This post was originally written in 2012 during the London Olympics!
I love education, learning, and teaching!
I even incorporated education into my baby’s 1st birthday party. Earlier this year when I realized that my oldest nieces (ages 9 & 10) and my nephew (age 6) weren’t familiar with the Olympics ——and knowing that they each have a love and talent for certain sports (track & field, basketball, gymnastics), I thought it would be a great idea to make the Olympics an educational experience for them.
I didn’t have time for the photos and lesson plans, but everything still went wonderful.
As a mom of a toddler, there’s always so much to do. The opening ceremonies were about to start in 2 minutes, and I was just realizing how quickly the time had snuck up on us. The children were in the living room playing; & I had them to stop playing (which is hard to do) and told them it was time to watch the opening ceremonies.
I had been telling them that the opening ceremonies will be filled with singing, dancing, special effects, lots of colors, and just all types of amazing things. Well to my surprise it took awhile to get to the actual festivities in the stadium. There was quite a long introduction of some past Olympic moments. The kids are used to constant excitement and action, and they were getting skeptical and wanting to return to playing.
I needed to get them excited so I decided to take that time to throw in an Olympic crash course explaining more about what the Olympics is, who competes, how many people compete, where the Olympics started, and other basic Olympic facts. I made sure to be enthusiastic because I wanted them to know that they were about to witness something amazing.
Thankfully, they became very attentive and were starting to get really excited!
I started quizzing the kids, and I ended up asking, “What year did the Olympics start?”
And my little babies were just so excited and were throwing out answers and trying hard and hoping they had the correct answer. And then I said, “Ooopps, you know I’m gonna have to Google this one myself. I really can’t remember.” LOL!
Finally, they start showing the stadium and the countdown begins. But wait, where are the fairytale colors, thousands of dancers, acrobats, and everything I had hyped this up to be?
Well once again, to my surprise, London had a rather unique thing going on. The beginning of the festivities was definitely straight from a history book.
The kids were quickly losing interest. With displeased tones in their voices, they began asking, “Why are they dressed like that? What are they doing? What is this again? I’m bored; can we go back and play?”
I had looked forward to this moment for months. I also knew that we would never have this opportunity again until 4 years from now, but then, they would be much older. Now was the time to have them appreciate and be introduced to the spirit, fantasy, and amazement of the Olympics.
I decided to jump right into some interesting history facts that related to what was being shown on TV. I knew that I also had to relate these facts directly to the kids’ lives.
There was a lot of talking going on. I’m throwing out information about the Industrial Revolution, England, the world wars, Adolf H., the 4th of July, and so on.
The kids began to make a connection to what they were seeing on TV, and their interest level skyrocketed. They pretty much stayed glued to the television for the entire opening ceremonies! Wow!
Throughout most of the event, I’m answering questions or giving information, my sister is answering their questions, several questions are being asked, my nephew started playing the drums, Megan decided to help him play the drums….so you can imagine just how loud it was, but there was so much laughter, learning & love.
I have a graduate degree in education and I am certified to teach grades K-6. Though I do not plan to return to the classroom as a formal teacher, I know that I will always still be a teacher in some capacity.
In my experience, the most important and long-lasting education lessons takes place outside of the school or classroom. It was a gift to share in this wonderful opportunity with the little ones in my family. They’ve learned some lessons that I’m sure they will keep with them always.