Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The boys and I have been doing a mini unit study on the letter “B” which of course, includes baseball!  For a craft we opted to do the one below.

B is for Baseball
Baseball Bat Craft

Things you’ll need:

  • White construction paper
  • Brown construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie or other permanent marker
  • Pencil
  • Red paint
  • Red crayon

On the brown piece of construction paper, draw the outlines of a baseball bat with a sharpie and on the white paper, draw out a circle.  The kids will cut these out in the first step.


My 6-year old doesn’t really need much practice with his scissors these day but this part was a perfect way for my 3-year old to get some additional practice cutting.


You can see that he was quite proud of his cut out bat and ball.


On the white construction paper circle, use a pencil to create the lines on a baseball if your little one needs some extra help.


Then, have them trace over the lines with a red crayon.


Have your child dip his finger into the red paint and gently add the threads on the baseball lines.


When they are all finished you should have a baseball with red fingerprint threading.


After the baseball has had a chance to dry, glue it to the bottom of the bat forming a “b”.  For our little 3-year old, his “B is for Baseball” craft was just the perfect way to help him remember his letter of the week.


Baseball Popcorn Balls

All that crafting will certainly work up an appetite so in keeping to the theme of baseball, the boys and I whipped up some popcorn balls.

We followed a recipe found on Allrecipes.com

Basically all you’ll need is:

  • light corn syrup
  • margarine
  • water


  • Popcorn


  • Powdered sugar
  • Marshmallows


Have your master chef (with a lot of adult supervision) heat all the ingredients minus the popcorn till it comes to a boil on the stovetop.


How cute is he??


Coat popcorn with mixture until the mixture is evenly coating all of the popcorn kernels.


Heavily grease your hands with shortening, shape into balls and set aside on some wax paper while they set up a bit.


Grab some Twizzlers and add the baseball lines to the popcorn balls.


And there you have it!  A snack just perfect for the little sluggers in your household.



Author: Rachel Skvaril
Sugar Artist



Testing the Ice

Author:  Sharon Robinson
Illustrator:  Kadir Nelson

6a00d834518cc969e2012875bf8537970c-800wiJackie Robinson is known for breaking the color barrier in  Major League Baseball.   His daughter, Sharon, honors her father’s memory as she weaves a tender metaphor of his life.  She shares the dramatic story of the family’s first winter in Connecticut.  The lake the kids swam in during the summer was now freezing over and Sharon, her brothers, and the neighbor children were all excited about ice skating, but someone must test the ice depth for safety.

As we lined up along the lake’s edge, Dad eased onto the snow-covered ice. 

The ice crackled beneath his feet.  Before he placed one big foot in front of the other, he tapped the ice with his broomstick, testing it for weaknesses or cracks. Tap, tap, tap.

Only when Jackie is sure that he has tested for any danger, does he turn and announce to the children that it is safe for them to proceed.

On other occasions, the children question Jackie about his historic entry into Major League Baseball, about his trophies, numerous plaques, and awards.  Wide-eyed, they listen to the stories of the difficult early years for a black player breaking into the sport.   No one knew what would happen,  just as when he ventured out onto the ice. But he felt his way along an untried and unknown path – like a blind man tapping for clues.  Jackie Robinson – one of America’s finest heroes.

Mary Byrne Kline

1.  How is the title “Testing the Ice” a metaphor?
2.  Why didn’t Jackie ever go into the water?
3.  What Major League team did Jackie Robinson play for?





I Have A Dream

Author:  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Illustrator:  Kadir Nelson

I Have DreamOf all the speeches that have been given in our nation’s capital, few have had the lasting impact of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech of over 50 years ago.  His memorable words, calling for the freedom and equality of all people, regardless of the color of their skin, still echo in our hearts today.


I don’t suppose there is a person born who hasn’t at one time or another had a dream of what they wished their life to be.  Parents dream of great futures for their children, hoping to provide them with every advantage to make those dreams a reality.  The “dream” of Martin  Luther King, Jr. ran deep in his soul – it was a dream for our nation, a nation he believed in and loved.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'”

The illustrations in this book are magnificent paintings.  One of the most touching is of Dr. King’s little children, with the words of the speech which say;

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”  His prayer was that one day all of God’s children would be able to sing My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.  In order for America to thrive and truly be a great nation, the words “let freedom ring” must be true for everyone.


The book includes a CD of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s original speech.   The speech is also printed in its entirety in the back of the book.

Mary Byrne Kline


Night Boat to Freedom

Author:  Margot Theis Raven
Illustrator:  E. B. Lewis

What color is freedom tonight?

UnknownAs a young girl, Granny Judith was tempted onto a slave ship with a piece of pretty red cloth.  Now she’s become a master of dying and weaving cloth into beautiful quilts from squares of “freedom colors.”   These are colors that are worn by slaves who have been smuggled across the river from Kentucky to the free state of Ohio.   Because Granny Judith is unable to physically row the needy slaves to freedom, she enlists the help of twelve-year-old Christmas John.   To reassure him as he knows there are patrollers with whips and bloodhounds searching for run-away slaves, Granny Judith says, “What scares the head is best done with the heart.”

After each dangerous journey, Granny Judith is waiting for Christmas John to tell her what color the newly freed slave was wearing on their “Night Boat to Freedom.”  It is those colors that she then puts into her quilt.

Late one night she hands Christmas John a fine new shirt she’s woven and dyed.  “It’s your freedom color” – she smiled – ” ’cause tonight you’ve got to row yourself to safety.”

What will Christmas John do?
Will he leave Granny Judith and make his way to freedom?
Will he be caught trying to escape?

 This book  was inspired by true accounts in the WPA’s Slave Narrative Collection.  Night Boat to Freedom is like Granny Judith’s quilt: patches of truth stitched together by voices alive with history.

1. How would you describe the relationship between Granny Judith and Christmas John?

2. What does the phrase, “What color is freedom tonight?” mean?

3. What could have resulted if Christmas John hadn’t had ground-up Indian turnip pouches late one night?

Mary Byrne Kline