Celebrate the Olympics with Your Kids!
by Chelle Dohrmann
The Olympics are here!
It's that time when many of us head for the tv to catch soccer, gymnastics, swimming, track, and more.
A time I've always found exciting and look forward to every four years. But I often find it a struggle to get the kids involved and as excited me.. Should I MAKE them be couch potatoes for two weeks? See if the local rec center offers curling lessons?
I want to make the Olympics not only an event on TV, but an event at home as well. But how?
Here are a few ideas for building on the excitement of the Olympics at home - Invite the neighbor kids, have some fun, get some exercise and maybe learn a little something along the way!
Let the children choose which country they would like to "represent," and either print off color sheets of flags or have blank paper for the kids to make their own. Have a few facts handy about each of the countries: continent, famous landmarks, famous people, etc (get more detailed based on age of kids). Have the kids color the flags and either attach to a stick for them to hold or attach string to hang around their necks.
Line them all up, play the Olympic theme or "Star Spangled Banner" and parade around the house or down the street!
Olympic Rings - Give each child a piece of white paper. Have 5 small dessert-sized paper plates filled with blue, black, red, yellow, and green paint. Use plastic cups, paper towel / toilet paper rolls or round cookie cutters to dip in each color of paint, and press onto the paper overlapping to form the rings.
Medals - Pre-cut circles out of card stock and offer bronze, silver, and gold crayons or markers to decorate; cover in aluminum foil, or, depending on how messy you like to get, offer glue and glitter! Have yarn or ribbon available to string them around their necks when done. Everyone is a winner!
Crowns - Cut strips of paper to go around their heads like a headband; have a variety of craft materials on hand for the children to decorate any way they want: buttons, feathers, jewels, leaves, etc; fit around their heads and secure with tape or a couple of staples.
Torches - Use paper towel holders, and stuff one end with pieces of red/orange/yellow tissue paper or construction paper.
Torch Race - Use torches made at craft time and hold a relay race! Set kids up in different areas around the house or yard, and race the torch from one child to the next!
Obstacle Course - This can be indoor or outdoor, weather dependent. Use any objects you can find in your garage or basement and set up a course. Create tunnels to go through (drape a blanket over chairs), climb over mountains (bed/throw pillows), ride a tricycle or big wheel a short distance, hop through tires or hula hoops, jump rope 10 times (or do jumping jacks), hop or roll to the finish line. Rather than making it a race against someone else, you can time each child once and challenge them to try to improve their own time each time they do it.
Tricycle/Big Wheel/Scooter races - This is probably self-explanatory, but make sure the kids are wearing proper safety gear!
Figure Skating - Use string, tape or chalk to mark off a "rink." Give each child two paper plates to use as skates (can tape to shoes if need be) and send them off! Play fun music and encourage the kids to make up a routine to go along with the music.
Car Jump - Hot wheels tracks can be positioned to launch cars in the air! When you don't have a mountain in your back yard, improvise! Measure how far the cars travel before coming to a stop or crash-landing.
Curling - Mark a ring on two ends of an area on the ground or table for targets. Divide the kids into teams and line up at each end. Give them each a ball (nerf, wiffle, tennis) and ask them to roll the ball toward the target at the other end, trying to get it to stop closest to the center. You can mark different areas within the ring to award points for where the ball lands - with more points awarded the closest it gets to the center.
Wii Sports - Go down-hill skiing and ski jump on the Wii!
Books - Head to your local library and check out age-appropriate books on the Olympics or biographies of past Olympians.
Trivia - Test the knowledge of the kids on Olympic Trivia! Questions can be tailored to any age level - Number/colors of Olympic Rings; In which city is the Olympics currently being held; Where was the first Olympics; Name one Olympic sport; Show pictures of famous Olympians and ask their names, etc.
Cookies/Cupcakes - Make round sugar cookies and/or cupcakes and ice or use sugar crystals in Olympic ring colors
Regional Foods - Based on what country the Olympics are being held in, research foods from that country and offer something to sample.
Torch Snack - Get ice cream cones (cake) and fill them with Cheetos standing up - fun!
Have kid-friendly Olympic-inspired ideas of your own? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add them in!
© 2014, KidsOutAndAbout.com
Chelle Dohrmann is a mother of two and the St. Louis Editor of KidsOutAndAbout.com