The opening ceremony of the XXII Sochi Olympic Winter Games 2014 kicked off on Friday, February 7 at 12:18pm ET. I’m dating myself here, but the 1984 Olympic Games took place while I was in Kindergarten. I remember posing for our class picture that year with the Olympic Rings, the symbol of the Games. And to this day, I am still obsessed with watching the Olympics every few years. My children are rather young, but I wanted to somehow get them engaged in the events and excited about national pride since some of my earliest childhood memories relate to the Olympics.
Why Get Your Kids Excited for the Olympics?
– It’s an opportunity to teach your children about geography, world cultures, and to celebrate diversity
– It teaches them about dedication and determination in regards to training and competing
– It exposes them to different sports and their rules
– It’s a chance to learn good sportsmanship, and that achievement doesn’t necessarily mean winning
– It’s a fun, unique family bonding experience
– I’m guessing every Olympic athlete probably started out as just a kid who loved the Olympics
– Finally, if they’re excited, there’s no worries about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse trumping your favorite events on the television
How to Get Your Children Excited
– Watch some of the opening ceremonies together. Make a game out of it to help keep them interested. I found a FREE Opening Ceremony BINGO sheet from thirtyhandmadedays.com that we’ll complete using m&ms (in the colors of the Olympic Rings).
– Have your own Opening Ceremony. You can make torches using empty paper towel rolls, scrap tissue paper, and glue like the ones I found at Victoria Jamieson. We had all the supplies, and completed them in just 5 minutes. The children marched and paraded around to the National Anthem with their torches and American Flags while wearing red, white, and blue. They had a blast with this!
– Plan your own kid-friendly Olympic Games. I may have been more excited about this than the kids since some of my fondest childhood memories are also of “Field Day” at school. We obviously don’t have snow and ice in Jacksonville, so our Winter Games were more like Summer Games instead! We grabbed some friends and chose fun, age-appropriate activities like: Fill the Bucket, “Ice Cream Cone” race, 3-legged race, Long Jump, Wheelbarrow Race, Ball Toss, Tug of War and a Bean Bag Toss. We had individual, partner, and team events. We used things we already had at home – cones, buckets, hula hoops, and balls. Every child came out a winner and went home with a medal. I found some great ideas for older kids at Tania McCartney and at Red Ted Art.
– Make an Olympics-themed Craft. We decided a simple painting project like this one at Housing a Forest because I knew it would be doable for both kids. We used medicine cups and baby food jars for our circles. If you’re looking to find another idea, there are endless possibilities on Pinterest when you search Olympic Crafts.
– Dress them up in their winter gear. Let them pretend like they’re skiing or sledding! This one went over better than I had imagined. My kids love dressing up, but not in a bunch of layers so I definitely didn’t have high hopes! But, they didn’t want to stop playing, so this ended up being a winner!
Don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to do all of these suggestions…just pick one and go with it. You may just find yourself getting more excited about the Olympic Games. Selfishly I’m hoping to interest my kids enough in Sochi 2014, that they’ll be more excited about our upcoming ski vacation!