Olympic Activities for Kids: Future Olympians

Becoming an Olympian is obviously no easy task, but getting started in a sport that may eventually lead to podium gold is actually easier than it may seem. Many athletes become inspired and work hard to obtain the elite level of their chosen discipline right in their hometowns.

So dream big – and get your kids excited about a new activity or improving at a current one with a little Olympics viewing and goal setting.

Gymnastics

Gymnastics is one of the most popular sports at the Olympic Games. Watching gymnasts can stir the tumbling bug in your child and fortunately gymnastics happens to be a sport that is extremely accessible to youngsters.

image from spitfireseattle.com

The Easy Route

Purchase a trampoline in the backyard or some thick inflatable air mattresses. Your child can practice flips and split jumps on the trampoline as they imagine soaring high above the ground like a gymnast on the vault in London.

The air mattress is great for crash landings or can also be used to practice somersaults and other tumbling moves. Inexpensive tumbling mats are an even better option and many are available at your local sports supply shop.

A swing set with monkey bars can serve as a high bar and an old saw horse can instantly become a balance beam.

The Path to Greatness

Gymboree is a very popular business with little ones and their parents. Kids come in for “mommy and me” style classes that eventually progress to more independent skill building.

Gymnastics centers also exist in most major cities and almost every recreation center offers at least one tumbling class.

Don’t bother with private lessons or expensive leotards at first– just bring your child in for the experience and see if their interest soars or wanes.

If your child is showing a fierce commitment to gymnastics, brace yourself for both the time and financial investments required to make your kiddo the next big thing of the competitive world. Private coaching is an essential, as is logging in plenty of hours at the gym.

Ask your child’s current group class instructor for some coaching recommendations, and be sure to check references online. The Internet is your best friend when it comes to researching and confirming the qualifications of someone who will likely begin to spend more time with your child than you will.

Swimming

Swimming is another big Olympics headliner with plenty of budget-friendly ways to get your kids involved.

image from sportsworldreport.com

The Easy Route

For smaller children, a larger inflatable pool (there are ones available big enough to require chlorine and a filter) can help them practice basic moves in the backyard. And yes, maintenance is much easier than an in-ground pool.

You may also consider taking them to meets at your local high school or swim club and gauge their reaction.

The Path to Greatness

During the summer, swim team is on a lot of people’s minds; but as the weather cools many tend to drop out or lose interest. Get your child involved in a team when you’re able to and see if he/she sticks with it.

A good team for youngsters will weigh personal accomplishment over defeating other swimmers, and will also keep your child’s safety and wellbeing in mind. Swimming on even a casual team usually requires early morning practices and plenty of meets on the weekends, so it really does quickly become a sport the whole family is involved in.

Check in with your local rec center to see if they have a community swim team. Or, if you can afford it, join a private cabana club in your region which will allow for nicer resources and more individual attention.

If your child loves the water but isn’t too strong at the majority of strokes, there are plenty of ways to get creative with a swimming passion.

Speed may not be their thing but what about hand eye coordination? Synchronized swimming and water polo are great options for young swimmers who would rather play than race.

Equestrian Events

Tween girls are exceptionally captivated by the grace, strength and agility of horses, which can lead to the persistent request for riding lessons and beyond.

image from sports.yahoo.com

The Easy Route

If you are on a tight budget or unsure of your son or daughter’s long-term commitment level, start out with riding lessons at a local barn in the Western style. Western riding is easier, more affordable and safer.

If your child excels at Western, they may progress to barrel racing or another competitive sport.

The Path to Greatness

If English (jumping, dressage, racing) is their thing, then prepare to spend quite a bit more money. Attire is very specific and entry fees to the various competitions can get expensive. However, it is all worth it when your child brings home that first blue ribbon!

Whatever you do, don’t buy a horse.

This may sound like an obvious and silly thing to say, but many parents get even more carried away than the youngster and purchase one of these massive (ahem, massively expensive and needy) creatures without a second thought.

When it does come time to buy a horse, try leasing one or making friends with someone who can get you a good deal while ensuring you receive a healthy, well-tempered animal.

These are just a few examples of sports that may become a part of your daily life someday. Olympic activities for kids are a great way to figure out your child’s passion!

 

Written by Tamara Warta

About ActivityHero Team

The ActivityHero Team is based in California and includes staff members and bloggers who love to share what they know about parenting, keeping kids active, choosing just the right camps and classes, and running successful businesses for kids.