It's the most wonderful time of the year...well, for the sports fanatic it is! That time of year when a high percentage of employees become suspiciously sick on Thursday and Friday, when grown men are frequently referring to Cinderella (teams), when everyone from the President to my parents is obsessing about their brackets....March Madness.
This season you can make March Madness more than brackets and winners and losers. There are several ways to introduce educational lessons into the March Madness frenzy, and when you do so, everyone is a winner!
1. Math Skills - I'm amazed at how much my 6 and 8-year-old's addition, subtraction and multiplication skills have advanced as their love for sports has grown. In fact, there is a direct correlation between their math acumen and the current sports season. March Madness is a great opportunity to practice addition and subtraction (How many points is team A winning by?) and the 2's and 3's multiplication tables (Smith scored 2 3-pointers in the second half, how many points did he score?). There are also several opportunities to introduce the concept of probability and statistics, if you can master those topics yourself!
2. Geography - My boys frequently inquire about where sports teams are geographically located. We often look at the U.S. map to familiarize them with the location of the opposing team or to pinpoint in which city a particular college is located. Through their love of basketball, they have learned about a multitude of cities throughout the country. This season, go through the brackets and identify where each of the college teams is located on a map. I guarantee you will learn something from this exercise as well!
3. Physical Fitness - Through their love of watching sports, children inevitably develop a love for playing sports. Kids are more motivated to shoot baskets to try and replicate how they see their favorite players play on TV. Encourage this behavior and motivate your children to hit the courts throughout March Madness.
4. Teamwork - When watching team sports, children learn how players work together in order to achieve a common goal. I have seen my sons apply these principles on the court and in school when playing sports and participating in other group activities. Integrate this life principal into your March Madness viewing, point out examples of teamwork and discuss how it can also apply off the court.
5. Work Ethic and Leadership Skills - I believe my little sports fans have learned a ton about work ethic just by watching their favorite pro and college athletes. They realize that shooting baskets may not be as easy as it looks on TV and the only way to master these skills is through hard work and practice. They are more motivated to hit the courts and practice their shots because they want to be like their favorite players. When watching basketball together, remind you child that the crazy half point shot or buzzer beater is not about luck, but due to the player's hard work and practice.
With these tips you can feel a bit less guilty about allowing your sports fanatics to watch TV non-stop for the next few weeks of March Madness! It's all about the lessons they are learning along the way, right?
Anjali Varma is "The Modern Mompreneur", her blog and YouTube channel provide entrepreneurship and lifestyle tips. Anjali recently launched a Marketing On A Shoestring Budget e-Course to help entrepreneurs market and get PR for their business at little or no cost. She is also the owner of Kidville Bethesda, an enrichment facility that offers classes, retail, haircuts, and birthday parties for newborns -- 6 years old. You can find Anjali on Twitter and Instagram @anjvarma.