2012 Summer Olympics in London are set to begin in July. Along with the opening ceremony, we plan on watching several competitions. The sports of choice? Volleyball, track, swimming and basketball are family favorites, but we'll also keep an keen eye on fencing and table tennis because these two sports fascinate my kids.
Besides being pure fun, kids can learn so many life lessons from watching the Summer Olympics:
- Teamwork and Sportsmanship. Watching a team sport is an awesome way to show kids how players work together -- and work hard -- for a common goal. As for individual sports, it's also an opportunity to talk about how solo sports are cool, too. Individual athletes are supporting their entire country's team and cheer each other on. Don't forget how solo athletes work with their own team to even get to the Olympics. You can also show your kids good (and bad) examples of how players treat other teammates and competitors. Lessons are always more memorable when you can see something in action.
Geography and Culture. Keep an atlas handy while your watching the games. If you have younger kids, break out the map and show them where competing countries are located in relation to you. Talk time differences, weather, cuisine, how you'd travel there and what you would do.
Patriotism. Supporting your military at war is a common example used when folks describe the phrase "patriotism." But with kids, you can show that patriotism doesn't equate with violence or fighting. Supporting your country's Olympic team helps teach kids to be proud of where they live. It's also great to teach your kids that it's okay (and fun) to support other countries. I remember cheering the teams from Ireland and El Salvador when I was younger because they represent my heritage. But I also followed teams from other countries just for fun.
- Variety of sports. Your kid may adore basketball or tennis. But what about watching something different, like water polo or sailing. Hello, badminton!