With exposure comes familiarity. If a kid is familiar with a sport, he or she will also likely feel more confident participating. I started playing t-ball when I was around six years old. I went on to enjoy athletics in school and played on many different team sports throughout my school career. While I don't participate in any organized sports now, I do enjoy watching and sharing my love of sports with my family.
Sleeping Bear Press has published a series of board books that focus on the basics of several different types of sports. The Little Sports Series books turn learning about the various sports into a guessing game for young kids. All the books feature the same design. Each book consists of ten rhyming riddles with picture teasers, one per page. After listening to a rhyming riddle and viewing the corresponding picture teaser, kids use the clues to guess each fundamental of the game.
Little Baseball (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (February 2011); ISBN 9781585365470; board book
Sample riddle: "Hit the ball? / You surely could / with a mighty swing / of this piece of wood."
Baseball terms covered: Bat, Pitcher, Home Plate, Baseball, Umpire, Baseball Glove, Scoreboard, Hot Dog, Baseball Cap, Bench
Little Football (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (February 2011); ISBN 9781585365463; board book
Sample riddle: "It's full of air / and mostly brown, but in this sport / it isn't round."
Football terms covered: Football, Helmet, Goalpost, Shoulder Pads, Referee, Jersey, Cheerleaders, Whistle, Scoreboard, Quarterback
Little Basketball (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (September 2011); ISBN 9781585361816; board book
Sample riddle: "This is what / you pass and shoot. / It's round and orange / but not a fruit."
Basketball terms covered: Basketball, Jersey, Net, Court, Whistle, Shorts, Shoes, Backboard, Bench, Mascot
Little Soccer (Little Sports) by Brad Herzog, illustrated by Doug Bowles. Sleeping Bear Press (September 2011); ISBN 9781585361977; board book
Sample riddle: "It rolls and bounces, / flies through the air. / Players chase it / from here to there."
Soccer terms covered: Soccer Ball, Whistle, Net, Cleats, Goaltender, Teammates, Foot, Shin Guards, Jersey, Coach
The Little Series board books probably are not the best choice for babies but are most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and quite possibly early elementary students. In fact, answering the riddles requires problem solving and logical thinking skills. All kids will enjoy the challenge.
The bright, zoomed-in, partial illustrations that accompany each riddle offer essential clues for helping the youngest readers solve the riddles. When you turn the page for the answer, the illustration shows the element of the game in its entirety. Some of the riddles, like the one introducing a soccer ball aren't specific enough to be solved without the help of the illustration or knowledge of the book title. Additionally, both my kids pointed out that some of the elements featured like the whistle, bench and jersey, are not sport specific and appear in multiple books. Of course, this is not something you would notice if you were reading only one of the books alone.
Even with the picture clues, my 3yo son has a hard time solving some of the riddles because he just doesn't have the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary to correctly identify, for example, an umpire or referee. My daughter likes to help him solve the riddles and sometimes even she stumbles. But, as in sports, practice makes perfect. After a few rereads, the books have enlarged both my kids' sports vocabulary. Now, when we sit down to watch a football or baseball game together they both can point out the scoreboard as well as home plate or a goalpost, as well as many other aspects of the game!
Other titles in the Little Series from Sleeping Bear Press (publication date in parenthesis):
Little America (July 2011) ---------------- Little Arizona (January 2012)
Little California (March 2011) ----------- Little Canada (March 2012)
Little Colorado (April 2011) -------------- Little Florida (May 2010)
Little Illinois (May 2011) ----------------- Little Louisiana (July 2011)
Little Maine (February 2010) ------------ Little Michigan (February 2010)
Little Minnesota (December 2011) ------ Little New Jersey (August 2012)
Little New York (February 2010) -------- Little North Carolina (July 2011)
Little Ohio (January 2011) --------------- Little Pennsylvania (April 2010)
Little South Carolina (January 2011) --- Little Texas (July 2010)
Little Wyoming (June 2010)
This week my son and I worked on making our own sports pennant flags. I posted a homemade sports pennant tutorial yesterday. Instead of using paints, my son used markers to decorate his flag.
Want to solve a few riddles? Sleeping Bear Press has kindly offered to give away a choice of a Little Sports series book to two (2) different Brimful Curiosities readers.
For a chance to win, leave a comment relative to this post or answer the following question: Which Little Sports book would you choose if you won?
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