Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 Olympics: Get Kids Excited (and Fitter Too!)

London’s 2012 Olympic Games

Image credit:

If you are a sports fan, there is a high chance you will be tuning your TV into an endless number of events during London’s 2012 Olympic Games. This means that children might have to miss watching their favourite cartoons/programs broadcast on other channels at some points, or that their usual routine is otherwise interrupted due to mum’s wish to cheer the cycling, or dad’s desire to indulge in the boxing. This could see some kids complaining throughout the Games 17 day-duration, souring the excitement for their parents.

It is important then to encourage kids to get excited about the Olympics. As a result of doing so you could even stimulate a love of keeping fit in your child also!

Here are three simple ways to get your little ones psyched for the 2012 Olympics:

#1: Introduce the Lesser-Known Olympic Sports

Cycling - BMX
Image credit: London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Whilst most children will probably expect the inclusion of traditional athletics in the Olympic sports line up, they may be surprised to see events such as BMX, wrestling, synchronised swimming and shooting included within the itinerary. There really is an event for everyone to enjoy and this can see less fights over the TV remote occurring – offer to let your kids watch a particular late-night event with you in exchange for peace whilst your personal favourite is airing.

Some children really dislike exercise but the Olympics’ diverse line up proves that sport can be fun. This in turn could see your child wanting to be more active – they might ask to be enrolled in classes to learn one of the disciplines or request a bike for their next birthday (a much better gift than a couch-potato-encouraging games console!)

#2: Play Olympic Games in the Garden

Backyard Family Games
Image credit:

After each of the events my partner and I wanted to watch during the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, we took our three kids into the back garden to compete in our own versions. After watching the shooting, for example, we fired soft-bullet Nerf gun at paper targets and post-rhythmic gymnastics we held a dance-off. Grandma acted as judge and decided the winners (and distribution of points) in each event. At the close of the Games and we too held our very own awards ceremony.

The kids not only enjoyed the activities we set up for them but they were also keen to tune into each event, seeking inspiration for their own “Olympic” performances. If you lack the time for extensive preparation of your family events, then you’ll be glad to hear that you can purchase a pre-boxed set of suitable games (pictured above). You can also use any play equipment that you already have installed in your garden – such as slides and/or timbre climbing frames – as part of the fun (do consider safety carefully though!)

In addition, parents could also use an Olympics-themed rewards chart for the duration of the Games and offer ‘gold’, ‘silver’ and ‘bronze’ prizes as an incentive for good behaviour and completing set chores.

#3: Say Hello to the Olympic Mascots

2012 London Olympic Mascots Wenlock And Mandeville
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Wenlock and Mandeville – the mascots for the London 2012 Olympics – might have been created in order for the city to cash-in from merchandise sales but this does not mean you should ignore the strange steel-formed aliens during the event, especially if their involvement sees your kids remaining quiet and interested!

Buying a soft toy of one of the mascots for a young child can see their eyes become glued to the TV – encourage them to spot their chosen character during the coverage. There are also several colouring sheets featuring the mascots available for download online which can keep you kids occupied during any sports that are of little interest to them.

The author of this guest post – Katherine Margate – encourages her kids to stay fit with garden apparatus from Climbing Frames UK.

Technorati Tags:

This post may contains affiliate link(s). See our Disclosure Policies for more information. We've shared this information to inform you of your option to either use our affiliated links or to go directly to the site of interest.