The key to having successful Summer Games is choosing events you know your child will love, as well as ones that embody the spirit of the games. Set up a discus throw for children but substitute a Frisbee for the discus. Create a relay race around the yard using a paper towel roll as the baton. Instead of a swimming race, make some water balloons and have the kids toss them back and forth, moving farther apart until they break. Grab a soccer ball, set up two goals and have your kids channel their inner David Beckham. Get creative and don’t hesitate to ask your kids what events they would enjoy, and then find a way to actualize it.
Teamwork is a crucial part of the Summer Games, so divide the kids into teams for friendly play and a little bit of competition. If you don’t have a lot of future Olympians of your own, invite over some of your child’s playmates and make it a big event!
The kids will most likely be buzzing with excitement, so if you just say "go," chaos will ensue. Give them a few simple guidelines so they know what the point of the exercise is and how to complete it. Set some ground rules as well: No fighting, no ruining the props and only positive encouragement. Structure will create a safe and fun-filled environment.
When dealing with kids, the most important part is to make sure they are safe. Enlist reinforcements (family members, neighbors, fellow parents) if you are greatly outnumbered, so that there are a pair of eyes watching them at all times. Make sure everyone is playing nice and following the ground rules. Lock any gates or doors that they can slip out of and be especially mindful if your backyard has a pool. Sunscreen is a must-have as well.
Your little one will love winning a prize for their efforts in their own Summer Games events, but try not to single out one child. Make all the kids feel like winners by handing out medals and awards to everyone. After all, these activities should be fun. It's also a good way to promote healthy living, teamwork and participation. For one final group reward, bring out a round of healthy snacks and drinks for the mini athletes!
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