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Bedtime stories for sports fan families
Welcome to Bedtime Sports. Our mission is to facilitate conversations, build shared memories, and strengthen relationships, by creating stories that are accessible and entertaining for kids while based on the teams and moments their adults follow.
How to Get Started
Subscribe! Indicate your favorite team as part of the subscription process.
Receive a story via a weekly email newsletter to your inbox, or access a previous stories on the website. Paid subscribers receive one story a week featuring an athlete from their favorite team. All subscribers receive one story a month from athletes in their favorite sport/league.
Read the story to your child(ren) and start a conversation. Stories start at the section of the newsletter titled “Story” and include a variety of elements designed to transform the story into a two way conversation. We encourage you to be animated, entertaining, and make the storytelling your own - for more details on how we facilitate this through our story design see “What all do the newsletters include?” in our FAQ.
Share Bedtime Baseball with your friends! The more subscribers we have, the greater capacity we have to add stories to our collection that everyone can access and enjoy.
And let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org
So - this is a bedtime story in a newsletter?
Yes! Many kids and their grown-ups incorporate some sort of storytelling into their bedtime routine, whether they come from a book or are made up on the spot. These routines help get kids to bed, but are also an important source of time together. Bedtime Sports is another resource to draw from as part of your family’s bedtime routine. Each newsletter includes an introduction, a story, illustrations, additional resources about the story, a fun activity to do with your child, and ideas for other stories to tell around a similar theme.
What’s up with the sports?
There are tons of really great books out there, and some fantastic storytellers. But there is a lot of mediocre (and worse) stuff out there too. When talking with other parents, one key determination of what made a “good” story or book was whether it was able to entertain both parents and kids (the “Pixar effect”). While books derived from popular TV shows or toys may end up as a child’s favorite, they often elicited different feelings from their parents.
Sports in general, and particularly sports teams, often draw equal interest from both grown ups and their kids. According to one parent, “There are so few things that my three-year-old and I both enjoy, yet somehow we both get really excited about a big game.”
Bedtime Sports takes the teams and athletes you follow, and creates stories about them that your kids will enjoy. That way, you both get to spend story time sharing and learning about something that you love.
Ok - so it’s bedtime stories with athlete characters? Like, how Michael Jordan rescued a princess from the dragon?
No. These stories aren’t fiction - each is based on actual occurrences associated with the athletes. While we take some artistic liberties, we try to paint as accurate a picture as possible. The actual sources are cited and linked in each newsletter if you want to learn more. Not all stories have a lesson or moral - some are just stories, but as often as possible, we will tie the stories to a lesson or example that you and your child can learn from and discuss. (If you're looking for stories about athlete's in some sort of epic saga, try the Role Players from Bleacher Report)
Why isn’t this a book?
There are a ton of great sports books out there (Like S is for Slugger, Salt in His Shoes, for younger kids or The Crossover and Dragon Hoops for older ones), but books are limited by their static medium. A team changes every time a game is played, as players get hot or hurt, benched, or even traded. From one season to the next, the average team loses and adds about 30% of its players. As a result, books usually focus on superstars or the idea of a “team” without a focus on specific players.
Being a fan includes getting excited about the middling bench player suddenly turned superhero, or the rookie phenom opening eyes. We wanted the freedom to follow a team “live,” as these stories take shape. A weekly newsletter provided us the format to focus on a specific team and to highlight the players you are getting excited about on a weekly basis and share their stories with your kids.
Do I need to read the stories at bedtime?
No! You can read these stories anytime.
What all do the newsletters include?
Our stories are designed to be conversational and adaptable - you don’t need to read them word for word, or share all the things we include. Figure out what works best for you and your child. For more information on how to include the different elements of our stories, see the “Stories start at the section of the newsletter titled “Story” and include:
Conversation questions to ask your child. These are always bold and italicized. We recommend pausing and allowing your child to answer, and then interacting with that answer, ie: “You would do that? I would probably ….” or “Oh, really? Me too!” before continuing with the story. We have designed our stories to be a two-way framework for talking with your child.
Polls engage your child and provide another interactive element to the story.
Illustrations, videos, and other visual elements. You can share these with your child while you read, or save them for later (ie: If they stay in bed until they go to sleep, they can watch the video in the morning)
Kinetic storytelling will always be indicated by the dancing man emoji (🕺) These are opportunities to incorporate some sort of action or movement.
By the numbers allow parents and kids to chat sports and statistics. There is lots of research on the importance of reading to kids and developing literacy, but there is also a gap in math literacy opportunities for parents and kids. Consider this our contribution to bridging that gap.
Additional articles and sources represent opportunities for you and your children to learn more about the athletes and creators highlighted in the story
A fun activity will give you and your children a chance to interact with the story in a non-bedtime setting
Additional story ideas provide ideas for stories on the same theme that you can tell on the nights that you don’t receive a new story from us
So wait, what’s with all the questions in the middle of the stories?
We’ve built something that isn’t a book (see the question about why this isn’t a book) and we wanted to make this feel different than reading a book. We want these stories to be an opportunity to talk with your kids about their lives and their day, so we’ve tried to include questions that will spark conversation. Feel free to let the story become secondary to your kids’ responses or feel free to skip the questions and just read the story. It’s about what works for you and your kids, and how you choose to use the stories. Questions will always be bolded so you know what to look for.
Additionally, we strive to maintain a “conversational” writing style. If you want to vary from the written text go for it. These stories were designed to be told, not read, so feel free to put the device down and give it your best shot.
We’ll continue to try and be innovative with the medium by incorporating things like polls, videos, social media challenges, etc. Let us know what works and what doesn’t.
What’s included in the different subscription tiers?
All subscribers get a weekly newsletter featuring a story about a different baseball player on Thursday. Paid subscribers ($5/month) will get an additional story about a player from their favorite team on Tuesday.
You only publish one story per week - my kid goes to bed seven times a week - what am I supposed to do on the other six nights?
Sports aren’t everything (or at least my Little League baseball coach told me that every time I struck out). We want to provide you and your family something to supplement your bedtime routine, not become the whole routine.
Each of our stories contains prompts for telling a story about a similar theme from your own or your family’s experience that you can tell at a different bedtime (Family stories are linked with positive outcomes in children) Additional stories could come from your own faith tradition, things that you make up, or from folklore and global storytelling traditions.
Where did you come up with this idea?
Bedtime Sports started when “normal” sports resumed after the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. I had always shared my love of sports with my kids, and my eldest daughter in particular was getting really excited (along with me) about opening day for our beloved Mets. She got to stay up late to watch the first inning after which she went to bed. I was thrilled to tell her all about the game the next day, but as I started trying to explain what happened, I realized that despite being a Mets fan, she had very little idea about what a base, home run, ball or strike was.
…and that was totally fine with me! She can figure all that out as we play catch in the backyard, as she whacks the tee instead of the ball, as she picks flowers in the outfield, or eschews all of that in favor of soccer. But I was left with the dilemma of what do two Mets fans, age 4 and thirtysomething, talk about when they can’t really talk about the game?
I took a cue from the human driven promos that are all over TV during the Olympics and I started retelling the human interest stories about the players that I was reading about in the news and in blog posts, adapted into a style that she would understand. Pretty soon, she was asking for a “Night-night baseball” story every night. The next time we watched a game, she pointed out the Polar Bear and the Squirrel, the “guy who couldn’t sleep,” and the “super smiley ones” (cuz there are two!). I enjoyed the games even more knowing that she was having fun, but I mostly loved the five to ten minutes we got to share every night over our special team. I thought maybe other grown-ups and kids might like it too, and here we are.
I don’t see any stories about my team - will you be adding more stories?
Yes! I started out by writing all of our stories, but as we grow that will become more and more difficult. Each new team we add will require additional story tellers to help us provide the well researched and crafted stories you and your kids deserve. In order to do that, we want at least 150 subscribers to launch a team specific newsletter. If you want your team to have their own newsletter
Sign up for our free newsletter and indicate your favorite team
Tell as many friends as you can to do the same. Once we hit 150 subscribers who have indicated your team as their favorite, we will begin writing stories and let you know how to subscribe.
Digital is cool, but have you ever considered sending something physical?
Yes we have, and we plan to! But we decided to start as a digital only newsletter to help us establish our product and our market. Stay posted for information about a physical product.