The long-awaited Commonwealth Games take place this month and Australia is abuzz with excitement for the 12-day schedule of sporting events and celebration.
From the 4th to 15th April, the Gold Coast will play host to athletes from 70 nations competing in 275 events across 18 different sports. Not only that, host cities including Cairns and Townsville will hold some of the qualifying rounds for basketball and an exciting and plentiful program of events for the public too – check out our school holiday guide for more information on the events in your area.
Not only are the games themselves really exciting but they provide a unique opportunity for families to get involved and embrace GC2018. The Gold Coast has never seen an event of this magnitude, so making sure you make the most of it will ensure that you and your children don’t take it for granted.
Here’s our top tips on how your family can get involved in the Commonwealth Games:
Teach them About the Commonwealth.
What a great opportunity to sneak in a geography and history lesson with your children. See how many countries they can name that are part of the Commonwealth. There is a total of 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations and the nations are spread across every continent and ocean and make up to 30 per cent of the world’s population. The Commonwealth is composed of a rich variety of faiths, races, languages, cultures and traditions, from Asia to Africa and beyond.
During the Commonwealth Games have a fun pop quiz and see how many countries your children can name; see if they can remember how the Commonwealth came to be and if they can remember who got the most medals? There are many more interesting facts about our Commonwealth too; it’s always fun to teach children about the Royal Family and that age-old trivia question, “Who’s Australia’s head of state?”
Learn the History of the Games.
The Commonwealth Games have been held every four years since 1930, except for in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II. Did you know that this years Games will make Australia the nation that has hosted the most number of Games? It is the 5th Games to be hosted in Australia, with them previously being staged in Sydney (1938), Perth (1962), Brisbane (1982) and Melbourne (2006).
Colour the Flag.
Another great way to give your children a fun learning experience is to draw the flags from all of the Commonwealth nations. Head to www.pakmag.com.au for a free printable of flag templates for your children to colour in during the games. Not only will it keep them entertained for a few hours, they will also learn a lot whilst doing it.
Share the True Meaning Behind the Commonwealth Games.
Share with your children that the Games are about more than just competing. Discuss with them that the Games are often referred to as the ‘friendly games’, as they bring together members of the Commonwealth of Nations to compete on a level playing field in a spirit of friendship and fair play. That they aim to unite the Commonwealth family through sport.
Get Familiar with Borobi and the Games’ Motto.
Every Commonwealth Games has a motto and the 2018 Gold Coast’s Games official motto is ‘Share the Dream’ and the mascot is Borobi. You may already be familiar with the blue koala mascot who has been gracing our screens in various locations around Australia, but why not purchase your own Borobi online so you and your children can have a momento of the Games?
Learn a New Sport.
There are 18 different sports with 275 events which take place during the Commonwealth Games, and we guarantee that at least one of them will be new to your children. Take the time to watch a new sport together, learn the rules and get to know the athletes. Check out the schedule online, pick a sport together and watch it from start to finish (obviously when you can!). It not only acts as a great educational activity for the whole family but despite which sport you choose, we bet you’ll be screaming at the tv with excitement in no time!
With all the learning going on in the first few ideas, why not let the new-found knowledge inspire you to get outdoors? Find your local basketball courts, volleyball courts or parklands to try out a sport you’ve learned as a family. If your chosen sport is water based, head to your local pool to try diving (where permitted) or race the length of the pool in your own head-to-head swimming race
Host a Family Sports Day.
Keep the competitive spirit alive with your own family sports day. It’s a great way to have fun as a family, bring out some friendly competitiveness and create long lasting memories (or even a new tradition). Some of the sports in the Commonwealth Games may be difficult to do in your own back yard (and some, like Boxing, may not be advisable amongst family!), so why not make the events fun or silly. Try sack races, egg and spoon races or crazy obstacle courses.
As well as colouring in flags, there are many crafty ideas that your family can do during the Commonwealth Games. Why not make paper medals, create your own Borobi sculpture or make your own gymnastic ribbon to follow along with the rhythmic gymnastics.
Embrace the Commonwealth Nations by cooking a national dish – you could make a rule that every time a country wins a medal, you could cook something from that country. Try a Kenyan stew, Jamaican jerk chicken, haggis from Scotland, poutine from Canada, or a national dish from one of the other 67 countries.
Host a Ceremony Party.
One of the most enthralling parts of the Games are the opening and closing ceremonies, so why not throw a sports themed party, filled with snacks from around the globe, sporty décor and you could even play Commonwealth bingo. To play, give each family member a normal bingo sheet but instead of numbers, use flags or country names, as the teams come out, mark them off – whoever gets a line first wins the first prize, and whoever gets a full house first, wins the second prize.
Take the Family to a Game.
Lucky for us, Cairns and Townsville will play host to the preliminary rounds of basketball, so why not catch a game? Head to www.gc2018.com to grab yourself some tickets.
Share the Dream.
Whatever you and your family get up to this Commonwealth Games, we encourage you to embrace the motto of “Share the Dream” and share your experience with friends, family and with PakMag. We’d love to see what you’re getting up to so use #PakmagRepost on Instagram (if you use Facebook, make sure your post is set to public) so we can share your images and videos on our social channels.