) and his confidence is growing.
While he is liking school and has made many friends there, I like that he doesn’t have to rely on those at school for a source of friendship and fun. His play date requests now include those at school, those in our non-school circle of friends (mostly my play-date mom pals and their kids!) plus his baseball crew. As a bonus, baseball led us to find a few friends just a street over! Ones we didn’t really know because they go to different schools.
I really like that the kids are interested in activities outside of school, and even more so that they are developing larger circles of friends and new identities that aren’t tied to school only. He’s really getting a sense for who he is, and who he wants to be. I’m happy to encourage that.
Are your kids involved in non-school activities? Are you developing new relationships because of it?
On the July 1st weekend we were invited to stay at the Renaissance Hotel in Toronto. We decided that since we would be staying in the Rogers Stadium field view room we would make it a baseball weekend with the kids. We ended up having an amazing weekend!
First off, let’s talk about the hotel. I’ve written about our stays there before and taking the kids to the Blue Jays games. The service is always fantastic, the stadium view room is amazing (although we’ve stayed in the regular room and love the location to the game still) and the food is wonderful. There is a pool and while it’s in a bit of an odd location (through the conference area to get to it) the pool itself is large, not too deep and heated.
We ended up doing room service a couple of times because with the kids it’s just easier and with the room being so spectacular it made sense. Plus. My favourite thing to do when we stay at nice hotels is order room service. It just seems so decadent.
But it’s only best to do it when the food is great, and oh my it was.
Meanwhile, the kids loved the room. There was plenty of space for them to move around, they love looking out the window into the stadium and with a mini fridge in the room we were able to keep snacks easily on hand.
We mostly ended up walking around Toronto for a bit and planning to watch baseball games. Friday night was an evening game so we started watching. The windows partly open so we can hear the announcer and sounds of the game. Love that. And the kids fell asleep during it (note: my kids will fall asleep anywhere, apparently even with stadium lights and baseball sounds outside of their window. For some, this may have been tricky so keep that in mind!).
The next day we went out for breakfast and then to the Jr Jays Saturday activities that were set up by the Blue Jays right near the stadium and hotel. Holy cow this was so much fun!! Everything was free and they start 2 hours before the actual game. The kids were in bouncy castles, giant slides, throwing pitches at the dunk tank, taking batting practice, getting their face painted and more! If you followed my tweets, this was the day I stood in line in the heat – twice- to get each of the kids a balloon animal. It was worth it.
We went back to the room and watched the pre-game warm up before heading to the stadium. We bought tickets to go into the game this day (which is always a neat and different experience – so worth it) and wow, it was an exciting game (apparently not too exciting, my daughter fell asleep for a couple of innings). After the game the kids got to run the bases.
We were able to enjoy a quiet (and early) evening after all of the day’s excitement in the heat.
Overall, the weekend was really exciting. Thank you Renaissance for the amazing accommodations!! Looking forward to another trip soon. You can follow Renaissance Hotel Toronto on Twitter @renaissanceto
A few thoughts/tips:
-The stadium view room is more expensive than the others, but it gives you access to the game without buying tickets (we decided to buy them anyway for one game) so keep that in mind. Also, we couldn’t help but think about how much fun that room would be with a bunch of friends.
-If you are going to a baseball game and looking for overnight, this is the hotel I would recommend over and over. We’ve gotten the non-stadium room before with double beds and it was great. The location is impossible to beat.
-The Jr Jays events happen on Saturdays and with the kids it’s worth checking out. Tickets for the game for the 4 of us were $100 in really great seats, plus the play area was free and running the bases was part of it.
-If buying tickets on a hot summer day, try to find ones that are under the shade in the field. Sections baking in sun for the duration of the game would be really hard to enjoy with the kids.
-I can’t think of many other ways we could have spent 5 hours (we were there from 11-4 basically!) with the kids and enjoyed ourselves this much in the weather. Baseball is a really great family fun event!
disclosure: we were provided with free accommodations for two nights thanks to the Renaissance, however, food, travel, and all other costs were our own.
It’s no secret my husband (and now children, and at times myself) are huge baseball fans.
We try to go to ball games at least once a year either in Toronto or Detroit (when we are in Windsor visiting family).
We just returned from a Toronto game where we stayed at the Marriott Renaissance hotel right on site. We’ve stayed there before because it’s attached to the stadium so we can walk the kids easily. However, this time, a kind employee, Andrea, upgraded us to the Stadium View room (the picture above? From our room). It was amazing. We are already planning our next game!
We don’t always even have to travel to see a ballgame. There is a local baseball team here in Ottawa that we go to. Even as I type this post my two year old daughter is dressed in her baseball pjs and is playing t-ball.
Going to a baseball game (or sporting event) may take some planning and some patience but it’s a great way to spend time together as a family. Here are my tips and thoughts about picking a ball game as a family outing this summer:
1-Take the time to sit and enjoy. Sitting together and talking about sport encourages kids to want to play the sport. Plus, that one-on-one conversation is precious.
2-Buy smart. Depending on their ages (mine are still rather young) they may not stay for the full game. Be prepared for that. Dont splurge on the most expensive tickets because you may not be in your seats much.
3-Go to batting practice. My son once got a ball at batting pracice. Not because we caught it but because the player rolled it to us. It was pretty exciting for him and he still talks about it two years later. The other benefit of batting practice is that it’s not crowded and you get to see the players for longer.
4-The game is just a part of the experience. The stadium has a lot to offer. Ball parks have kid sections set up – some with Ferris Wheels and bouncy areas and places to walk around.
5-Enjoy the food. Popcorn is my kids’ treat of choice at the ball park but you name it, a concession stand has it.
6-Encourage their interest. Are they asking questions? Interested in learning more? Look it up online after or before the game.
Have you taken your kids to a baseball game or sporting events? What do you like about it?
From our recent trip: