On April 1, 2021, for the first time since 1968, every team across the Major League Clubs will throw the first pitch of the season. Baseball has played a very active role in shaping our nation. From the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement, the game has come to be known as America’s pastime. Knock this month out of the park with the activity ideas below.
BATTING PRACTICE – Head outdoors and invite participants to step up to the plate for batting practice. Use plastic bats and Wiffle Balls. Pitch gently to participants, setting them up for a successful swing. If heading outside isn’t an option, instruct participants to swing at an inflated balloon using a pool noodle.
TABLETOP DICE BASEBALL – Don’t let April showers keep your group from playing baseball. Tabletop baseball can be played solo or in pairs. All you need is a scorecard, a pencil, and two dice. Click here – housewife eclectic – for official rules and printable scorecards.
JERSEY DAY – Encourage your group to sport their favorite baseball team’s jersey or hat on Opening Day. Ask administration to include staff. Set up a baseball photo booth and take photos of participants. Use an app or a photo service to create personalized baseball cards of participants.
DECORATE A PENNANT – Invite members to decorate a pennant that they can display in their rooms. Using white poster board, cut out a triangular pennant shape, about 20 inches in length. Provide participants with art materials, such as markers, stickers, glitter, glue, pom poms, and ribbon. Use tape to secure a small dowel rod to the back of the pennant.
BASEBALL REMINISCENCE – There are many ways to reminisce about baseball this month. Start by asking participants about their memories of attending a baseball game in person. What stadium did they go to and who did they see play? Do they have a favorite baseball player? Why? Has anyone been to a playoff game or World Series game? Ask them to describe their experiences at the game. Reminisce about stadium food and the overall experience at the park. Do they remember listening on the radio as their favorite team played? Switch gears to reminiscing about playing baseball in the backyard or at school. What did they use for bases? Did anyone play on a baseball team as a youth? End the session by singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
BASEBALL CARDS REMINISCENCE – Plan a separate reminiscence activity about baseball cards. Many members in your group may have collected baseball cards, negotiated trades, or rode through their neighborhood with baseball cards in the spokes of their bicycles. Purchase a few packs of baseball cards at a local store or resell shop. Were there any particular baseball players participants were hoping to add to their collection? What was the craziest trade they made? What memories do the cards evoke for them? What else do they remember about baseball cards?
STADIUM FOODS – You may not be able to take your group to Opening Day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the flavors of the stadium to your facility. Work with your dining team to serve up a baseball themed lunch for Opening Day. Serve hot dogs with all the toppings, soft pretzels, or nachos. Purchase miniature baseball helmet bowls and dish out soft-serve ice cream with sprinkles for dessert. If possible, watch part of a game on television.
BASEBALL MEMORABILIA DISPLAY – Invite members to display their favorite baseball memorabilia in a safe place, such as behind a locked display case or as a supervised walk-through activity. Memorabilia could include autographed baseballs, favorite baseball caps, vintage jerseys, bobbleheads, or other meaningful souvenirs from the park. Ask members to provide a brief memory associated with the item. Type the memories in large print for others to read.
THREE STRIKES, YOU’RE OUT TRIVIA – Gather up an assortment of baseball trivia and challenge your group to a friendly competition. Divide participants into two teams. Ask Team 1 a trivia question. Team members can work together to answer. If they answer correctly, they score one point. If they answer incorrectly, Team 1 gets a strike, their turn ends, and Team 2 gets to “step up to bat.” Continue back and forth, until one team receives three strikes. The team with the most points in the end wins. Use the trivia questions below to help get you started. Keep the questions evenly divided so that one team doesn’t have an unequal advantage.
VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME – Contact the National Baseball Hall of Fame to arrange a virtual tour of the museum. Another option is to take a virtual tour of your group’s favorite baseball stadium. Do an internet search of the stadium to see what’s available.
HOME PLATE DOOR HANGER – Using white poster board or heavy card stock, cut out a large pentagon shape for each person, about 12”x12.” Then, provide participants with an assortment of paint pens. Instruct them to decorate their home plate. They can use a red paint pen to draw the stitching of a baseball in the top right and bottom left corners of their home plate. They can hand write “HOME” or “There’s no place like HOME” in the middle. Once they’ve finished, use a hole punch to punch two holes near the top of the plate. String ribbon through the holes, securely knot, and use as a door hanger.
BASEBALL ON THE BIG SCREEN – There are no shortages of amazing movies that feature America’s favorite pastime. Select a few to watch with your group throughout the month. Our favorites include 42, A Field of Dreams, A League of Their Own, and Sandlot. Serve popcorn and Cracker Jack.
OPENING DAY RESOURCES
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OPENING DAY TRIVIA
- What team was Babe Ruth traded to in 1920, thus placing “the curse of the Bambino” upon the Red Sox? New York Yankees
- What is the oldest active ball park in Major League Baseball: Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, or Kauffman Stadium? Fenway Park
- Which baseball announcer was famous for his signature phrase, “Holy Cow!”? Harry Carey
- Which New York Yankee’s 56-game hitting streak was ended by pitcher Jim Bagby? Joe DiMaggio
- The Chicago Cubs’ supposed curse by which animal was finally broken in 2016 when the team won the World Series for the first time since 1945? Goat, or Billy Goat
- Who was the only member of the Cincinnati Reds’ “Big Red Machine”of the 1970s to be born and raised in Cincinnati: Ken Griffey, Sr., George Foster, or Pete Rose? Pete Rose
- Which baseball cultural icon is best known for his colorful sayings, such as “It ain’t over till it’s over” and “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore”? Yogi Berra
- Where is the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum located? Cooperstown, New York
- Which Major League Baseball team did Jackie Robinson play for, thus breaking the color barrier in the modern era? Brooklyn Dodgers
- Which baseball player was the first Major Leaguer to have his uniform number (4) retired by a team, and was later diagnosed with ALS in 1939? Lou Gehrig
OPENING DAY THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“Every day is a new opportunity. You can build yesterday’s success or put its failures behind and start over again. That’s the way life is, with a new game every day, and that’s the way baseball is.” ~Bob Feller
“Opening Day” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2021 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reprint Policy: To reprint or republish all or portions of this entry, please acquire written permission and agree to link back to the original source. You can contact us at [email protected] to obtain permission.