My daughter only watches TV in the winter.
(We started our screen-free practice after reading Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry by Katrina Kenison.)
With the Summer Olympics coming up, I’m thinking of ways to teach my daughter about the Olympics without actually watching them on television. Luckily, her summer camp teachers led a “Summer Olympics” theme week. The class:
- Decorated Olympic flags and marched on parade.
- Played Egg and Spoon races, two-legged races, and sack races.
- Created play horses from sticks and paper and rode around the playground.
- Read Koala Lou by Mem Fox and her adventures at the Bush Olympic games.
- Made Olympic medals for their end-of-week awards ceremony.
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Summer Olympics Books for Kids
To reinforce her learning at home, my daughter and I headed to the library to find some Summer Olympic books for kids. I was actually surprised how few age-appropriate books we could find. We looked through pictures in a few older non-fiction books. These are a couple books I might recommend:
by Mem Fox
Koala Lou is worried that her mom won’t love her as much after having other koala babies. Koala Lou trains for the Bush Olympics in the hopes that Mom will express her love for Lou. She finds out that her mom’s love is forever. This is a lovely Australian book!
Way to Go, Alex!
by Robin Pulver and Elizabeth Wolf
This story is written from the perspective of a young girl whose brother has additional needs. She supports him as he enters into the Special Olympics. My daughter really enjoyed this story.
G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet
by Brad Herzog and Doug Bowles
Older children might enjoy this Olympics alphabet book, which includes additional information and history about both the summer and winter Olympic Games.
Michael Phelps: How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals
by Michael Phelps, Alan Abrahamson, and Ward Jenkins
This book illustrates the amount of time and effort it took Michael Phelps to win eight gold medals. If your children are interested in numbers and learning about determination, this might be a good one for them.
Summer Olympics for Kids Yoga
After my daughter’s interest in the Summer Olympics was sparked at summer camp and after visiting the library, we turned to movement to enhance her learning. You could also try these yoga poses for kids inspired by a few Summer Olympics sports. After practicing these yoga poses, ask your children to invent other yoga poses modeling other Olympic sports.
Simply clear a space, wear comfortable clothing, listen to your body, and be safe. The following six yoga poses are logically sequenced to invite flow from one pose to the next:
1. Warrior 2 Pose – Pretend to be a Windsurfer.
From a standing position, step one foot back, placing the foot so that it is facing slightly outwards. Take your arms up in parallel to the ground, bend your front knee, and look forward. Pretend to be a windsurfer gliding through the waters. Switch sides and repeat on the other side.
2. Dancer’s Pose – Pretend to be a Gymnast.
Come back to standing tall in Mountain Pose, then stand on one leg, reach the opposite leg out behind you, and place the outside of your foot into your hand. Bend your torso forward with your arm out in front for balance and arch your leg up behind you. Pretend to be a rhythmic gymnast twirling your ribbon.
3. Chair Pose – Pretend to be a Horseback Rider.
Come back to standing with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees, and pretend to be riding a horse in the dressage competition.
4. Locust Pose – Pretend to be a Swimmer.
From Chair Pose, bend your torso to a Standing Forward Bend. Place your hands flat on the ground and sit back into a Plank Pose. Slowly lower yourself down to the floor to lie on your tummy. Then lift your chest and shoulders, look up, and rotate your arms as if you are swimming front crawl through the pool.
5. Boat Pose – Pretend to be a Rower.
Slowly push up and come to sitting on your buttocks with your bent knees in front of you and your spine straight. Then balance on your buttocks and lift your legs. Use your arms to pretend to row your boat like an Olympics rower.
6. Knees to Chest – Pretend to be a Cyclist.
Shift back to lie on your back, with your arms flat alongside your body. Bend your knees and hug them close to your chest. Then circle your legs as if you are riding a bicycle upside-down.
Take a moment to spread your arms and legs out in a Resting Pose. Close your eyes if that’s comfortable and take a few deep breaths. Go through a visualization exercise and imagine the hard work and determination it takes to be an Olympics athlete. Imagine what their lives would be like and how they would be similar/different from you. When you’re ready, come to comfortably sitting cross-legged. Share what you learned about the Summer Olympics with your other yogi friends.
What are your favorite Summer Olympics yoga poses for kids?
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ENJOY THE JOYS OF SUMMER THROUGH ENGAGING AND SIMPLE YOGA POSES!
Pretend to play tennis, birdwatch, and ride a scooter!
Download these 52 summer activities digital yoga cards to learn through movement in your home, classroom, or studio. Includes an Index Card, Pose Instructions, 20 Yoga Pose cards, and 20 matching Summer Activities cards. The yoga kids are multicultural from seven countries.
Ages 3 to 8.
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