As the daffodils pop open and the trees begin to bloom, we are reminded of a cherished time of the year with our students, who are currently home with their parents and caregivers, along with so many others around the country. It’s right around this time every year that we are dusting off home plate and teaching the basics of America’s favorite pastime.

Because we cannot be together for spring training of baseball season this year (a fan favorite, indeed!), we thought we would give you a few ideas to start the season at home.

Start with some warm-up exercises. Remember to be your child’s mirror and stand directly in front of him or her.  Arm circles are great.  Stand with feet shoulder length apart and arms extended out straight from the shoulder. Rotate your arms in small circles ten times – forward first, and then backwards.

Follow the arm circles with side twists. Keep those arms out straight, legs planted on the ground and rotate from the waist. When you have mastered this – try putting your hands on your hips and rotating.

Basic toe touches are a must!  Keep your legs straight and reach first up to the sky and then down to the ground. Try to hold each stretch for increasing amounts of time.

You can build on these skills by trying a flamingo pose like this one, courtesy of APKPure.com:

If you and your child are feeling confident, you can add to motor coordination with these movements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ883QwESRc.

Next, it’s out to the field…or backyard (or basement!).

First catching and throwing.  Skill building can start in the smallest of ways – as outlined in this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-mMrp7s9_0.

A large, soft ball is ideal for beginners. Caught in the quarantine without a ball?  No worries. Our Adaptive Physical Education team at The Center says roll up some socks!  And if a game of reciprocal catch is difficult – start by just throwing at a large target like an empty toy bin, laundry basket, or garbage can.

Often at TCFD, our batters learn to hit using a tee and a larger or lighter bat. No tee?  Look around the garage for some old PVC pipe, electrical tape, a bucket and some rocks to weigh it down.  This is a skill that can take time. Your child may need hand-over-hand assistance or may need you to demonstrate over and over again. Take it slow. Patience and consistency win the game here!

Creating the field of dreams requires only imagination.  Chalk? Spray paint? Cardboard cutouts? Even electrical tape will help you map out first, second, third base and of course, home. You can learn to run the bases together.  You can teach your child to play every position. And of course – you can help your loved one know what it feels like to hit a home run!

Alexa Mickelson, The Center’s Director of Adapted Physical Education said, taking this time with your son or daughter is the home run. “Getting out to move with our loved ones is one of the most critical things we can do for overall wellness every day – but especially during this pandemic,” she said, “We cannot wait for everyone to be back on campus!  We are already dreaming up new names for our World Series teams like last year’s– April’s Red Lightning and Molly’s Tie-Dye Tigers!”