Columnist George Will remarked, “We are a nation composed largely of failed baseball players.” Be that as it may, baseball still has a very special place in many of our hearts. Nearly all of us played growing up, and the triumphs and tragedies of our Little League experience live with us to this day.
Baseball is also a great catalyst for family closeness, as this classic clip from Field of Dreams shows when Ray gets to have a game of catch with his “deceased” father. But why wait until you can build a supernatural ballpark in the middle of Iowa in order for baseball to help you further connect with your children?
We have put together 10 ways to enjoy the MLB playoffs as family:
1. Throw a Party
Whether it’s a small get together with just family and friends, or a massive blowout the neighbors will not soon forget, a family-friendly house party is a great experience for your children. Lasting memories are always created.
2. Teach the Game
It is likely that not everyone in the family is well-schooled in the intricacies of major league baseball. “Dad, what in the world is a bunt?” “I thought hit and run was a crime?” Baseball 101 is in order before the first pitch. No need to make it complicated, but the game is much more fun with a basic understanding.
3. Sports and Charity
Major league sports are among the biggest supporters of important charities and non-profit organizations in America. One possible way to teach a great lesson in giving is to start a fund for each time a team hits a home run. Choose a cause or organization in your community, and let each member of the family pledge what they are able to share. To instill this quality in our children ensures hope in the future.
4. Research History
Professional baseball has been played in America since the 1800s. The National League was founded in 1876 and the American League in 1901. The game is as much a part of America as any institution that could be named. Have fun with the kids by researching the great moments and players of the past.
5. Teachable Moments
The game of baseball mirrors ordinary life in many ways. The mental aspect is every bit as important as the physical. Strategy, wisdom, instinct, and burning desire are just a few of the qualities constantly on display. These are teachable moments if we use them.
6. Get Outside and Play
A fun pre-game activity could be to have a casual family game of baseball outside before the first pitch. Purchase a wiffle ball and bat, and the whole family will be laughing and running around with big smiles. Your kids can pretend to be their favorite players, and watch out because they might just go yard on you.
7. 7th Inning Stretch
The intermission between the top and the bottom of the 7th inning in baseball is known as the “7th inning stretch.” At the stadium, traditional songs are played and fans stand up to stretch their legs and get ready for the exciting finish. Plan a fun time at your house during this moment as well. A family sing-a-long of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and some clowning around is all that is required to make a memory.
8. Baseball Food
Watching sports and eating go hand in hand. In baseball that means hot dogs, peanuts, and crackerjacks. If you can’t talk the wife into keeping it strictly traditional, it is quite ok if she provides healthier options as well, but with one simple rule: they have to be baseball themed. There are many sites online for great ideas for fun and healthy treats.
9. Dress Up
Get in the spirit by wearing the jerseys and hats of your favorite team. It just feels more festive that way. A cheaper and very fun alternative is to buy your children blank t-shirts in the color of your favorite team, and allow them to design your own team apparel. The shirts and design materials can be found at any local craft store.
10. Bring the Stadium Home
Unless you are one very lucky family, you most likely will not be at the game in person. Bring the fun and pageantry of the stadium to your house by decorating. The whole family can get involved by making posters, decorations, championship banners, and anything the creative minds of your family can come up with. The key ingredients to any great stadium atmosphere are the positive joyful faces inside of it.
One of my favorite baseball memories growing up was…