The Olympics are here!!! Are you excited? Are the kids excited? 10,500 athletes from 205 countries are in Rio da Janeiro, Brazil, and they are competing in 306 events with 3.6 billion people tuning in to watch the Olympic games.
With that many people watching, the odds are you and your family are watching too. If your kids are old enough to understand what the games are about ,why not turn the Olympics into a teachable moment with these 6 simple ideas. You can ask these open ended questions I found from commonsensemedia.org. You'll be grabbing plenty of opportunities to engage your kids in deeper conversations while having fun rooting for your team!
1. Talk about inspiration. If nothing else, the Olympics are a time to be awed by the abilities of the human body. Point out the kind of practice, dedication and sacrifice that go into becoming an Olympic athlete. If there are certain competitors your kids like, find out more about their lives and how they pursued their athletic goals.
Ask: What are you willing to work hard for?
2. Explore backstories. Reporters covering the Olympics dig up inspiring stories about athletes overcoming obstacles to reach their goals. These emotional tales can make watching an event all the more compelling and give you a chance to talk to your kids about perseverance. Of course, some stories can include grim experiences -- death, illness, injury -- that might be too much for very young or very sensitive viewers. Chime in when reassurance or more explanation is necessary.
Ask: What would your backstory be?
3. Discuss teamwork. Watching team sports can be a great chance to point out how everyone's contribution is key to a team's success. Help kids make the connection between teamwork in sports and other collaborative efforts, like group school projects. Point out how athletes show their support for each other and also how they handle winning and losing.
Ask: What makes a good teammate?
4. Comment on competition. Winning feels great, and most kids have experienced that thrill themselves, so they can identify with the athletes wearing their medals proudly. But point out the other athletes, too. This can help kids develop empathy and reinforce the idea that winning isn't everything.
Ask: What's the difference between good and poor sportsmanship?
5. Go global. The Olympic Games offer the perfect opportunity to learn more about other countries. Olympics coverage can be educational, giving kids a chance to identify country flags and watch different cultural traditions play out. Use the Olympics as a jumping-off point to learn more about particular countries or cultures. Talk about the origins and goals of the Olympics.
Ask: What did you learn about another country or culture that you didn't know before?
6. Point out advertising. The Olympics are a huge advertising opportunity for marketers. Try to DVR events when possible so you can skip through the commercials. With older kids, talk about the relationship between athletes and corporations and why they depend on each other. Point out any ironies -- like an ad showing an athlete eating fast food -- and you'll pump up kids' media literacy skills.
Ask: How many advertisements can you spot during an event, and what are they selling?
I would love to know if you asked these questions to your kids and how they answered. I hope you'll share with us the fun you had together asking these questions.
Crafts and fun!Just to add some more fun, check out these really easy crafts you and your kids can do starting tonight!
|Popcorn torches! Make these as the kids watch the torch being lit |
during the Opening Ceremonies tonight!
|Make these Olympic Ring bagels with fruit for breakfast |
tomorrow while watching the first events compete!
them during the awards ceremonies.
watching with these yummy Olympic cupcakes!