How to Play Sports like a Toddler

My toddler LOVES sports. Actually, I think this is an understatement. He lives for sports from the moment he wakes up until the moment he falls asleep.

Are you a sports fan? Do you think you know all the rules? My toddler says you don’t. As with most things, toddlers have their own way of doing things and my toddler has made up his own (much improved) rules to several popular sports.

So, just in case you come over to visit, I would like to record the toddler-approved rules to baseball, soccer, football and hockey. (Because if you come over here, you will be playing one of them.)


My toddler’s current obsession is baseball. It is the first word he says in the morning and the last thing he talks about at night. I think we’re in trouble here. 

Where to play: Living room, in front of the new TV, watching baseball (Or Peppa Pig. That is also acceptable.)

The Rules:

  • Put your glove on the wrong hand. Try to throw a ball, but accidently throw the glove at the dog. Give up on the glove and make your mom wear it. Cry if she takes it off.
  • Insist everyone in the room wears a baseball hat. NO exceptions. How can you play baseball without a hat?
  • Throw the ball really hard at your mom when she is not looking. Refuse to throw the soft balls and opt solely for rubber balls that mom says belong to the dog. Too bad dog, they are mine now. When she throws the ball back, dive on the floor somewhere close to the ball. Roll around until you catch it or the dog steals it.
  • At some point, switch over to batting. Each time you swing the bat, throw the bat dramatically, even though you are not allowed. Throw a tantrum when your mom tells you no.
  • Every time you swing the bat, drop it and then run randomly around the room saying “Bases”. Slide across the floor and say “safe”. Any place will do, there are no real bases.
  • This rule is the most important. You must yell “Baseball!” at least every 30 seconds. I cannot stress how important this is to your success in the game.
  • If anyone stops playing for any reason, say “More baseball, please” until they start playing again. If you have to eat dinner, make them promise more baseball after dinner or you don’t eat. If you have a bath, bring the baseball and continue the game in the tub.

How to win: Hit mom in the face with the ball or get everyone to yell “Baseball”


Soccer. Cheap, outdoors and lots of running off energy – what’s not to like? Plus there are those orange slices.


Where to play: The kitchen while mom is cooking. Also, outside at the park

The Rules:

  • Kick the ball with your feet while yelling “kick”. Don’t kick it anywhere specific.
  • Don’t kick it at the net. I know that seems like bad advice. My mom keeps telling me to kick it in the net, but I think it’s better to kick it at the fridge. I love the fridge, so the ball probably will too. Maybe we can eat yoghurt after the game. I love yoghurt. Oh, wait, focus.
  • Get mad when my mom kicks it.
  • When playing outside, kick the ball really far, then point until mom says, “Over there?” Laugh hysterically and fall down. Do not get the ball.
  • Take a break to play on the slide.

How to win: Kick the ball really far and run in the opposite direction


Thankfully my toddler doesn’t know that much about football. It’s mom’s least favourite sport. 

Where to play: Living room, as close to the dog as possible

The Rules:

We are just learning this sport, so I only know a few things about it.

  • You must carry your baseball glove.
  • Throw the ball at Dad and then run in a circle. Fall down if you feel like it.
  • Tackle Dad every 20 seconds and yell loudly.

How to win: Not sure, but I like tackling


Hockey: A great Canadian past-time. My toddler’s 2nd favourite sport. 


Where to play: The kitchen

The Rules:

  • Find at least 10 balls. Line them up in the kitchen and call them pucks. Say puck so it sounds like a swear word. Do NOT share one with the dog.
  • Mom and Dad must both hold a stick, but NOT my special Maple Leafs stick. They may never sit down, but must play bent over with these tiny mini-sticks for the entire game.
  • Hit the ball hard around the kitchen while yelling “hockey! Hockey ball!”
  • Do not, under any circumstances let the ball go in the hockey net. This is important. Throw a tantrum when someone does this and then get that ball out of there. Yell, “Goal” if you’d like. (Optional) Then run down the hall really fast.
  • Stop every 4 minutes to roll on the floor. This is a crucial part of the game.
  • Hit your stick really hard against the floor for 2 minutes somewhere in the middle of the game. It’s hilarious.
  • Only enlist players who are busy or uninterested. Do not allow willing participants to play. The ones who want to play are trying to hustle you. Don’t fall for it.

How to win: Keep the ball out of the net, yell “Hockey ball” the loudest.

Well, it’s not all bad. If he trains hard enough now, he might make it to the big leagues one day and earn a lot of money. Or he may just have a lifelong hobby and that would be just as good.

Does your kid have a sports obsession? I would love to hear about any strange rules they’ve created.

 Photo credit: Vermin Inc via / CC BY-NC-SA3243120863_2ec46d0f9c_b.jpg


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