It’s time to gather up all your Red, White & Blue USA gear as the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympic games kick off from Sochi, Russia on February 7. The Winter Olympics will showcase athletes from around the world and inspire young kids with dreams of being Olympic athletes. Impromptu medal ceremonies will pop up in living rooms across the country. Why not encourage your chirldren's imaginations with some Winter Olympic Activities for Kids? You could hold an Olympic themed day or spread the activities out over the length of the Olympic Games and keep a running total of medals earned.
Olympic Games for Kids
- Kitchen floor Ice Skating: Pull on a pair of fuzzy socks and slide around on the kitchen/dining room/living room floor. Clear furniture out of the way and demonstrate your best slides and spins. Have kids choreograph a skating routine to music and preform for others.
- Snowball Toss: If the weather is nice and you have snow, head outside and see who can throw a snowball the farthest. If snow is scarce you can substitute bean bags or baseballs. Use Styrofoam balls or Nerf type balls if you are doing this inside.
- Ski Jump: Stand with both feet together and see how far you can jump. Try jumping to the side or backwards.
- “Snowball” Carry Race: Put a Styrofoam ball on a spoon and have kids race to a designated distance and then turn around and go back. If they drop the “snowball” they have to start back at the beginning. You can also make this a relay race if you have many participants.
- Playing card transfer: Set up two tables a couple feet apart. Lay out 5 playing cards and give each person a straw. Each person puts a straw in their mouth and tries to pick up a card by sucking in through the straw. Once they pick up the card, try to have them walk to the other table to deposit the card.
- Ice Cube Melting. See who can melt an ice cube the fastest. Let them get creative on ways to melt the ice cube.
Olympic Treats for Kids:
- Olympic Ring Sugar Cookies. Make a batch of sugar cookies using two different size circle cookie cutters (or glasses) cut dough in to rings and bake. Make batches of frosting and use food coloring to make red, blue, green, yellow, and black frosting. You can also use sprinkles or decorating gel. Frost the cookie rings to look like the Olympic Rings
- Teaching point: The five Olympic Rings represent the 5 Regions of athletes (The Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceana). Every national flag in the world contains at least one of those colors
- Olympic Torch Ice Cream Cone: Fill a sugar cone with Orange Sherbet or other flame colored ice cream
- The Olympic Torch Relay for the Sochi Olympics started on October 7, 2013 and will travel 65,000km (almost 40,400 miles) before reaching the opening ceremonies on February 7, 2014.
Olympic Crafts for Kids:
- Make an Olympic Torch: Roll a piece of heavy card stock to make a cone shape. Secure with glue or tape and decorate the outside. Fill the cone with bunches of red, orange, and yellow tissue paper. Then organize your own Olympic Torch Relay. If it’s warm enough outside go for a stroll around the neighborhood. If not, parade the torch around the house.
- Make Your Own Olympic Rings. Cut the center out of 5 paper plates to make rings. Paint the rings Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, and Black to make your own Olympic rings to hang around the house.
Olympic Fact A Day:
Write the following 17 facts out on index cards. Each day pick a fact to read and discuss. If your children one of the facts particularly interesting follow it up by helping them search for more information on the internet and find You-Tube videos to watch.
- The very first winter games were held in Chamonix, France in 1924
- The Winter Olympics used to be held in the same year as the Summer Olympics. The games changed to alternating every 2 years in 1994.
- Norway has won the most Winter Olympic medals at 303.
- There are 4 athletes who have won medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympics in different sports.
- The famous Jamaican bobsled team was formed only 4 months before the Calgary games in 1988.
- The Winter Olympics have never been held in the Southern Hemisphere.
- The US has hosted the most Winter Olympic games with 4 (2 at Lake Placid, Squaw Valley, and Salt Lake City)
- The 1998 Nagano games were disrupted by too much snow!
- The town of Sochi is roughly the same size as Omaha, Nebraska.
- 2014 is the second time Russia has hosted the Winter Olympics. The first was in 1980 which the US team boycotted due to Cold War tensions between US and Russia.
- Six new games debut at the 2014 games. Men’s and Women’s Ski Half-Pipe, Biathlon Mixed Relay, Woman’s Ski Jumping, Team Figure Skating, and Luge Team Relay.
- The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius. Which means Faster, Higher, Stronger.
- Apolo Ohno, a short track speed skater, holds the record for most medals won by a male at the Winter Olympics.
- Speed skater Bonnie Blair holds the record for the most medals won by a female at the Winter Olympics.
- Only 4 winter sports are held indoors. Curling, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, and Ice Hockey
- Walt Disney was appointed as the head of the committee that organizes the opening ceremony for the 1960 Squaw Valley games.
- During the opening ceremony procession the first team in the procession is always the Greek team to represent the birth of the Olympics. Teams then follow in alphabetical order (according to the host countries language) with the exception of the host team, who enters last.
Olympic Books for Kids:
Do your kids like reading, below are a few books you can look for at your local library. You should also be able to find books with detailed information on individual sports in the non-fiction section.
Books for Pre-K through 2nd grade:
Books for 2nd grade and up:
- The Winter Olympics
- Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics
- Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #10: Ancient Greece and the Olympics: A Nonfiction Companion to Magic Tree House #16: Hour of the Olympics
The start of the Winter Olympics offer kids and families many opportunities to learn and have fun. These activities offer some competition while adding in fun and teamwork. It also offers the chance to talk about healthy competition and good sportsmanship. Sit back and enjoy 17 days of pure athleticism and quality time with your family.
Alicia can be found on her blog Moms Don’t Say That where she share recipes, tips, and musings from her life.