Welcome to Family Night. Each month, we'll bring you budget suggestions for enjoying an evening at home as a family that centers on a single theme. We're leading off this month with baseball. And why not? The season's just begun and there's plenty of drama, excitement, and tradition in the sport to entertain everyone at home, whether you're watching a favorite team play on TV or taking in a great baseball movie. So grab your cap and make a night of it with America's favorite pastime.
Fans love these crowd-pleasers:
The Rookie A high-school coach promises to try out for the Major Leagues if his players win a championship. Rated G.
A League of Their Own A tale of teamwork and triumph drawn from the real-life All American Girls Professional Baseball League. Rated PG.
Baseball video games bring spirited competition into your living room and help younger kids learn the intricacies of the game. Two that'll get gamers up and moving, for the Nintendo Wii: Backyard Baseball 2009 and Major League Baseball 2K9.
Music is a great way to warm up the crowd. Belt out a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" together. For really young fans, try the knowing and funny "Pop Fly" by kids' rocker Justin Roberts. You can sample the tune at justinroberts.org.
Read All About It
A baseball-themed book is a great way to cap off the evening.
Teammates by Peter Golenbock
A true-life picture book about Jackie Robinson's trying first season and a teammate who befriended him. Ages 4 to 8.
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
A young Japanese-American boy finds joy and hope in baseball while living in an internment camp during World War II. Ages 4 to 8.
Change-Up: Baseball Poems by Gene Fehler
Fun, emotionally connected poetry that's not heavy-handed or syrupy. Ages 5 to 9.
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! by Jonah Winter
Bold, stylized illustrations convey the feel of action and the magic of the baseball field as they tell the story of pitcher Sandy Koufax. Ages 5 to 10.
Babe & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure by Dan Gutman
Joe Stoshack, 13, travels back in time to meet past baseball greats. Ages 9 to 12.
The Big Field by Mike Lupica
A young shortstop idolizes Derek Jeter and his own dad. Ages 9 to 12.
The Brooklyn Nine by Alan Gratz
This collection of short stories follows the generations of a family linked by baseball and Brooklyn. Ages 9 to 12.
Who Is Baseball's Greatest Hitter? by Jeff Kisseloff
You decide! Read about 32 star sluggers from different decades and the reasons each should be considered. Great for a heated family discussion. Ages 9 to 12.
Hot dogs, of course! Try healthier low-fat or turkey dogs. Offer "stadium" snacks like popcorn or peanuts. Relax a rule or two by insisting that everyone wear a baseball cap to the table or while they watch the game.