lego baseball: creative math game for kids, by kids
The following guest post is written by Heather Kauffman. Heather is a teacher and mom of three boys, a longtime we teach member, one of my dearest, closest pals.
I am the mother of three super-duper boys. Boys who like to wrestle, play with light sabers, and generally participate in any activity that involves yelling and sweat. My kids work up a sweat playing the Wii in the basement.
They get hot and sweaty playing the LEGO Baseball game they invented because they jump around and get excited when their “player” gets a home run or makes a diving catch.
What’s that, you say? LEGO Baseball? I am quite proud of my creative kids who invented a game using their baseball cards, a pair of dice, and their imagination. The game can also be played with LEGO minifigures (or guys, as we call them) instead of baseball cards.
I will explain the basic rules for the game with baseball cards and how to also play the game with LEGOS.
My kids have their baseball cards organized in these simple notebooks.
I got the card protectors from Amazon.com and the notebooks from our dusty closet. Once they have their cards sorted (mine sort by team) they go through and pick out the players they want for their game.
Players can be from any team but usually only one per position. Here are the nine positions you need for baseball: catcher, pitcher, 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, short stop, right field, center field, left field. Sometimes the boys will pick out an extra pitcher as a “reliever” or an extra batter for a Designated Hitter. That’s optional.
Once each kid has their nine players, they prep for the game. Flip a coin to see who is the home team. The home team will pitch first. They have created paper bases and a paper pitching mound. The cards for the home team are placed on the field in the spots they are filling. For example, put the first baseman’s card next to first base.
The away team makes their batting lineup.
Once the defensive players have been placed in the correct spots and the batters are ready, it’s time to start the game. Grab the two dice and the sheet that shows the plays you can roll.
Roll the dice and add them together. In this example, a 4 was rolled. That means the batter gets a single. Use the dice as the ball and the batter “hits” the dice and heads to first base.
Play until one team gets 3 outs. Then switch.
It’s amazing how many times the boys have adjusted which play is assigned to each sum of the dice. They quickly discovered that the rare plays in baseball, like a triple, should have a sum that doesn’t show up that often.
More common plays, like a single or an out, correlate to a sum that will appear more often. Sounds like a lesson in probability, right? I am pretty sure they didn’t think they were doing math problems and playing baseball at the same time, but they were!
My kids are baseball players. When they play this game, they REALLY act it out. In fact, when the youngest (who is 5) wanted to play the older two instructed him he had to act it out really well to be able to play. If your player makes a diving catch, you pick up that card and make it look real! Not only do they line up their batters in a strategic order, theyalso have an on-deck circle.
To play with LEGOS, the rules are the same. Pick out nine of your favorite LEGO dudes along with various weapons that can be used as bats (light sabers, axes, swords).
Set out LEGO bases and a pitching mound.
My kids have also created “fans” who are watching the game.
Check out the pitcher. . .
. . . and the batter getting ready to use his light saber!
They use the scoreboard from their box of Baseball Guys.
And don’t forget the cameraman!
These are just two ways to play the game. Your kids might want to adjust the value of the dice after they play a few times.
No matter how you play, LEGOS + Baseball=fun!
Want a printable version of rules and score sheet?
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Heather and Seth and Matthew for sharing!
Heather Kauffman is the mother of three boys and is a former elementary & Gifted/ Talented teacher. She’s active in her kids’ school, teaches Sunday School, loves reading, and she basically chases her three Wii-loving, Star Wars and Lego-playing, baseball and basketball-playing, pool-crazed boys around all year long.
Looking for more super-fun, sneaky math activities?
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