Bigstock.com/famveldman

Make Their Summer a Gold One! Olympic Inspirations to Explore Unique Sports at Camp

I remember the enthusiasm for the Olympic Games that set my imagination soaring as a girl. I turned cartwheels, improved my handspring, and created routines dreaming of becoming a gymnast. This summer will be buzzing with excitement surrounding the Olympic Games. Watching the games as a family might inspire your kids to try a new sport. Summer camps offer an easy introduction and opportunities to try unique sports that can broaden your child’s experiences and add to their confidence.

Certified life coach Bonnie Hayman at Cultivate: a counseling collective states, “Exposing children to new experiences can help them with developing a ‘growth mindset.’ This is the idea that we are constantly in a state of growing, and that we are always able to learn new things. Sports, creative activities, social settings and even new foods can encourage children to resist the ‘I can’t’ or ‘I don’t like that’ attitudes that can hinder confidence and flexibility.”

The Paris Games will debut sports that are popular and easy to participate in such as breaking (break dancing), skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. Go on, catch the wave of enthusiasm and enroll the kids in a sport off the beaten track!

Make a Splash

Some of the most watched and competitive of the Olympic games, water sports enhance a child’s love for swimming and develop skills they can carry throughout life.

Local recreation centers, school and club pools offer opportunities in individual sports such as diving and teach team sports like water polo and synchronized swimming. Outdoor water sport camps also abound. On the coast, surf camps are always popular. You’ll also find camps in other Olympic sports that may spark an interest in your child such as sailing or rowing. My son has enjoyed sailing lessons where he has practiced persistence and patience.

Water sports teach campers water safety and proper use of equipment and improve athleticism and swim skills. These camps are perfect for kids who feel comfortable in the water but have outgrown swimming lessons.

Camps to Flip For

Paula McCalester, retired gym owner and gymnastics coach, sees the enthusiasm that the Olympics bring to the sport. She says, “My husband and I were both gymnasts and it has been so exciting to see how the sport has evolved. This year’s Olympics should be epic with athletes like Simone Biles who dominate the sport and are pushing the boundaries of what the human body is capable of. Kids that follow the Olympics are motivated and excited to learn the sport.”

McCalester says that gymnastics teaches much more than cartwheels and flips, including a healthy lifestyle, self-confidence, work ethic, respect, discipline, balance, friendship, compassion and grit. “Gymnastics provides you with core strength and flexibility to make you able to transition into, and be successful in, other sports. We’ve had kids start in gymnastics and go on to be successful in diving, track and field, cheer, rowing and more.”

Seek New Adventures

The Olympics are sure to inspire adrenaline junkies. A new sports camp is a great way to allow high-energy kids a safe space to take risks and ignite a new passion where they can jump, spin and climb to new heights. Research the wide variety of camps for thrill-seekers including aerials/silks, rock climbing, skateboarding and BMX.

Through use of games, team-building activities and contests, these camps emphasize children’s safety while developing proper technique in the fundamentals of the sports, and they build strength, flexibility and coordination.

Create a Healthy Mind/Body Connection

Look for martial arts during the Olympics such as judo and taekwondo. Martial arts teach self-discipline, goal-setting, respect, listening and increased self-esteem and confidence.

Parker, 14, says, “Taekwondo is something our family does together. I like setting goals and working toward my belts. It builds friendly competition and respect between my brother and me.

Into The Great Outdoors

Outdoor-based camps like horseback riding and archery are classics. They offer young people opportunities to respect nature, gain focus and confidence while learning safe techniques to improve skills.

Related:

Considering Camps: An Age-by-Age Guide

Fighting My Way Into Summer Camp: The Hunger Games for Parents

30 Life Skills Kids Build While Away From Home