Olympic Games #17– What is the Role of Sports for Kids?

This weekend is the Olympics Closing Ceremonies. As the Games end, it’s a good time to think about what is the role of sports for kids? Perhaps, more importantly, how do we encourage young children in sports without pushing them?

role of sports for kids

Family therapist and parenting expert Carleton Kendrick has some excellent suggestions for preschool kids. In the article, Why Most Kids Quit Sports, he writes: “Focus on the element of play in any sports activity you introduce to very young kids. Make it fun! Don’t burden them or concern them with competition, keeping score, and rules. Get them running, kicking, throwing, catching … and laughing. Use equipment that suits their bodies and coordination levels (toss a beanbag instead of a ball). Adapt games according to their abilities. Always offer encouraging words for all their efforts.”

In listening to the interviews with top athletes at the Olympic Games, did you hear how many of them talked about having fun and enjoying themselves? Of course, they have worked hard and made tremendous sacrifices for years, but they continue because they love their sport. For young children, if we put too much emphasis on performance and outcome, sports becomes a source of stress instead of a source of fun.

role of sports for kids

Another key for young children is participation. Winning is far less important to them than being able to run around and be active. Just watching doesn’t have much appeal at all. When it comes to rules, remember at this age kids aren’t asking what are the rules. They are exploring and figuring out how rules work in the first place. They have an idea that rules have power and often complain about younger brothers and sisters not following the rules. You have likely had challenges with the issue of rules already.

As we watch the world’s top performers in sports march out at the Closing Ceremony, we are getting a future look at the role of sports for kids. Like the 3 medals, there are 3 keys: play, fun, and participating. What are your thoughts on the role of sports for kids?

Olympic Games #16 – Olympic Music Activities for Kids

Yes, the Olympics are about sports but music is part of the Games too. Can you include some Olympic music activities for your child?

Olympic music activities for kids

Did you notice several of the athletes putting their hands high above their heads and encouraging the crowd to clap in time? Their sport didn’t include music. Instead, the crowd supplied the rhythm. A simple and easy game to play with kids is to clap a few times in different patterns and let your child echo what you did. For example, you might clap one slow clap and two very fast ones. That’s pretty easy for kids to repeat. A rhythm slow/ fast-fast/fast-fast/slow is more complicated. When kids know how the game works, they can clap a pattern for you to imitate.

Olympic music activities for kids

Not all sports have music at the same time but music is definitely part of the Olympic Games experience. Put on some music and kids can roll, tumble, jump, and twist like the athletes in the floor routine. Try some slow music and some that’s fast. The spongy mats that zip together make a good mat, if you have some.

play with color mats

Every medal ceremony includes one or more countries’ national  anthem. You might want to sing the one for where you live together. Sometimes, kids don’t quite have all the right words in their version.

Olympic music activities for kids

Another song to sing is Row, Row, Row Your Boat. There are rowing events at the Olympics. At home, kids sit on the floor and do the actions. Athletes train their bodies. A body song for singing and actions is Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. A song about clapping is, If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands. Add some extra verses, like:

If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.
If you’re strong and you know it, flex your muscles.
If you’re fast and you know it, run right here. (run on the spot)
If you’re bouncy and you know it, jump really high.
If you’re flexible and you know it, twist and bend.

Olympic music activities for kids

Music uses many different parts of the brain. That’s why it’s such a powerful activity. Are there some Olympic music activities and play at your house or play center? Would you say this post has a ring to it?

Olympic Games #15 – Olympic Color Activities for Kids

The Olympics are bright and vibrant with colors filling the days of the Games so today let’s fill the day with some Olympic color activities for kids.

Olympic color activities for kids

There is no doubt both kids and adults play with colors. Are the ads on TV in black and white? Are signs that warn of danger and how to move safely in traffic in grey and brown? Do flowers come all in the same color? Even nature is rich with color. Color can be a part of your child’s day, both at play and helping with tasks, in ways that are easy and fun.

A very simple game is I Spy A Color. Either you or your child can choose a color and an item of that color and invite the other to play. “I spy something yellow,” is a challenge to name yellow things in a room or space. A reply might be, “Is it the book on the table?” Guesses continue until one of you gets the object. Continue taking turns and changing colors. In our kitchen, it’s the yellow gloves for washing dishes.

Olympic color activities for kids

Find a Rainbow is another color game. This can be played anywhere. You say a color and your child finds something that color. Name as many colors as are appropriate for your child. For young ones, this may only be three or four. For older kids, you might do basic colors and several others, like grey, brown, beige, turquoise, etc. Make up a few silly words or find something multi-colored that needs lots of names, like orangey-purple-greenish for some color fun. Kids can choose the colors and you can find something. Make a few mistakes so your child has to correct you. This usually adds some giggles.

The Olympic rings are blue, black, red, yellow, and green. Just the same as ones in a box of food coloring, except for black. Not all Olympic color activities explode and bubble with color, but this one does. Spoon some baking soda into a pie tin or other shallow container. In four small dishes, like the pots from apple sauce pour in a couple of spoonfuls of vinegar. Add a few drops of blue to one pot of vinegar, and red to a second one, yellow to a third, and green to the last. With an eye dropper, kids can squeeze up one color of vinegar solution and squirt it onto the baking soda. Suddenly, the color starts to bubble and spread. Kids repeat this for all four colors. They can try and make a black ring by mixing some of the colors. The result is sort of black.

science color fizzy fun baking soda vinegar

Include color in tasks and chores around the house. Sort the laundry into colors. Unload of one color dishes from the dishwasher. Then, do another color until it is empty. Kids can pick up all of one color toy from the floor to put away. Hint: choose the color of the most toys on the floor first. Once they are put away, it doesn’t look like so much left to do.

Olympic color activities for kids

Colors can influence our mood. Learning colors is really complicated with so many shades to go with only a few names. Can you add some fun and learning to your child’s day with Olympic color activities and play?

Olympic Games #14 – Olympic Lego Activities and Play

Today’s Games event is Olympic Lego activities and play. Medals aren’t given out for toys but if they were, Lego would win the gold. Lego may look like a simple, humble toy but it gets the top score for both technical merit and artistic impression. Lego scores high for artistic expression as well. It is … Continue reading Olympic Games #14 – Olympic Lego Activities and Play

Olympic Games #13 – Olympic Playdough Activities

If there were Olympic medals for the performance of toys, playdough would be a winner. Let’s go for the gold with some Olympic playdough activities. Playdough comes in all colors of the rainbow but not exactly gold, silver, and bronze. Those colors are found in the pot at the end of the rainbow. However, kids … Continue reading Olympic Games #13 – Olympic Playdough Activities

Olympic Art Activities for Kids: Olympic Games #12 – Art Wins Medal Too

Olympic art activities for kids aren’t just crafts. Nor are the Olympics just about sports. Did you know at one time, there were Olympic medals for art? From 1912 to 1948, art competitions were part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded in five categories for art inspired by sport. Sports and art do not contradict … Continue reading Olympic Art Activities for Kids: Olympic Games #12 – Art Wins Medal Too

Olympics #11: Olympic Snacks for Kids – Medals & Rings for Nutrition

This Olympic Snacks for Kids is both fun and nutritious. We can capitalize on the interest of what our bodies can do to encourage healthy snacking. What shape are the gold, silver, and bronze medals? They are circles. The Olympic Rings are round too. To make this snack start with some round crackers. Cover the … Continue reading Olympics #11: Olympic Snacks for Kids – Medals & Rings for Nutrition

Olympic Games #10: Number Play Activities for Kids

Let’s go for some number play activities. Did you know the Olympic Games can help children develop familiarity and confidence with numbers? As we watch and listen to some of the Olympic events, we are interested in the numbers. How fast was that race? What heavy was the bar in weight lifting? Who came first? … Continue reading Olympic Games #10: Number Play Activities for Kids

Olympic Games #9: Sand Play Activities for Kids – Beach Optional

Now that the Olympic Games include beach volleyball, it’s time to play in the sand. Beaches are fun but not necessary for sand play activities for kids. Just like water play (see yesterday’s Water Play Activities for Kids), there are many ways for kids to play in the sand. Of course, what could be more … Continue reading Olympic Games #9: Sand Play Activities for Kids – Beach Optional

Olympic Games #8: Splash up Some Water Play Activities for Kids

All the Olympic Games excitement in and on the water with medals and new records is splashing up some water play activities for kids. For kids, water play might take the gold medal. In Rio, there are events for diving, swimming, rowing, sailing, and water polo. Just like the Games, there are many different ways … Continue reading Olympic Games #8: Splash up Some Water Play Activities for Kids