“F — O — X…what does that spell?” asked my daughter as she looked out the window at signs along the freeway on the way to the Dodgers game.
My daughter’s interest in reading came from parents. My wife and I have been talking, reading, and singing to our three kids practically since the day we learned we were pregnant. We found a Dr. Seuss book to read while “in utero” and it became a nightly ritual. When our youngest was born, he turned towards my daughter because she had been talking and singing to him during the entire pregnancy.
And so we continued reading signs and practicing words on our way to our “daddy-daughter” date at the Dodgers game. My daughter really loves going to baseball games so this was a special treat, thanks to First 5 L.A., an organization dedicated to encouraging parents to read and talk with their kids. She gets into the competitiveness, the videos on the screen, the food and ice cream, and the excitement of the whole event. But she is also 5 and sitting for 3–4 hours can be tough. So we enjoy being seated in the Reserved section because when she gets antsy, we can head to the First 5 L.A. PlayZone behind Section 24. The kids can run around while I can enjoy a Dodger Dog and some soft serve ice cream (my favorite Dodger game treat).
First 5 L.A. is partnering with the Dodgers and L.A. Dads Group to encourage parents to talk, read, and sing with their kids as early as possible to promote early brain and language development. Simple actions — like describing objects seen during a walk or bus ride, singing songs, or telling stories — can significantly improve a baby’s ability to learn new words and concepts. Studies have found that when parents engage in meaningful ways with their children from the moment they’re born, they develop critical language, math and social-emotional skills because talking is teaching.
But back to the game! After playing in the PlayZone (and getting on the JumboTron!), we watched the Dodgers beat the Giants. It is always fun being at Chavez Ravine for a Dodger win and it was even better because the game ended at 3:45 which meant we had just enough time to go on the field and run the bases with the kids. If you have never done it, it is worth doing once because the feeling of being on the field and then seeing the kids joyously race around the bases is pretty awesome.
We are looking forward to a great Post-Season and hope the Dodgers make it to the World Series so the kids can cheer them on. In the meantime, go to the First 5 LA’s parenting website and Too Small to Fail’s Talking is Teaching website for free parenting tips on how to teach your kids through talking, singing, and reading.