Friday, July 27, 2012

Finding Inspiration in the Olympics

My kids are so excited to watch the Olympics this summer starting with the Opening Ceremonies this evening. We checked out several books from the library in order to learn as much as we could about each sport. Naturally my three boys were enthralled with the shooting and combat sports. Then we searched online to find out if any athletes would be competing from our home town or from our favorite colleges. We were thrilled to find a list of talented athletes and learned more about their Olympic training.

As a Mama always interested in finding those teachable moments, we spent the last week leading up to the Opening Ceremonies learning about the history and values that contribute to our modern Olympics. Using online resources from the British Museum, we learned about the Ancient Olympics. Again, my boys loved learning about the ancient sport of Pankration, which sounds to me like ultimate fighting with fewer rules, and the race in armor.

We switched our focus to the modern games by learning about some of the different nations that would be participating. They loved looking up different country's flags online and finding countries they had never heard of on the world map. We did a fun paper plate craft where the boys painted a few of their favorite flags and the Olympic rings. We strung these up on our back porch to prepare for our backyard Olympics.

Before we could participate in our own games, we had to learn the rules, starting with the Olympic values. From the Get Set London 2012 Games educational website "these Values are:
  • respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment
  • excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives
  • friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any differences

The Paralympic Values are based on the history of the Paralympic Games and the tradition of fair play and honourable sports competition. They are:

  • courage
  • determination
  • inspiration
  • equality."

With the ground rules laid, we set out into our backyard for some healthy soccer, basketball, and track and field competitions. I think everyone's favorite was the soccer shoot-out. We drew a soccer goal on our fence in sidewalk chalk and took turns trying to score as many goals as possible in 60-second intervals.

What a great opportunity to learn about history, values and cultures while also stretching ourselves outside!

What are you doing to celebrate the games with your family?

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