Guess what? The 2014 Winter Olympics are less than two weeks away! I've got my ideas for Olympic games for kids and families for you today.
I think you may have guessed from our AG Winter Olympic doll sled post, we LOVE the Olympics. We are counting down for sure. Our homeschool co-op leader is also a big Olympic fan, so when I offered to plan a whole day of Olympic games, she was more than willing to let me have at it! Yay!
As I said, I did plan this for our homeschool co-op, but I think the games could easily be played together as a family and would make a fun afternoon or evening.
We played all of our games indoors because the weather was not good that day. In my opinion, these games will work indoors or out depending upon the space you have available, but you could always tweak them a little bit to fit your space. You ready to see the fun we had?
We started our time by talking about the Olympic flame and torch. I made a very cheesy torch by rolling white construction paper into a cone. I crumpled orange and yellow construction paper and put it into the cone. While the Bugler's Dream and Olympic Fanfare Medley(affiliate link) played we had an Olympic torch relay.
A few times some flames came flying out of the torch and almost burned the building down…wink…wink. 😉 Thankfully, I am quick on my feet and saved the kids and the building from ruin by picking the flames up and putting them back in the torch. Aren't I brave? Lol!
Following our torch relay, we talked briefly about the winter Olympics and how many sports as well as what sports are played. Top End Sports has a great list of the current winter Olympic sports. We also talked about how Olympic athletes are expected to be good sports, play fair and not cheat in any way.
It was time to start the ‘opening ceremony.' I raised the Olympic flag (just an Olympic flag printed out and taped to the wall). The American flag was raised because these Olympics were occurring in America. Once again, I used a printed out flag that I taped to the wall. I lit the Olympic cauldron (by dumping the flames out on the table and calling it a cauldron…yep I'm totally nutso like that and the kids LOVED it!). Then it was time for the athletes to take their oath. I used a simple oath I found on the educatall site. It simply says:
I promise to participate in the games and to give it my all. Winning or losing is not important, remembering to have fun is.
Now let the games begin! We played a total of eight games. Between the prep time (with other parents helping me out), opening ceremony, all the games, snacks and closing ceremony, we easily filled 2 to 2.5 hours. If we had played the games multiple times, we could have taken a lot more time. As it was we split the kids into two teams for a lot of the games and let them ‘compete' as teams. We tried to keep the competition side of it to a minimum and the fun side of it to a maximum. We were not hard-core trying to compete. My goal is always fun and getting kids (and adults) active and moving.
Bobsled (pictured above)
This is a simple and fun game that does not require being active. Take an old wrapping paper tube. Cut it in half lengthwise. Send toy cars racing down the bobsled. First car to cross the finish line wins. I got this idea from Make and Takes. You can see the full idea on that site.
Speed Skating (pictured above)
For this game, all the kids (and adults) playing the game will need to be wearing socks. You will need a slick surface (not carpet) on which to skate. I marked off our ‘speed skating' oval with cones. Because we had 12 kids and our space wasn't large enough to have all of them race at the same time, I grouped them by age to race against each other. I attempted to show the kids how to skate (you know the ‘proper' speed skating….I'm sure I looked like a dork.), then they were allowed to practice skating around the oval.
We did each of our races as two laps around the oval. First, one to cross the finish line, which I marked with blue painter's tape (affiliate link).
For those of you who actually read all the information, blue painter's tape (affiliate link) is your friend for activities like this. It can mark start lines, finish lines and many other things. It easily comes up and doesn't harm the surface. Makes it easy to mark anything and easily remove it.
Mark off your ‘course' with two lines of blue tape. Show the kids a video (we didn't have internet access, so I had to show them and demonstrate again. I totally make a fool of myself for the kids….and I love every minute of it.) of a skier completing a mogul course. They will be able to see how the skiers ‘bump' down the course.
The kids and adults playing the game will ski the moguls by jumping on two feet from one side of the tape to the other. They can try to hold their hands as though they are holding poles as well. My daughter (pictured above on the left) is doing a good job of this.
Using the same two lines you used for your moguls course, set up your slalom course by putting out empty plastic bottles along the course. The kids and adults, pretend to ski between the slalom flags without knocking any over. If they knock it over, their team occurs a penalty point. The team with the fastest time and least number of penalty points is the winner. I got the idea for this game from educatall (it is called The Skier on their site) and modified it just a tiny bit.
Snowperson building contest
This was our only activity that really is not Olympic related, however, it is winter related and fun, so we did it anyway.
The kids were given 2 white trash bags (had I thought it through I would have given them 3 per team). They were also given a variety of construction paper, scissors, tape, and newspaper. They were told to work with their team and make a snowman or snowgirl with their supplies. I thought this was such a fun activity. It was so fun to see the kids working so well and being so creative together.
As you can see above, one team decided to make a flat snowperson. They cute out their eyes, nose, and mouth from the ads in the magazines or newspapers they were given. The other team made a 3D snowperson and used the construction paper to make the nose and eyes. They used blue painter's tape for much of the rest of their snowperson including from behind to get it to stand up.
I got this idea from About.com.
For this game, we used those same blue lines we used for the moguls and the slalom course. The players ran out to a place marked with a sign that said, Upright Spin. They then spun around once on the floor on one foot. The player continued to the next sign, Seated Spin. They sat down on the floor and spun around on their bottom. Finally, they went to the last sign, Triple Axel, where they completed 3 – 360-degree jumps. Then they ran back to the start and the next player on their team took a turn. The game ended when all players on the team had completed all three elements. Of course, we had teams and those teams raced against each other.
I got this idea from Zoom.com.
We brought in two sleds from home that we didn't care if they got a bit scuffed up. The teams paired into three groups of two. Each group had to have one player sitting on the sled. The other player must pull the sled to the end of the course. The players change places and pull the sled back to the start of the course. A new pair now takes on the course. Play continues until all players have completed the course.
I modified this idea from educatall. It is called Sled Races on that site.
During our snack time, teams could go over to two tables that had a 2″ square marked on it with blue painter's tape. They were to stand at the end of the table and figure out how to get the bottle cap (curling stone) into the square. They were not to touch the bottle cap after the initial flick. The kids generally figured out that blowing the bottle caps was the best method, but we were also running out of time and snacks were out, so that usually takes precedence. 🙂
I got the idea for this from Education.com.
One of the mom's in my co-op agreed to bring snacks. She went to town! I'm so amazed and impressed with what she made.
As you can see she made an Olympic Pizza. She used pizza dough and a cream cheese spread on top. She then placed fruit as the Olympic rings.
She made the American flag cake. It was a vanilla gluten-free cake mix for which she made homemade frosting and added the beautiful toppings you can see.
I didn't get a picture, but she also had bowls of fruit and veggies set out in the colors and pattern of the Olympic rings along with humus with which to dip. I don't remember the specific fruits and veggies. Sorry, but it was really cute.
We ended our time with our closing ceremonies. We played the Olympic Fanfare Medley again as I took down the American and Olympic flags. We pretended to pass the torch and Olympic flame onto the next host nation.
Finally we had our medal ceremony. Another mom made the cookies. She put a hole in the cookie prior to baking. I printed out the ‘medals' from a free printable at Darling Doodles. The medals/cookies were then put together with some ribbon in very American patriotic colors. We did not tie the medals until they were around the athletes neck. That way we didn't have the issue of the medal being too short or too long.
We did not keep track of who won what or what place they came in. We just called them up and gave them their medal. They got whatever medal they got. Most of the athletes promptly ate their medals…::gasp::. 😉
The kids and I had such a great time at our Winter Olympics! People were already taking about the next Olympics. Of course, I already have that lesson planned since I did those Olympics two years ago with the preschool class. You can see those game ideas my other posts, which are listed below along with another Olympic idea.
If you want more Olympic fun, follow my Olympics for Kids board on Pinterest. I keep adding more ideas all the time!
Do you plan to have any family fun for the Olympics? or game days for a group of kids? Do tell…I would love to hear more ideas.