Athletes from all over the world have met in one location to compete against each other, as their home countries cheer them on. Not only are families sitting down together to watch the games, but this time of year can also get kids excited about physical fitness. The International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA) and the Voice of Play want to share some athletic activities for your kids, which might broaden their interests after seeing the new and exciting events on TV.
It’s easy to sign your kids up for a swimming class or two, with no long-term commitment. Swimming is a great life skill to learn and can even be a way for your children to relax. If younger kids seem to be afraid of the water, check out these tips to help minimize that fear. If they’re already mastering different strokes and feel safe in the water, sign them up for a competition. Let them find out for themselves just how tough it is to race against another person!
Most gyms have a trial period where your child is able to come in and try out their skills before deciding to sign them up for an extended period of time. There are many opportunities for both girls and boys to learn a variety of skills with a coach and have the chance to display their strength, balance and finesse at parent exhibitions. Make sure your house is safe for the tumbles and passes your kids have mastered or make your home a “no gymnastics zone.”
Chances are your kids are already running around the house, so turn inside commotion into outside fun! Since relay athletes usually pass a metal baton between their runs, find a paper towel tube or other long, cylindrical object around the house that your kids can use to pass around while running. Set up a timed race for them as a team or as independent runners around your yard or at a local park—competition is key! Have the winner take a victory lap just like the professionals.
Photo courtesy of www.groupclearwater.com
Kayaking is a sport that may not immediately come to mind, but it is a great family activity to get your child interested in a different type of water sport. Head to your local state park and rent a kayak for you and your child (one parent for every one child). If this is your family’s first time kayaking, find a paddling expert to explain safety information before stepping into the water. They’ll be able to tell you how to hold the paddle as well as show you how to keep close to land and stay away from strong currents.
Rules are required in archery to shoot, which makes it a great sport for kids to learn how to follow the rules. Instructors will teach your children exactly what they need to know in order to begin shooting the bow. Whether you’re taking your kids to a small class or to an indoor range, archery can help them improve their hand-eye coordination and posture. There are many different kinds of bows, so have your child choose one that excites them the most. If you know how to shoot a bow, challenge your children by seeing who can get their arrow closest to the bullseye.
Most of these sports require teamwork, dedication and focus, all while creating some competition. Talk to your kids about the importance of those requirements in their journey through life, and discuss the good and bad points about competition—like how competition can make you more goal-oriented and how poor sportsmanship can affect your performance. These are just a few ways on how you can turn an athletic event into a learning opportunity!