A fun activity to send to your grandkids.
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What better way to celebrate spring than a virtual trip to spring training? For baseball fans, nothing equals seeing your favorite teams in a more relaxed setting. Spring training reminds us that the sport of baseball is actually just a game, best played for the fun of it. And since children and fun go hand-in-hand, baseball makes a great theme for a package to send the grandkids!
For my young grands, who come from a family sadly lacking in sports fervor, baseball is an untapped subject. This meant I needed to not just send them a bat and ball, but to find a way to share the game itself. This took a little creative thinking, but here’s what I came up with:
First, something to wear to get into character. I resisted my urge to outfit them with Dodgers caps, being afraid that labeling them as LA fans would be problematic in their southern state. Of course, it also saved me money to choose generic baseball caps! I got these for the older two, and this darling one for the one-year-old. She loved it, as you can see from the picture!
They loved this ball and bat set from Franklin Sports. I considered a tee as well, but my son just stuck a piece of PVC pipe in the ground and that worked just fine. Check out the video on my Facebook page!
Next books, of course! Let's Play Baseball is a lift-the flap book that introduces baseball words and concepts. Like too many board books, the subject matter is not geared towards babies, but she loves the flaps. Since my grands have no familiarity with the sport, I sent My Baseball Book, which explains how the game is played with easy to understand terms and colorful pictures.
If you’ve already got a baseball fan, or your grands are a bit older, you might like Baseball for Kids: A Young Fan's Guide to the History of the Game, which includes an engaging history and biographies of some of the greatest players. And finally, I added Randy Riley's Really Big Hit by Chris Van Dusen. I liked the message of this charming story about a boy genius who loves baseball. Though he’s not very good at the game, his knowledge of baseball helps him save the day when there is a giant fireball headed at the earth.
The baseball cards I added as an afterthought turned out to be the biggest hit with the older two. They spent hours studying, sorting and trading them, despite being unable to read and having no idea who any of the player were. I really wanted to include Cracker Jack, but skipped it out of respect for the parents who would have to deal with the sugar high. That will have to wait for a real trip to the ballpark someday--hopefully to Dodger Stadium!