I LOVE the Olympics. Perhaps it is because I was raised in a town with an Olympic training facility and attended a few events where you could interact with the athletes. Maybe it is because the first Olympics I ever watched was the 1984 Olympics. At the time, I was in love with gymnastics, and watching Mary Lou Retton take home the gold only solidified my fascination with the sport. Whatever the reason, I get excited when it is Olympic time and especially when I get to teach about the Olympics to toddlers.
When I mention the Olympics lately, all I get in response is “terrorist attacks.” I hate that. Maybe it’s irrational or illogical, but I like to believe in the promise that the Olympics are a time to come together and celebrate as one. This is the approach I take with my lessons.
Much of the lesson is easily explained in pictures, so I won’t go into great detail. But today, we had the opening ceremony for Toddler Olympics, and here is what we did.
1. Flags of the world- each child had a homework assignment to create one or more flags from a country of their choosing. They brought the flags with them.
2. Map work- Each child and parent found their flag country on the map and placed a star sticker on it. They then worked together to draw a line from their country to Sochi.
3. Explaining the Olympics- We talked about how the Olympics are a time when people all over the world come together to make new friends and play games.
4. Passing the torch- I explained how people know it is time for the Olympics when they see the torch being passed from person to person all the way to the stadium. We then took turns passing our own torch.
5. Opening ceremony parade-We held our flags and paraded around the house. I explained that because people were getting together to become friends, they wanted to get to know each other. The parade helps them to see all the different flags of each country.
6. Theme song- We talked about how special songs are sang to say hello to each other and make everyone feel welcome. We held hands and sang “The More We Get Together.”
7. Olympic symbol- I pointed out how the symbol of the Olympics looks like a whole bunch of rings linked together like a chain, and how we had linked together when we held hands during our song. The Olympic symbol depicts new friendships being made.
8. Training- We talked about how athletes train for many months for the Olympic. I made a large Olympic symbol out of different colors of posterboard. We took the rings and used them for our training, putting them into different shapes on the floor and making our way through them using different movements. We put them in a line and hopped into each ring, put them around the floor and ran around them, had the moms hold them and the kids crawled through.
Next week, we compete in events, make medals, and have our closing ceremony!