Gary’s Gray World

By Ryan J Cunningham, Illustrated by Chrissy Fanslau  

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In Gary’s Gray World, Gary accidentally gets left at the baseball park when a rainstorm starts during his baseball game. A scary moment brings his dad rushing to the park to rescue him. In this heartwarming story by Ryan J Cunningham, Gary and his father remind us that spending time together as a family is truly the most important thing. 

We have selected a few activities to do with your young readers at family reading time or at their book club meeting. In our experience, one or two activities are enough to keep your child engaged after the story. So, we recommend that you only pick one or two activities listed.

Book and Activity Benefits: 

  • Reading 
  • Learning some Spanish words 
  • Following Instructions
  • Learning about the family unit
  • Learning about sad feelings and happy feelings
  • Glueing
  • Cutting with scissors  

Bookmark/Reading Pointers

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Idea inspired by Creative Family Fun 

 Supplies needed

Directions

For instructions with pictures, Click Here.

  1. Printout a copy of the Baseball reading pointers printable on white cardstock. 
  2. Cut out each picture on the dotted line. 
  3. Place the non-picture sides together lining them up with the straight edge at the top and trim them a small amount so they are of even size.
  4. Place glue on the back side of each cutout.
  5. Place the craft stick in the middle of one of the cutouts. (straight edge to the top).
  6. Place the other cutout over the craft stick and press down to secure the two cutouts together.
  7. Let them dry and then you can use them to follow the words while reading in place of using your fingers.

These reading pointers can also be used as a bookmark to mark your place if you do not finish reading the entire book.

Craft

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Idea inspired by Gift of Curiosity – Sparking Children’s Creativity and learning 

Rain sticks are a rattle made of hollowed plant stalks which, when turned at a slight angle produces a sound similar to rain. The sound produced by the instrument has been used in ceremonies to summon rain.
You will not have to do any ceremonies or summon rain but we thought it would be fun to craft rain sticks out of household items just to hear how closely the rain sticks mimic rain sound.
Have fun and be creative. 

Supplies needed

  • Print out of the Grey Sox bats and baseballs on white copy paper
  • 1 cardboard paper towel/aluminum foil roll
  • Brown (or the color of your choice) construction paper or craft paper
  • Blue, Gray, and Red Yarn (or the color of your choice) each piece 12 inches long
  • 1 piece aluminum foil 23 inches long
  • 1 piece aluminum foil 12 inches long
  • A long-handled spoon or a broom handle
  • Uncooked rice or popcorn kernels
  • Scissors
  • Duct Tape/Duck Tape
  • Plastic Gatorade or individual chocolate milk bottle caps
  • Construction paper or craft paper(for the ends if you do not have caps)

Directions

For instructions with pictures click here 

  1. Take the aluminum foil and roll each piece horizontally into a long strand.
  2. Take each piece and twist it around a long handled spoon or a broom handle. Take the pieces off of the spoon handle or broom handle. Make sure they are still twisted.
  3. Prepare one side of your cardboard paper towel roll so that you will be able to fill it with rice or popcorn.

If you are using bottle caps for the end caps:

  •  Place a cap on the end of the paper towel roll. (For some of the paper towel rolls the cap fits right on the end on other sizes of paper towel rolls the caps fit just inside the end).
  • Secure the cap with Duct tape/Duck tape.

If you are using paper for the end caps: 

  • Trace 2 -4 1/2 inch circles on a piece of construction paper or craft paper. (I used a lid from a sour cream container to trace)  
  • Cut the circle out      
  • Place the cardboard tube upright in the middle of the 4 ½ inch circle and then trace around that.
  • Cut 2-inch slits into the circle just up to the inside circle lineTake a piece of Duct tape/Duck tape and place your paper circle on one end of the paper towel roll, then secure it with the       

4. Place your aluminum foil twist inside the Baseball Bat Rain Stick beside each other

5. Fill your paper towel tube with rice (around ¼ cup) or popcorn kernels (around 5 Tablespoons).

6. Cap the other end with bottle caps or paper 

7. Decorate your Baseball Bat Rain Stick:

  • Take your large sheet of construction/craft paper and glue it on to your paper towel roll covering all of the way around. Let the paper dry.
  • Print the baseball bat and baseballs printout on white copy paper. Cut out the bats and baseballs, punch a hole in some of the baseballs so you can attach them to yarn pieces
  • Glue one of the bats on one side of the rain stick and the other bat on the other side of the rainstick. Then glue baseballs (the ones with no holes punched)  onto the rainstick in any order that you would like.
  • Take a piece of yarn or 2 different pieces of yarn that are different colors and tie and knot it around each end of the rain stick. Wrap it several times around to secure the end. 
  • Tie the baseballs with the holes punched in them to the yarn so they hang down. 

Your Baseball Bat Rain Stick is done.
To use it to make rain sound tilt the stick slowly at an angle and then turn it back around and angle it the other way. There are times when you will have to shake it gently a bit before using it if you use rice as the rice sometimes sticks together. Shaking it gently will break the rice up. 

Activity

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Family Fun Rainbow 

Idea inspired by Happy Hooligans Art Craft Play from their Kindness Cloud  

Our Family Fun Rainbow is a fun way to choose family activities and to ensure that each family member gets a chance to share their ideas for events and activities. Easy for kids to make in framed or magnet style and it will provide weeks of fun activities for your family fun days. 

Supplies 

  • Printout of Family Fun Rainbow – (printout is for 4 individuals)
  • 4 – 8 ½ X 11 White Cardstock
  • 4 – 8 ½ X 11 Gray or Blue cardstock
  • A picture frame with no glass in it – we used 8X10
  • Stick on magnets (if you want to hang your rainbow on the refrigerator instead of framing it)
  • Rubber cement (glue works too)
  • Scissors 
  • A black marker

Directions

for instructions with pictures click here 

  1. Print out the Family Fun Rainbow printable on white cardstock. 
  2. Write the words Family Fun Rainbow on the cloud.
  3. Number the color rainbow strips to the top of the strip with the corresponding numbers on your page in the white boxes. 
  4. Write your Family activity ideas on each one of the colored strips – one idea on each colored strip. Parents, please help write down your little one’s ideas if they can’t write yet.
  5. Each person should cut out the number blocks on their page then cut them into squares following the borderlines and put them in a container. (They will be used for drawing from the container to decide the family activity for the day. Cut out the cloud, and the colored rainbow strips).
  6. Glue the cloud onto the gray or blue background paper.
  7. Glue the colored rainbow strips onto the background paper under the cloud. – (we glued only the top of the strips on the framed page so that the strips would hang over the frame. The strips kind of get hidden by the frame.)
  8. Attach the magnets if you are doing a page to hang on your refrigerator – put the page in the frame if you are using the framed page.

To use your Family Fun Rainbow –

  • Designate an evening or day for your family time activity such as Saturday nights or the 15thof every month or the 3rd Sunday of the month etc. 
  • Put all of the numbered pieces in a container.
  • Monthly or weekly (whichever you decide for family time)  have one child draw from the container, pull out a number and whichever picture and rainbow strip that number is on will be the activity the family will do for the next family time Example– if you draw number 7 from the cup the family activity would be number 7 on the rainbow picture. The activity would be “cook dinner together” which is number 7 colored strip on our rainbow picture.
  • Put the number drawn in a separate container so it does not get drawn again. 

Helpful Hints;

Have the drawing several days before your actual family time so that you have time to prepare for the activity such as snacks, supplies, tickets, food etc.
Each week or month that you draw rotate who draws the number by birthday order or youngest to oldest etc. this way everyone gets a chance to draw a number. 

Food

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Cracker Jacks 


Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack,
I don’t care if I never get back,
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.
“Songwriters: JACK NORWORTH, ALBERT VON TILZER

For our food we went with the simple classic snack of Cracker Jacks that everyone has or should enjoy at a baseball game. Don’t forget the prize!   We hope you enjoy.