Keeping cool on the sidelines
June 10, 2011 4:56 AM   Subscribe

What is the best way to keep a merry band of seven- and eight-year old girls cool at soccer games?

What is the best way to keep a merry band of seven- and eight-year old girls cool at soccer games? We've seen other teams employ a variety of approaches, including:
  • Big half-sphere umbrellas that anchor to the ground, like the Sport-Brella. They go fairly large, and the line dividing this from a tent can be blurry at times.
  • A couple of beach umbrellas stuck in the ground.
  • A 10x10 canopy, sometimes with one side screened (the side the sun's coming in, assuming it's not facing the field).
We would probably only be storing 2-3 girls under it at any given time.

#1 seems the easiest (Costco has one that looks decent for around $40, and it looks pretty portable), but I'd be worried about what it does in the wind. Portability is fairly important, as some of the events at which this will be used are tournaments, where we might be playing 2-3-4 games in a day.

Recommendations for specific models are also enthusiastically solicited!
posted by Doofus Magoo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total)
I coach soccer in Central Florida. The girls are a little older, 11 and 12.

We always have a BIG cooler filled with ice water. Sometimes we have two coolers. The girls can not drink too much water during the game, because they could cramp up. But they can pour the ice water over the their head, or down their back.

No playing or fighting with the ice water. But they certainly can use it to cool down.
And they do use it to cool down.
posted by Flood at 5:07 AM on June 10, 2011

Spray bottles filled with water. I bring one or two to my son's baseball games, and walk up and down the bench blasting the kids with the spray. They *love* it. Sometimes the parents (or siblings) will come up to me and ask for a spray too.
posted by Lucinda at 5:29 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was sitting next to someone at a game the other day who had one of these. Incredibly refreshing. Maybe have 3-4 of them in the team area for sharing?
posted by jbickers at 5:33 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Putting your hands, up to the wrists importantly, in ice water, for about a minute or more can do wonder to cool your core temperature. Similarly ice wrapped in a damp towel around the neck can also do wonders.
posted by From Bklyn at 5:43 AM on June 10, 2011

Cooler full of frozen washcloths (or shop towels)? Those always feel great wrapped around my neck when it's super-hot.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:49 AM on June 10, 2011

Response by poster: Great answers! Do y'all provide any kind of shade for the girls?
posted by Doofus Magoo at 5:51 AM on June 10, 2011

Seconding the spray bottles. Put ice cubes in them, as well.

We have one of those 10x10 canopies we put up, but misting them when they have a break does wonders and they love spraying eachother. So bring a few bottles.
posted by rich at 5:58 AM on June 10, 2011

Straw hats in assorted varieties. All the kids could have fun with them, and the wider-brimmed varieties should be decent for the girls (both genders may like the narrower Trilby/Porkpie variety for imitating pop stars).

And of course, fluids. Can't have a floppy straw hat without Hawaiian Punch...
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:59 AM on June 10, 2011

Keep the spray bottles in the cooler with the beverages. Also, and I really just can't recommend this enough, put the sunscreen in the cooler as well. It feels SO GOOD to apply it when it's icy like that.
posted by 8dot3 at 6:14 AM on June 10, 2011

Pour out about 1/4 of the water in bottled water, leave the cap off and freeze the bottle. Re-cap, and fill the cooler. It will melt, making ice-cold water, and while it's frozen, is nice for holding against neck, forehead, etc. Can you get a bunch of team caps? Getting the sun off your head (and out of your eyes) helps a lot.
posted by theora55 at 6:35 AM on June 10, 2011

oh from my days of growing up playing soccer i really loved chilled orange slices! put orange slices in the freezer the night before or cooler filled w/ ice, then let thaw throughout the game. it'll be a refreshing snack by the second round :)
posted by cristinacristinacristina at 6:46 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

My 7yo nephew plays soccer in Australia. They use just simple beach shelter/sunshade a bit like a tent without sides for the kids to shelter under. No sides means nothing to catch the wind and its really easy to put up and down. They only put that up on really hot sunny days.

The kids are responsible for bringing their own drinking bottles with water in, they want the kids to get into the habit of looking after their own hydration, and are encouraged to drink small regular amounts. They really push the hydration aspect (the climate where/when) he is when playing is hot and VERY dry.

The coaches bring do the standard frozen/cold orange quarters at half time and some extra water bottles in case they are needed. I've seen parents with squirt bottles of water, which seems a great idea, but most of the kids just stick their head under the hose at the end of the game to cool off. Their hair dries in no time and it cools them down no problems. Their shirts are made from a material that wicks sweat away too and that helps them keep cool.
posted by wwax at 8:45 AM on June 10, 2011

Freeze some energy bars in advance and pack them in the cooler; in addition to the aforementioned frozen orange slices, strawberries and pineapple slices could be included.
posted by Smart Dalek at 11:43 AM on June 10, 2011

posted by mutt.cyberspace at 1:02 PM on June 10, 2011

Yes to spray bottles & plenty of ice/water. We cut Frogg Toggs or other super absorbent cloths into smaller pieces and keep in the cooler.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 2:50 PM on June 10, 2011

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