Easy Ways to Enjoy the Olympics with Your Kids
Every time the Olympic games gear up in some part of the world, my family prepares for our own type of Olympic adventure. You don’t have to be as graceful as a figure skater or as agile as a gymnast to enjoy some Olympic fun right in your home.
For the Little Ones
Olympic Torch Craft
Getting preschoolers and early elementary kids excited about the Olympics begins with the opening ceremony. Take an empty paper towel tube and have your little ones decorate it with paints, stickers, or markers, or even cover it with aluminum foil. If you have red, orange, or yellow tissue paper, have the kids bunch of the end of a sheet and stuff it into one of the open ends of the paper towel tube (leaving part of the tissue paper sticking out to represent the flame).
Snacks for Little Olympians
The Olympics is a great time to discuss healthy living with your kids – after all, these athletes don’t get to where they are by lunches of soda and chips. Stir up some fun in the kitchen with your little ones by making health snacks to have during the opening ceremony or as you watch your favorite events.
Use this great recipe for honey whole wheat pretzels, but instead of making them into traditional pretzel shapes, have the kids form them into Olympic rings.
Make a snack we like to call Swimmer’s Delight by preparing a mix of sugar free blue Jell-O in an 8”x8” pan and allowing it to set in the fridge (this will represent the water). Then the kids can create a toothpick swimmer of fruit pieces – apple chunks, grapes, strawberry pieces – anything you have and the kids like to eat. Cut the Jell-O into squares (to represent the pool) and serve on a plate with your own fruit swimmer decorating the top.
Build your own Olympic games in the backyard, using a large beanbag for a discus, landscape spray paint to mark off a running track, a badminton net that can double for a volleyball court (both in the Olympics), and an obstacle course for the bikes. You can even move the games inside with table tennis. Have the little ones in the family create your own Olympic medals by taking plastic lids from yogurt or similar containers and painting them with decorations. You can punch a hole in the lids and thread a ribbon through each. Don’t forget to sing the national anthem when the medals are presented!
For Your Tweens, Teens, and the Entire Family
They might not be into making Olympic crafts, but it can still be fun to get in on the action of the Olympics. You can do this in small, easy ways, or go to the extreme for a fun learning experience for the entire family. So let’s start small and work our way from there…
Make a chart with predictions – Which country will earn the most medals? You can break this down into different kinds of medals as well. Don’t forget to cast votes for most decorated Olympian of the year.
Make a chart to track progress – Hang a chart on the wall listing the countries that are participating in the Olympics. You can find that information here. Each day have the kids keep track, even just with tick marks, which medals were earned from which country.
Head to the pool or lake for a day of playing water sports. The summer Olympics include athletic events such as water polo (get a floating net and beach ball), swimming (you can hold your own races), and synchronized swimming (this might be the most entertaining to laugh your way through as a family).
Unit Studies – If you really want to take the Olympics to the extreme as a family from the comfort of your own home, you can get great Olympic themed unit studies. I am using The Summer Olympics 2012 – lapbook with study guide – by A Journey Through Learning with my younger kids. There are wonderful free activities you can find online, too. Whatever resource you use or crazy event you hold in your own backyard, stand up and cheer for your favorite athletes!