Let’s Play, Olympic Style!
By Former Play Ambassador Jason Avant
My wife and I are Olympics junkies – we’ve been glued to the TV, watching the London games from sun-up to midnight. The kids have noticed this, and are somewhat confused; apart from the occasional NBA game or rugby match, we’re not the kind to sit around and watch sports for hours on end. Seeing all of these new and exciting sports has really piqued their curiosity. This is a great time to introduce them to new sports, and here are a few variations on some Olympic favorites that we’ve tried.
Gymnastics: Our daughter, 4, has been taking gymnastics classes for a few months and loves it. Our son recently got into it as well, but in a slightly different form – our gymnastics studio offers parkour classes. Parkour is also known as “free running”; it involves using your surroundings (benches, stairs, even walls) as an obstacle course. Tumbling is a big part of parkour, and it’s a fun way to introduce gymnastic skills to kids.
Swimming: We’re talking actual swimming here, not just doing cannonballs in our neighborhood pool. Both kids were pretty impressed by the Olympic backstroke competition, so when my wife informed them that the backstroke was her specialty when she was a competitive swimmer, that set the hook. Now they want to learn all of the different strokes.
Track: My daughter loves to run; everywhere she goes, she sprints. She was amazed that there are athletes whose chosen sport is simply that: running. So we’ve taken to practicing the 20-yard dash in my small backyard – I time her with my watch, and she tries to beat her personal best.
Since we’re in southern California, we might have to get creative to pull inspiration from the Winter Olympics. Fortunately, for us, we can do Summer Olympics sports all year round!
How have the Olympics inspired you and your kids to play in new ways?
"Play Ambassadors" help spread the word about available Let's Play grants and reinforce the importance of play through original blog posts based on our own individual experiences. We are parents just like you and believe every child should have a safe place to play.