Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Magic Poof - Finally A Book With a Character Who Looks Like My Kids!!

The lack of diversity in Children's Books has been a bit of a hot topic lately, a recent study shows that only 3% of children's books are about Latinos, even though nearly 25% of children in public school are Latino. Most studies suggest that perhaps 10% of children's books published over the last 18 years have multicultural content and/or characters -- a major disconnect with the population at large. 

As a parent of some absolutely multicultural kids, it is rare for a character in a book to look like them and reflect their family. (My husband's mother was from the Dominican Republic and his father's parents were from Canadian with African and Anglo ancestors. My parents are of English and German descent). The result?  Boys with curly (and often crazy) hair, blue eyes, tan skin. 

Dani Dixon, a talented writer friend of mine (who herself has a comic book series, 13, which is refreshingly diverse) suggested that I needed to check out The Magic Poof written and independently published by Stephen Hodges, a colleague of hers, and Illustrated by T. Kyle Gentry. Stephen happily offered me a copy. The second I saw the cover, I immediately knew why my friend thought of us when she saw his book..it is PERFECT for my boys. 

Seriously, a book about an African-American girl who has giant, curly hair that is magic!!! How could the boys not love it? 

When I came home with the book, Caterpillar immediately wanted to me to read it to him. I did, and he asked me to read it to him two more times (that makes 3 times in a row -- which is a lot for a not quite 2 year-old who rarely stays attentive for one full read-through of any book). 

When I showed it to Wild Thing, he gasped: "She has crazy hair just like me!" 

I know their hair has been crazier and has had more poof than it does in these photos, but I think you get the idea. Plus, these were taken at a standard photo set up not that different from the set up when we meet Ange-Marie who is getting ready for Picture Day at school.
The book ends with a fabulous picture of her and The Magic Poof taken on Picture Day.
The proof of impact of the book on Wild Thing lies in his actions. Even when I can't read it to him, he likes to just sit and quietly looked through the book, page by page, several times. I see how much he enjoys seeing someone in the pages that reminds him of himself, and I realize how rare that has been for him with most of the children's books we read. In fact, the book inspired him to name his hair too. The name he selected? Dumbo. Perhaps, he envisions his hair making him fly.

What I think makes the book special is the idea of giving a child's unique character trait its own persona, particularly a magical persona. I see how this book could empower any child who looks at themselves and sees something that is different from most of the children they know. Ange-Marie (our lead character) loves her Magic Poof and considers the Poof to be her best friend. This made me smile, as my brother is constantly reminding me that you have to make your insecurities your friend, rather than letting them consume you. Ange-Marie has done that. The biggest drawback for me was that I didn't feel that there was quite enough magic. In the book, we see that the Magic Poof can transform himself into any shape and can float Ange-Marie to the ceiling, but I just wanted more. I envision Ange-Marie becoming some type of superhero with her Magic Poof!! Given that Stephen has additional books planned, as well as an animated series, I am hoping to see a transformation with Ange-Marie becoming an amazing African-American female superhero in the future. 

If you're interested in finding more Picture Books with Diverse Characters, What Do We Do All Day recently shared 21 Picture Books with Diverse Characters and Pragmatic Mom has a wonderful Diversity Picture Books post as well. If you have a favorite book featuring a diverse character, please leave me a comment with the title so that I can add it to my library list. And, if you think you'd like to check out The Magic Poof yourself or learn more about the book and author, simply visit themagicpoof.com. I'll also be hosting a sponsored give away of the book soon, so check back or follow me on Facebook to make sure you don't miss it.

Finally, I'd love to know what makes your child unique. How do you celebrate this uniqueness? Please share! 

I'm sharing this at: Creative Kids Culture Blog HopMom's LibraryThe Sunday Showcase and Kid Lit Blog Hop.

Pssst...I thought I'd share a little bit about the author too: Stephen Hodges began his creative career in second grade by recording epic stories with his best friend. His love of storytelling and theater carried him through Arizona State University and into the film industry. One day, while working to help other industry creative types achieve their dreams, Stephen played with his wife's big poof of curly hair at the breakfast table before she'd had her tea. After enough time spent stretching her hair into shapes and giving it a funny voice, he came up with The Magic Poof. Upon vetting his idea with African-American and educational scholars, he set his own dream in motion. Stephen currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their star-in-the making Havanese dog, Buttercup. He is hard at work on the next Magic Poof book and animated series, as well as several other television projects. 
Booknificent Thursdays

Proud to be...

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop
You might also like: 
What We're Reading
Fall Festivals Around the World
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

{Project 101} Weekly Library Challenge: 1 Duck (on a Bike), 2 Lost Souls and 3 Cups of Tea -- What We're Reading Now

What are we reading now? Let me get you caught up as I think we're two weeks behind on sharing -- so I'll have two books for Tots and/or Preschoolers and two books for adults, which loosely connect to the travel theme I shared last time.

As my life gets busier, and I juggle the demands of our production company, our 2 little ones and, lately, hit-and-miss internet, I am finding that Project 101, my Weekly Library Challenge to share one book the boys love from the library for that week and one book I have been reading, really feels like a challenge now. The main challenge is keeping up with a weekly post about it as I write about other things too, along with the challenge of reading 1 book a week. Some weeks it is easy. Other weeks, it is pretty tough. Still, I am enjoying the journey and hope you enjoy it too. One of my favorite things is getting book suggestions from all of you, so always share what you are reading too! 

That being said, I love the library books the boys enjoyed over the last two weeks: Round Is A Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and, the classic, Duck On A Bike by David Shannon -- the huge hit this week! 

As a non-Spanish speaking mother whose husband is fluent (and whose extended family lives in the Dominican Republic), I love bilingual books and/or books that introduce Spanish words to children. Not only does, Round Is A Tortilla: A Book of Shapes do that, but, as the title suggests, it prompts learning of shapes and shape explorations. 

You can go on a shape hunt around your house or neighborhood. You can have a snack focused on different shapes: grapes (circles), tortilla chips (triangles), square crackers or toast, etc. Wild Thing loves pointing out that the mountains surrounding our home look like triangles! Oh - and we've learned a lot about octagons, thanks to Stop signs! 

Duck On A Bike by David Shannon ranks up there as one of the favorite library books we've ever checked out. Both Wild Thing and Caterpillar absolutely love it. My favorite moment with the book came last Saturday, when we rechecked it. As I organized all of the books in my library bag, my husband and the boys sat on a bench outside of the library, and he read them the book. Lovely.Typically as we read, the boys each wave and say hello to the animals along with Duck. Then, they also make whatever animal sound in response. I love our active reading experience. We also added Duck to our Bicycle Bin for some extra fun too!

It's not the best photo, but you can see more of our bin here!
As for what I've been reading, two weeks ago I shared books that reflected my travel book obsession allowing me to experience far-flung places from the comfort of my own home. The two books I'm sharing this week relate to that theme a little bit -- one more than the other. 

As a filmmaker, I enjoy reading books that have been made into films. I like to see how the two products differ based on their mediums. Sometimes, I realize that the subject and story really needed to be a book. At other times, I find myself appreciating the job the filmmaker did to stay true to the book, but translate it to a visual medium. The best is when I find myself appreciating them both in their own ways, as was the case with this book.

Through Wild Thing, I acquired an interest in bees. What I enjoyed the most about the book was all of the additional insight into bees that I gained. Complex and beautiful creatures that provide so much for our ecosystem and can, as Sue Monk Kidd shows, teach us so much about life. The book follows two lost souls on their journey to find a new home. It also allows you to travel back in time. Sadly, recent events have shed light on the continued racial strife and racism still present in the U.S. today. As I read, I thought of how much has and has not changed since the 1960s (the story is set against the backdrop of the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited racial discrimination at the polls). As I raise multi-ethnic children, my hope is that we can make more progress in creating a society (a global society) of equality. There is much to be done to get there. 

The other book I recently finished is a book that inspired many to support the author's work in Pakistan and Afghanistan to build schools. Unfortunately, recent investigations and reports point to the fact that much (if not all) of the book is fabricated and that the non-profit organization has a questionable financial record and has not built as many schools as it claims to have supported. I am grateful to Adventure Bee for bringing this to my attention. Clik here to watch the 60 minutes segment that lays out, quite clearly, the problems with the book and the questionable practices of the non-profit.

You might also like: 
Project 101: Books That Inspire
Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sensory Play & Experiential Art From Nature AKA Lavender is for Boys Too

When we moved to our rural home we inherited a gorgeous, large lavender bed, which provides countless sensory possibilities and explorations for my boys who are naturally drawn to it -- the vibrant color (except for right now in the hot, arid summer) and the overpowering scent. Red Ted Art recently did a Lavender Hang-Out and shared amazing Lavender Make and Bakes, which inspired us to do some new lavender explorations and to share those alongside all of our other lavender sensory play experiences and creations.  

The lavender initially attracted Wild Thing about a year ago when his interest in bees was peaked by Winnie the Pooh, some books we were reading and the real bees that buzzed around the lavender bed. We made a wonderfully engaging Bee Sensory Bin with the lavender included.  

Next, The Imagination Tree and Connecting Family and Seoul inspired us to try herbed playdough. Of course, we made ours with lavender, and I learned to embrace playdough play with my boys instead of dreading it. (If you also feel intimidated by playdough sometimes, particularly making your own, check out this great post featuring Tips on Playing with Playdough and Playdough Recipes from JDaniel4s Mom).

Now for the new activities we did this week with thanks to Red Ted Art for inspiration. We started with contact paper, lavender and spices. We shook and pulled the lavender off its stalk so that it would stick to the contact paper and sprinkled spices on the paper too. (Sorry - I didn't get any good photos of our contact paper art).

Next, we decided a painting experiment would be fun. We wanted to see if we could use lavender as a paintbrush and turn some spices into paint. The spice element was inspired by Learn with Play at Home and Nurture Store. It was an interesting sensory experience. 

We picked some lavender. Alongside it, I laid out a small jar of water and some spice packets I purchased on clearance recently. I also spread out a large piece of water paper on the boys' picnic table. Caterpillar happened to be napping at the time, so this experiential art exploration was just for Wild Thing -- and he really enjoyed it. 

I loved the outcome and the streaks and strokes the lavender created. 

For quite some time I've wanted to make Mind Jars/Meditation Jars/Calm Jars with the boys -- ever since Awesomely Awake shared them in a beautifully written post on How to Raise Peaceful Children. She linked to Our Mind Jar by Here We Are Together

A neighbor brought us two bell jars, I (finally) got some glitter glue at the 99 cent store and decided I wanted to add some fresh lavender and lavender oil to them as well for an extra calming and soothing element. The process of making them engaged both Caterpillar and Wild Thing completely and had them asking for days to work on the jar again and again. (In fact, I think Caterpillar could work on his everyday. He loves squirting the glitter glue in the jar, smelling the lovely lavender scent and then shaking the glitter glue worms all around!)

I added some Montessori real-life skills practice into the process as well, letting Wild Thing pour the water into his jar himself using the small creamer I bought at a thrift store months ago so that he could pour milk on his cereal by himself. Caterpillar wanted to pour too, but needed help from Mommy. 

I loved how beautiful the jar looked with the fresh lavender just in...

Caterpillar LOVES to squirt the glitter glue into the jar. It takes a lot of pressure to do it, so there are developmental benefits too as he works on his grip to squirt out the glue.

Finally, time to shake! 

The other night before we went bed, we shook ours up and sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star as we watched the glitter swirl around and, finally, settle. I will say, the lavender did make the water in one of the jars turn brown, but the smell when we open the jars is divine! I think we will probably add food color to the brown water jar, and both jars could use a bit more glitter. Still, I'm so glad we finally made these. The boys absolutely love them -- and I do too! 
What sensory and art experiences does nature inspire for you? 

You might also like:
Kids Get Arty: Inocente
All You Need Are Sticks
Little Blue + Little Yellow Sensory Play

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

{Kid's Co-Op} 12 Sensory Play for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers

We love sensory play and got inspired to do some sensory play focused on lavender recently by Red Ted Art's Lavender Ideas -- Makes and Bakes. Friday I'll be sharing our favorite sensory experiences using lavender, which we have a huge amount of in our yard. For now, enjoy these fun sensory experiences from The Kid's Co-Op this past week. I'm kicking it off with Ice Play -- perfect for summer! 

Reading Confetti shared 12 Ice Activities shared from The Kid's Co-Op, Learn Play Imagine's Fun in the Sun Watercolor Ice Art would be a great art activity to engage reluctant artists, and Life With Moore Babies has a cool Star Sensory Table featuring sparkly ice stars. We also love painting with ice and sensory ice play as you can see from our Babies through Pre-K Ice Play post from last Fall

Caterpillar loved iced play even as a baby, but if you want to do sensory play with your little one without the mess, School Time Snippets shows how simple it is to make Sensory Balls for Babies and Wildflower Ramblings put together a perfect purple Treasure Bin for her little one to explore

However, if you're don't mind messy sensory play, some fabulously fun-looking sensory experiences were shared by Learn Play Imagine and Preschool Powol Packets, who both used shaving cream (with some colors mixed it): Shaving Cream and Watercolors from Learn Play Imagine (her boys are almost exactly the same age as mine and had such fun that I have to give this a try) and Frosty Summer Fun for Preschoolers from Preschool Powol Packets

Another fun, messy sensory experience would be to Brave the World of Slime like Craftulate did -- it looks very cool!

Finally, if you're heading to the beach this weekend, keep in mind the fun sensory possibilities the beach can provide. Fantastic Fun and Learning shared several

Oh -- and last, but definitely not least. Don't forget about Playdough! JDaniel4's Mom shares a simple recipe for making Playdough for Play and reviews Cathy from the Nurture Store's Homemade Playdough Recipe Book.

Sharing at: Sharing Saturday, Montessori Monday, Tuesday Tots, Artsy Play Wednesday, Mom's Library, and It's Playtime

Now, it's time for The Kid's Co-Op. Link Up and Play!! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

{Kid's Co-Op} Let's Pretend: 5 Play Activities that Encourage Imaginative Play

In April, I started a new monthly series focused on Sibling Play, primarily for Tot/Preschool Children, since I have a 3.5 year-old (Wild Thing) and almost 2 year-old (Caterpillar). The idea is to share simple, sibling play ideas. I kicked it off with a Kid's Co-Op post highlighting Baby School (led by an older Sibling), Bubble Play, a post on Toddler Hitting and my own simple playdough and coloring activities (on the floor!). In May, Mama Smiles shared about Simple Sandbox Play for Siblings (a big hit with us too), and I followed last month with Simple Water and Nature Play

This month, I'm sharing a simple pretend play activity I often set up for the boys (most often at dinnertime when I am cooking). I give them some simple baking/cooking materials, such as flour or cornmeal in a muffin tin or other baking/cooking container with some spoons and, often, water. They love it and I get dinner made! They enjoy pretending to make and serve dinner themselves. If they play without water, then I always save the flour or cornmeal to reuse the next time to avoid waste. 

I also am sharing some of the pretend play/imaginative play posts from The Kid's Co-Op last week that jumped out at me as things my boys would love to do -- separately and together!

Living Montessori Now shared Simple Excavation Sensory Tubs. Wild Thing's interest in fossils continues to grow. I know he would love pretending to be a paleontologist! (Caterpillar loves the sensory experience of cornmeal and sand, so he would enjoy it too).

Wild Thing and Caterpillar both love animals and maps, so Diego and Dora always get their attention. For Wild Thing, we'll get DVDs from the library. For Caterpillar, books. These binoculars from Powerful Mothering would totally encourage even more Dora and Diego Pretend Play (which Wild Thing would LOVE as he spent almost the entire time at the park yesterday pretending to be Diego and rescuing animals). We made some much more basic binoculars for our rabbit exploration last month, but I've been encouraged by Powerful Mothering to kick it up a notch.  

I always love seeing what Mummy Musings and Mayhem is up to, and this week was no different. She shared many imaginative adventures and reminded me of the fun in Pretend Play as a Construction Crew. Last summer, Wild Thing made a road out of sand and water, but Caterpillar was too young to join in the fun. I think we will have to do this activity again this summer. Thanks, Mummy Musings for the reminder! 

Finally, My Nearest and Dearest shared their Soap Factor Pretend Play, which looked so fun! My boys would love mixing together different concoctions. 

Plus, one more...Not from The Kid's Co-Op, but too cool not to share. Giant Duck Pond World for Pretend Play from Two Daloo. A big thank you to My Nearest and Dearest for sharing this on her Facebook page today!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

{Kids Get Arty} Discovering Molly Upton, A Painter Who Worked in Cloth

I truly love participating in Kids Get Arty, a bi-monthly project created by Red Ted Art to encourage the exploration of great artists with children. Since my boys are 3.5 and not-quite-2, selecting an artist and art project they can understand and emulate, even a bit, is sometimes a challenge. However, I enjoy the challenge and enjoy that, often, the projects are family art projects that all of us create together. 

This month when I was contemplating our artist for Kids Get Arty, my mother was visiting. My mom is a quilter, and I was thinking about quilting as an art. So, I did some handy internet research and discovered Molly Upton. Scott Ruescher, in an Arts Editor article writes of an Upton show at Wellesley and how it gave him the "..the opportunity to see how the quilts make art of craft, supporting the claim that Upton was a painter who worked in cloth." 

As I looked at the quilts, I couldn't help but agree. I also thought of the quilts that fill my own life. You see, I am honored to have a mother who is a talented seamstress and quilter. I wish I had stunning photos of each of her quilts to share (and of the quilts that have been in our family for who knows how long), particularly of the quilt that she made me for my 18th birthday. She saved scraps from EVERY dress and/or garment she had ever made me and included them all in a beautiful quilt. She selected the quilt pattern with her grandmother (my great-grandmother). The name of the pattern, I believe, was Road to Indiana, the state of my birth. My sons also have quilts made lovingly by her, which we treasure and enjoy. 

The Upton quilt that struck me the most was Forest Fire. I loved the artistry and story the quilt told. I truly saw in it what Ruescher saw, which is that Upton painted with cloth. 
Image from Arts Editor

This quilt inspired our Upton art project. My mother brought with her when she visited a container full of fabric scraps. With two young boys to involve, I thought actually quilting or sewing the fabric would be a bit too challenging, so we decided to create a quilt-inspired image on cardboard by glueing fabric onto the cardboard. At first, I put out a rather large box, thinking that might be easier. However, I discovered that it made it hard for Wild Thing to grasp the importance of putting the cloth pieces near one another to evoke any type of image, story or art piece. It became very much a process experience, which both boys enjoyed, rather than a product experience. 

He did add more pieces over time, but the spacing remained much like this.

The boys were focused and enjoyed it and asked to do it again. This time, I set the activity up with a smaller piece of cardboard, and we looked at the Upton quilt talking about how she put different shades together representing the sky, the fire and the grass. 

My husband took this photo of us with his phone. In this particular image, Wild Thing is enjoying telling Mommy what to do! 
Providing the smaller "canvas" or "quilt frame" (so to speak) for them and talking about matching colors made a big difference. Wild Thing also became obsessed this time with covering the entire piece of cardboard, so that nothing showed through. I'm quite fond of our end result. I think rather than Forest Fire, I think we created Flowers in Spring.

I send gratitude to Red Ted Art. Kids Get Arty this month led me to enhance my understanding of and appreciation for quilts and to discover a very talented artist whose quilts and tapestries truly demonstrate the creativity, skill and imagery that can be created from mere fabric scraps.

 You might also like: 

Kids Get Arty: Romero Britto
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

{Virtual Book Club for Kids} Move, Eat, Draw & Learn with Hit the Ball Duck by Jez Alborough

I really love the Virtual Book Club for Kids. I enjoy seeing all of the creative ways parents and educators explore books with children. I have also discovered many wonderful new authors, like we did this month with Jez Alborough. Each month, we Move, Eat, Draw and Learn with a selected book (or books) from the author for that month. This month, I did not get my library request in earlier enough to get a book copy, but instead found a great reading of one of Jez’s books on Youtube: Hit the Ball, Duck by Richard Step. It was the perfect story for Wild Thing, who really loves baseball, and we had so much fun moving, eating, creating and learning with the book. 

Move - Even with little ones, baseball promotes gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination and lots of physical activity. Well before they can make contact and hit the ball consistently (or at all), they can enjoy different elements of baseball. Wild Thing, who is 3 1/2 can hit a plastic ball with his plastic bat now quite well. Caterpillar (almost 2) rarely makes contact, but enjoys trying and is now starting to be able to throw a ball up to himself and hit it at times. We often will hold the ball out for him to hit, since we do not have a tee. My boys also love going to the baseball field near our neighborhood park/playground and running around the bases -- a great workout for the boys and me! Wild Thing and Caterpillar also love to pretend, so I will pretend to throw a baseball and they will pretend to hit, or they will throw to me and I will pretend to hit. Wild Thing loves deciding who is out, who gets a strike and who hits a home run! 

Eat - For lunch today, I made a simple baseball treat: an English muffin topped with cream cheese and some strawberry jam in a baseball pattern. Simple and fun! I am hoping to try out some no-bake coconut cookie balls too -- perhaps sprinkles for the red stitching. We’ll see...

Draw - We often do big art projects right on the floor. I will tape posters down so the boys can color while sitting on the floor, giving them plenty of space to create. Recently, I taped a large plastic tablecloth on the floor for painting projects. First, we did an open-ended art project that became a tree. Next, on a different section of the same table cloth turned over and taped to the ground, we painted a baseball field. 

You can see our tree showing through from the other side of the table cloth.

Then, you’ll see how Hit the Ball Duck inspired some pretend stuffed animal play on both the baseball field. 
In the book, Duck, Goat, Sheep and Frog go to the park to play baseball. (You'll see in our pretend play that Rabbit got to play too!) Duck hits the ball into a tree and then proceeds to throw the bat and glove in the tree as he tries to get the ball out. Instead, everything gets stuck in the tree. Finally, the animals climb up to get the items out. So, the tree we had previously painted on the tablecloth also came in handy as we did pretend play and retold the story.
Learn - I love providing my son with opportunities and activities that encourage retelling stories, which is so important for literacy. Recently, Caterpillar and I decided working on transforming our Red, White and Blue Holiday Bin into a Baseball Bin. 

We took everything except the red and white buttons and a few stars out of the Red, White and Blue Bin.
Then, we added in the baseball erasers (I got them at Rite-Aid for $1) and some of our green pasta that we've used in bins in the past.
Here is Caterpillar enjoying the bin. He especially loved using tweezers to try and pick up the buttons and baseball erasers.
After “reading” Hit the Ball Duck, I realized it would be perfect to add elements to the baseball bin so that it could be a storytelling bin to go with the book. So, we added a duck and a frog. I did not have a goat or sheep toy or picture to add, so instead I added the letter S for the Sheep and G for Goat. Since, we were using letters to represent two of the key characters in the story, I also wrote Duck on the Duck and a letter F on the Frog. I also added a small branch to represent the tree in the book. Oh, and Lightning McQueen worked perfectly as the red car that Duck, Goat, Frog and Sheep ride in as they head to the park for their game of baseball. 

Wild Thing took this picture of Frog, Duck, Sheep (S), Goat (G), the baseball, bat and glove all taking the car to the park.
Wild Thing enjoyed retelling the story with the bin and its props. After we told it a few times, sometimes referencing the video book to make sure we were getting the story right, I decided to extend his learning experience and got a box of word cards that we have and our milk cap letters. We looked through the word cards to see if we could find any words that came up in the story (again, we would sometimes consult the video book if we weren’t sure). We found: Stop, Go (these two words are two of the first words Wild Thing ever recognized), Goat, No and Tree (we’ve done many literacy activities that have included this word in the past, particularly an activity for the book Trouble with Trolls, and we revisited the word again when we read There Was A Tree). 

After we added those word cards to the bin since they belonged to the story, Wild Thing spelled each of the words using his milk cap letters. He decided himself to place the words with their corresponding cards when he finished spelling. 

Finally, the bin itself had the word baseball on it. I covered the first half and just encouraged him to focus on spelling Ball. As he did the spelling, I sounded the words out for him. I knew he was primarily matching letters, but also wanted to demonstrate the phonetic components of the words as part of the spelling process as a way to encourage his early literacy learning and understanding. 

We had lots of fun with this book and with the pretend play that grew out of it. 

Another great learning opportunity that playing baseball provides is shapes with circles and/or spheres (the baseballs), diamonds (the field and 1st-3rd base) and a pentagon for home plate.

Bonus Tip: Take the kids to a ball game! My boys love going to baseball games, and we recently discovered our local minor league team. I highly encourage you to see if there is a minor league team in your area. Tickets are much cheaper ($10 each in our case). They offer lots of fun ways for families to enjoy the game. At our field, there is a grassy area for children to play in while watching the game, a section of bouncers and jumpers (there is an additional fee for those), T-shirts being thrown into the stands on a regular basis and a mascot roaming around meeting the kids. Children also got to run across the outfield at the end of the 7th inning. Minor league teams often have promotional events/items to encourage attendance. At the game we attended, the boys each got a ticket for a free kids meal (hot dog, chips and drink), and you can get really close to the field, which makes it easier for children (especially younger kids) to get interested in the game. 

Sharing at: Link and Learn, Montessori Monday, Tuesday Tots, Eco-Kids Tuesday, Artsy Play Wednesday, and It's Playtime!