At Little Rookies, our goal is to help grow your children into well-rounded athletes who love and excel at baseball. We’ve compiled a list of 10 games and activities to incorporate into your child’s day to help the inner athlete.
You are your children’s role model, their greatest hero. That’s why we encourage you to have an active role in these activities by doing them with your child. This not only serves as bonding time, but instills confidence and strength in your child.
1. START BIG – WITH A KICKBALL
Kickball is an exceptional way of getting your child accustomed to the basics of baseball, but without the bat and tiny ball. For 2-year olds, start with a beach ball or something light but large in size. Work on tossing, rolling, bouncing, and kicking the ball with them so they gain basic dynamic awareness as well as hand and foot coordination.
2. PLAY ‘BUBBLES AND BATS’
All you need for this game is a) bubbles and b) a cardboard paper towel roll or something similar in size (you can even just use your arms and hands!). The game is simple – blow bubbles for your children to pop with their cardboard “bat” or arms, and have them pop as many bubbles as they can, as fast as they can. This is a fun and easy way to test your child’s sense of surroundings and how they react under pressure.
3. UTILIZE YOUR LOCAL PLAYGROUND
This is one activity that we encourage you to let your child do alone (under your supervision, of course). Allow your child earn his or her own way on whatever apparatus they choose – monkey bars, ladders, slides and steps are excellent tools that build basic strength fundamentals. Your child will pull, push, squat, and fall – all key parts of growing as an athlete.
4. PUSHOVER PLANK
This one is simple, parents. Get on your forearms or hands into a full or supported plank. Then have your kid(s) try and push you over. Not only is this a funny and entertaining exercise, but it is valuable for your kids. It works their muscle strength while testing how they deal with frustration versus success.
5. PLAY TAG
This oldie but goodie encourages a competitive spirit while getting your child’s (and your) heart rate up!
6. PLAY THE CONCENTRATION GAME.
All you need is a set of cards (you can make your own set) with pairs of identical symbols or numbers on them. Start out with 8 pairs (so 16 cards total) and shuffle your cards, placing them face down into 4 rows of 4 cards. Have your child flip one card up and then another, and if they match place them aside. If not, place each card face down again until they find each matching pair. This tests your child’s patience while stimulating their mind and memory of certain positions.
7. FOLLOW THE LEADER
Also called “Mirror,” this game is meant to teach leadership and followership. You have to do whatever the child does, and then vice versa. Work on bear crawls or more difficult physical movements when you’re the leader, to test your child’s coordination and mobility. This will indicate how quickly your child reacts to sudden movements and tests their focus.
Many parents don’t realize how much value hopscotch provides. Help your child chalk out as intricate or simple of a grid as you’d like, and number each square. They will have to hop on one or two legs in the order of how the squares are numbered. This game teaches foot skills, coordination, balance and so much more. For older children, jump rope is an excellent alternative.
9. SOCCER PENALTY KICKS
Grab a couple of cones, rocks, or whatever markers you’d like to set up a “goal.” Stand in between your markers and have your child take a penalty kick, or in other words simply have them kick or throw a ball past you, the “goalkeeper.” As you move around, your child is learning how to deal with pressure and distraction.
10. PLAY THE BALANCE GAME
Take a spoon and place something small and round onto it, like an egg, golf ball or small wiffle ball. Then have your child walk with one or two hands holding the spoon a certain distance without letting the round object fall. This simple game helps your child learn hand-eye coordination, balance, stability and concentration.