Captivate, Educate, Motivate: 10 Ways the Summer Olympics Can Inspire Your Child
By Deanne Haines
From the Opening Ceremony to the final flame, the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, promises to inspire children with amazing athletic feats and lasting life lessons. Here are ten ways the Summer Games delivers a dose of education, excitement, and family fun.
CAPTIVATE : Fascinating facts and fanfare pique children’s interest in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
1. Gear up for the Games with tantalizing trivia. More than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries will compete in this summer’s Olympics. That means organizers will need to supply 25,000 tennis balls, 34,000 beds, 72,000 tables and will serve 60,000 meals per day throughout the Olympic Games. Fun details like this will draw your child in for what is sure to be an exciting 17 days of thrilling sports and family-friendly television.
2. Witness the Opening Ceremony splendor. Enjoy the spectacular hoisting of the flags, parade of athletes, and Olympic torch lighting the cauldron in the stadium at the Opening Ceremony. Your kids will be fired up to continue watching the exciting events.
3. Hail hometown athletes. Intrigue your child with stories of local Olympians. Research the inspiring men and women near you who are, or who have previously, competed at the highest level. For a brief biography of the our Louisiana Olympians, read our article, The Road to Rio...From Louisiana.
EDUCATE : The Olympics teaches kids about different countries, cultures, and healthy competition.
4. Discover surprising sports. Does your child flip over going to the trampoline park? You may have a future Olympian on your hands. Many kids aren’t aware of uncommon sports that are actually Olympic events, such as trampoline, table tennis, badminton, and BMX cycling. If your child isn't into mainstream sports, the Olympics can encourage their unique athletic interests.
5. Become mindful of multiculturalism. Use the Olympic Games to teach your children about different countries and cultures. Locate little-known countries on a map, research their culture and cuisine - even try your hand at cooking something unfamiliar and fun! While you’re at it, uncover unique details about the host city - Rio de Janeiro. For example, did you know it’s legal to draw graffiti on designated city property in Rio? Urban artists decorate columns, walls, and construction siding, turning the city into one big art gallery.
6. Dive into history. How did the Olympics come about? What do the Olympic rings mean? What's the purpose of the Olympic Torch? Unearth the history of the Olympics and share the stories and significance with your child. Be sure to inform them that they're watching history in the making.
7. Cheer on Team USA. Study up on our country's athletes and read about their interesting and inspiring stories. Your child will learn that it takes hard work and determination to succeed. Sisters Courtney and Kelley Hurley, both representing USA in fencing, will be a fun pair to watch. They both qualified for the individual and team events, making the Summer Games in Rio the first time the sisters will compete both with and against each other in Olympic competition. Talk about sibling rivalry!
MOTIVATE : Witnessing elite athletes excel at their events can inspire your child to think like an Olympian when faced with daily decisions.
8. Emulate an Olympian. Encourage your child to make smart choices when it comes to health and nutrition - just like an Olympic athlete would do. Would an Olympian choose a candy bar as a snack or string cheese? Would he stay up late at night or get plenty of sleep?
9. Score a 10 with teamwork. Working together is what propels the rowing team to victory. The volleyball team can't win with just one player. Many Olympic events stress the importance of teamwork, and you can teach your child how teamwork is necessary in many areas of life - not just sports.
10. Go for the gold. Hold your own mini-Olympics of sorts each time you serve your child vegetables or need him to clean his room. Here’s how: At the dinner table, see who can finish their veggies first and “win the gold!” Everyone else (siblings or parents) can then gobble up their greens to get the silver or the bronze. Placing first can motivate kids to clean their rooms quicker, put their dishes away faster, or be the first one to do their assigned chore. “I got the gold!” will become a sought-after phrase and simple source of motivation for your child – not to mention a sweet victory for you.