The Closing Ceremonies of the Sochi Olympics were an exciting display of color, light, music, and dance. While there were hundreds of adult performers, there were also hundreds of children. Three children wove their way through the magic of the story and the celebration.
The athletes of future Olympic Games are the children of today. Over the world, children are 20% of the population, but they are 100% of the future. For children to enjoy and love sports and physical activities, we need to remember that what is important for them is not competition, but participation. (Perhaps this little one is pretending the box is a bobsled.)
Children win when they can play. This is also how kids learn. If children are struggling to be ready for school, could it be that they are not getting enough time to play? Enough time to build, create, explore, discover, turn over rocks, paint, dance, make sounds and music, hop around, and dig in the dirt? Children will play with whatever is available. This is how they interact with their world and people in it. As adults and caregivers, we need to support children as they play and ensure that their days have time to play.
Because days are so very busy for families, it’s almost an Olympic challenge to make sure kids have time and space to play. One strategy is to piggy-back play onto other activities that families are already doing. For example, kids can discover the sounds that pots and pans make in the kitchen while adults are preparing a meal. They can play with a few plastic items in the kitchen sink as grownups load the dishwasher.
Finding ways that kids can play may take some creativity on our part, but for kids, the name of the game is PLAY. How will your child play today?
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