I love the big Grand Slams, and have been lucky enough to have gone to each of the Big 4 at least once, and having lived in London 10 years and Melbourne a few years to Wimbledon and the Australian Open many times.
I want to expose my kids to the international atmosphere, the buzz of the crowd and the excitement of watching the worlds best play for the ultimate prize.
Thus this is the second year I’ve taken all 3 of my kids to the Australian Open. We buy a family ground pass (about $90), take the day off work during the first week of the tournament and then spend the day from opening at 10am till dinner time at 6/7pm.. the kids can get tired by the end as its a full day.
And the Aussie Open makes a real effort to make the tournament kid friendly. Case in point the excellent kids fun day on the Saturday before the start of the tournament – which my kids loved – is now firmly on our calendar.
Things my kids loved definetly included
Sponsors giveaways – from chocolate milk (off the train on the walk to the gates), Ski yogurt tubs to Cadbury chocolate getting little treats is a kid favourite
Sponsors games - RFID enabled smart cards are now mainstream and we kept them around our necks to checkin to activities from Kia’s racecar simulator to Optus’s speed serve. The kids also loved the studio in a box approach that seemed to be everywhere having their photos taken on court, at locations around Victoria..etc
Minicourts - for having a hit. Tennis Australia is making a big push to get more kids into the game and so had a few courts set up for quick 4 minute hits. My mini Federer and Williams had a ball. And the sand court was a bit of fun as well.
Player favourites - my seven year old son was keen on Andy Murray for the first half the day, had a photo in front of a poster of Andy to seal it until he found David Ferrer in a practice session and changed is number one status… Andy is now no 2.
Court time - I won’t lie and say sitting to watch matches is my kids favourite. They’ll watch for bursts of 30 minutes at a time but then having an ipod/games and some snacks on hand is the only way to get through a whole set for us. While I love being on some of the main courts for first day singles we’ve found outside courts and doubles matches also allow the kids to make a bit more noise and feel like they have a bit more scope to move around (my kids have troubkle with the keep quiet during play and luckily tennis stands are now much louder than they use to be)
Sunny in the stands....
Food - while like any sporting event the food is likely to be twice as expensive and half as good as what ou can get outside, we pack a picnic lunch to be eaten in the stands while play is on (and a kids mouth chewing is pretty quiet) supplemented by sponsor snacks and buying an icecream on a hot day.
Have a great day at the tennis!