When I was growing up, I assumed I would some day be competing in the Olympics; the only question (in my mind) was, which event? I chose swimming because I didn't need any equipment and I thought I was amazing at the back stroke on account that I could float and my brothers couldn't. While I might not have competed in the Olympics, I remember how it felt to be a kid with dreams. And that's what the Olympics are all about, in a way; getting kids to dream big. Here are
10 Olympic sports your kids will love to watch, and even better, love to practice on commercial breaks.
While all of the events are amazing let's face it, some of them could turn out to be a bit of a snooze fest for the under 12 set. Especially those sports that we get to watch all year like basketball, tennis, and soccer. I think the trick to getting your kids invested in watching the Olympics is igniting something in their imagination. Showing them a sport that doesn't feel like a sport, it feels like a skill. A skill that they might be able to use in a zombie apocalypse or if they are transported back in time to the days of Robin Hood.
Archery Quinn Rooney/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
I have tried my hand at archery as a grown up after a glass or two of wine and let me tell you... IT IS AMAZING. You feel so elegant and capable, so very much like Katniss Everdeen in
or that hot British fox who played Robin Hood in the Disney cartoon. Trust me, your kids will watch archery and want to go outside to whittle themselves a bow and arrow like in the days of yore. Here, I will even give you a great design for a The Hunger Games homemade bow and arrow set for kids to help you. You're welcome. Fencing
Fencing is one of those sports that is as cool to watch as it is to try, cooler actually because real fencing is super difficult. Watching fencing at the Olympics will satisfy your kid's inner swashbuckler with events like,
Men's Individual Sabre.While you might not want to run out to find your kids a real sword, here's a tip: wrapping paper rolls. They are long, they make a satisfying thud when they hit something and they don't hurt. Plus you can decorate them. Trampoline
There used to be these places called trampoline parks when I was little where kids went to jump and break limbs all the time. Now parents are smarter and have trampolines in their backyards. Kids will love watching the trampoline events because
jumping is fun to watch. Sorry, but it's that simple. I can't stop watching this kid with her cat. Diving
Why would kids like
the diving competition? Because it looks absolutely terrifying and thrilling in equal measures. I remember hiking with my kids when they were little and this teenager dove off this rocky outcropping. They were horrified and excited. Because they might not want to do it, but they're sort of happy to know that there is someone out there who does. Equestrian Jamie Squire/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Because beautiful horses with silky manes and fancy jumping, OK? Because everyone wants a horse, even people who are frightened of horses, and not all of us get to own one. That's really all there is to it.
Most kids like to do somersaults and try their hands at cartwheels because, I think, it amazes them that their bodies can move that way. Watching the g
ymnastics at the Olympics, which (in some ways) looks like a maze of super advanced playground equipment, should appeal to kids as something they will recognize. Table Tennis
Again it's sort of an accessibility thing. Plus it looks cool. And it's easy to follow, meaning there aren't a bunch of complicated rules about who wins and loses. It's straightforward; another aspect kids tend to enjoy.
Proceed with caution, parents; while your kids will certainly love the fighting... full disclosure, you might become their unwitting sparring partner who can't fight back.
Synchronized Swimming Clive Rose/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Who doesn't love swimming with jazz hands, I ask, you, who? Of course I know it's so much more complicated than that, but when I was a little girl nothing said "we're bffs" better than choreographing a synchronized swimming session in my grandparents pool. So much more dignified than daisy chain bracelets.
Canoe Slalom Christian Petersen/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
According to the
official Olympics website, canoe slalom was modeled after ski slalom in Switzerland in 1932. It uses both canoes and kayaks to navigate white water rapids. Kids should like the appeal of battling nature as well as their opponents, and it's exhilarating to watch because it's so fast moving. Plus, it's not something you see every day, so that's always cool.
While it might be too easy to get your kids to stay inside to watch the Olympics, they might be willing to sit through a few minutes at a time if something triggers their imagination. Just be ready to deal with their Olympic dreams in the aftermath.