During the 2008 Summer Olympics I witnessed additional Olympic events every day at my local pool. Inspired by the swimmers, the children spent every afternoon recreating the the aquatic competition – complete with cheering, colorful commentary, and imaginary award ceremonies.
Now, are all those children going to be competing in the Olympic games some day? Of course not, most kids have no more hope of becoming the next Michael Phelps than they do becoming the next Michael Jordan, but that is the sheer beauty of children’s imagination. The only thing limiting them is the cranky adults who surround them, too wrapped up in the ‘should be’ to remember the joy of ‘could be’.
Beginning on July 27, your budding Olympian can be inspired by 34 swimming events, 6 diving events, the fierce competition of water polo and the beauty of synchronized swimming. Click here for a schedule. Take advantage of the global focus on aquatic competition and follow-up the excitement of watching the Olympics by taking your children to the pool frequently so that they can engage in their own Olympic games.
If your children need a bit of encouragement to jump-start their imaginations, here are a couple of suggestions: Invest in some weighted rings and have them dive for them (or reach down in shallow water for younger children); put an inflatable ring in the water, hand them some splash balls and see who can toss the most balls into the center of the ring; toss a volleyball in the water and get a game of water polo going; or have your dancer transfer her skills to the water.
Then stand back, watch them closely (because you always need to watch your children in and around water and stay within arm’s reach of your non-swimmers), cheer wildly, and let them dream of Olympic gold. Besides, you never know, you may have the next Ryan Lochte or Missy Franklin splashing in your own bathtub, just waiting to be inspired and find the sport that makes their heart sing.
Let the Games begin!