Be a sport!

Samantha Pope

The UK is going mad for sports this summer. With Euro 2012 a distant memory and Wimbledon just washed away, now we have the Olympics on our doorstep to keep sports addicts glued to their telly sets. We’ve used this to our advantage this month to produce some activities that are bound to go down a treat with future sportsmen and women.

Making a mascot
Yes, we know that the Olympic committee has already come up with its own mascots – Wenlock and Mandeville – to represent the London 2012 games. But it doesn’t mean you and your children can’t have some fun trying out your own designs. Let your child’s imagination go wild as they come up with wacky designs (and let’s face it – you can’t get much more bizarre than the current ones!). As you draw, chat about what makes a good mascot and try to think of a suitable name. For extra inspiration you can read all about how Wenlock and Mandeville were designed and named on the London 2012 website.

For some extra fun on the computer, you can visit the official page of the London 2012 mascots and personalise Wenlock and Mandeville to your own taste, adding hair, clothes and all sorts of extras.

Come on: commentate!
If you’ve ever heard any athletics commentary you’ll know how excited the commentators can get, especially in the 100 metres. In other sports, less dependent on speed, the chat tends to be more relaxed and quiet. Check out different sports to hear what sort of language the commentators use and how they convey information to the audience. Then, have a go yourselves! Turn the volume down on the television and challenge each other to describe what is happening on the screen, making it as interesting and exciting as possible.

For a laugh you could try using opposing styles to the event: so, for example, a quiet and gentle way of talking during an exciting running heat. Or frantic yelling during the synchronised swimming. This is a great way for children to realise how language can be used differently according to the situation at hand, and to also think about their tone of voice to convey meaning and emotion. Plus, it’s rather fun!

A day in the life of…
Sportspeople live their lives by focusing on things that will give them a chance to be the best in the world. This requires a lot of dedication and self-control and affects all the choices they make, from how much sleep they have to what they eat and how much they exercise. Challenge your child to write down what they think an average sportsperson does every day. They could do this in the form of a diary (eg 6:00am got out of bed, 7:00am had a run, etc) or a piece of continuous writing where the sportsperson describes their day in detail. Talk together about what they think a human body needs in order to be strong, fit and healthy. What food is the best fuel? How many hours of training are necessary? Time Out has a fantastic web page called Fitness Tips from Olympic Athletes which covers different people from different sports.

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