Baseball Basics

Swing, batter, batter, batter! Get your hotdogs here! Put me in coach! Strike 3, you’re out!

These are some of the things you might hear at a baseball game! Maybe you’re missing “America’s Favorite Pasttime,” or maybe you’ve never even held a baseball. Either way…

I’m ready to play,

Today,

Look at me,

I could be

Centerfield!

Below are activities that all have a Baseball theme. These activities include things that will help your child develop fine and gross motor skills, problem-solving and engineering skills, and can help them engage in cooperative play, while fostering creativity and perseverance. Each theme also comes with recommended literature and movie connections. Feel free to throw in your own activities that might relate, and don’t forget to post your results to social media and tag @discoverymuse to share with everyone else! 

Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity – Make Your Own Baseball Cards

For this activity, you’ll need some small, card-sized pieces of paper and coloring materials. You will be creating your very own baseball cards!

Each card-sized paper will feature one player. Use your coloring materials to create their image on the front of the card. Think about what color their uniform will be, what the team name will be and the position they will be posing in. On the back of each card, include the player’s name, the position they play, and a fun fact about them.

1887 baseball cards and 1994 baseball cards
Art Activity/Fine Motor Activity – Baseball Shape Artwork

For this activity, you’ll need to think of all the shapes on a baseball field. What shapes can you find? The bases are squares, the pitcher’s mound is marked with a rectangle in a circle, home plate is a pentagon, the space a batter waits their turn in is usually a circle, the batter’s box is a rectangle, the coaches boxes are rectangular, the ball is a sphere, the bat is a conical shape, and the playing field is oftentimes referred to as a “baseball diamond.” That’s also the odd, non-polygon shape of an entire field, that has a curved top and two straight sides that meet in a 90-degree angle.

Now that we know all these shapes, count up how many of each that there are. Can you design something else with all of those shapes? Maybe it can be related to baseball, but it doesn’t have to be. What can you create?

Science Experiment – Make Your Own Baseball

Modern baseballs are made of a cork core, rubber, yarn, and topped with a synthetic leather hide. Major league baseballs must measure between 9 and 9-1/4 inches around and weigh between 5 and 5-1/4 ounces.

Why do you think they have rubber or cork inside? Check out this video of a baseball being made.

As early as the 1870s, stores began carrying baseball equipment, for anyone who could afford it. However, baseball was a game often played by children, who created their own equipment, including balls and gloves! What material do you think would make the best baseball? Why?

Collect some material from around your house. Maybe use a bouncy ball for the center, some yarn, twine or string, and a paper bag for the outside. Wrap, twist, glue or tape it together. Can you make your own ball? Can it be thrown and caught without falling apart? And will it stand the ultimate test – hitting it with a bat?

Physical Activity

Get some of those wiggles out while learning a little about the basics of catching and throwing a baseball.

Use a glove for your non-dominant hand. This is the hand you will primarily use for catching. Your dominant hand should be reserved for throwing, though it will assist when catching. When catching a ball that is in-flight, you will hold your glove up to catch and use your un-gloved hand to make a “lid” on the catch. (This prevents the ball from popping out of your glove and possibly hitting you in the face!)

When catching a ball that is rolling at you, you will use the glove to “scoop” the ball up and again use the un-gloved hand as a “lid” to keep the ball in the glove.

To throw the ball, pick it up with the ungloved hand, and step back/lean back on the same leg. Step forward with the opposite leg, bring ball overhead, and release when the ball is near the top. 

“Laws of Baseball” Manuscript, 1857 – Library of Congress
Conversation Starters and Research Questions
Willie Mays, one of the greatest players of Major League Baseball, played for 22 years!
  • When was baseball started? If you started baseball and wrote the rules, what rules would you create? What if you could create silly rules? What silly rules would you create? Players must wear tutus up to bat? Players who do a backflip over home plate get extra points?
  • Where was the first professional baseball stadium built? Is it still standing? Have you been to it? How far is it from your house?
  • Have you ever been to a baseball stadium? How about a major league baseball stadium? Which team did you/would you root for?
  • Today is Willie Mays’s birthday. He was born on May 6, 1931 and is still alive today. Willie Mays was known as the “Say Hey Kid.” What nicknames do you know for other athletes?
  • Peanuts, hot dogs, and crackerjacks are “fan favorites” when it comes to food at the baseball field. What foods would you serve if you ran the baseball stadium?
“Hot dogs” for fans waiting for gates to open at Ebbets Field, Oct 6 1920. The original name for hot dogs was “dachshund sausages!”
Videos and Websites
Movie/Literature Connection:

Because we know you’re stuck at home with limited access to movies and books, we tried to compile a list that connects to today’s theme that you might already have in your collection or be able to access online. These include:

Uniform of Dorothy Ferguson Key (1923–2003), Rockford Peaches, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, 1945–1954. Courtesy of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Movies:

  • Sandlot
  • A League of Their Own
  • Bad News Bears
  • The Rookie
  • Field of Dreams

Books:

Music

  • Centerfield (Put Me In Coach) by John Fogerty
  • Load Up the Bases by Whiskey Falls
  • Baseball Boogie by Mabel Scott
  • Cheap Seats by Alabama
  • Did You See Jackie Robinson by Count Basie Orchestra
  • Right Field by Peter, Paul and Mary 
  • And of course…
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game!