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The Sochi Olympic Winter Games begin on February 7, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. Enrich your kids’ understanding of the games with materials on the ancient and modern Olympics and the science behind the sports. Seek inspiration from the games and the athletes to get you and your kids moving this winter. Check out our 14 suggestions and ideas.
Winter Sports and Fitness
Shake off cabin fever by heading outside. Keep moving to stay warm in chilly weather. Wear appropriate winter gear, like a warm jacket, hat and gloves.
1. Go sledding – organize a make-believe Olympic sledding event with neighborhood friends
2. Ice skate at an outdoor or indoor rink
Too cold to go outside? Try some new and revisit some favorite indoor activities this winter.
3. Stretch out and try some introductory yoga poses (with videos from KidsHealth.org) for fitness and stress relief
4. Move at a museum that takes movement seriously – see official Let’s Move! Museum partners
Rich comfort foods, like macaroni and cheese, can be tempting when the temperatures are cold! Talk with your kids about how a balanced, healthy diet provides the best energy for active kids and athletes.
5. Create edible Olympic rings out of favorite vegetables and fruits
6. Prepare a warming, veggie-filled soup inspired by Russian cuisine – like a vegetable barley soup (with a recipe from PBS Parents)
7. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated like the Olympic athletes do
History, Geography and Language Arts Connections
The modern Olympics have their roots in the Olympic games of ancient Greece, which may have started around the 8th century B.C. or earlier. Today athletes can reach celebrity status, and the media devote coverage to their personal stories of hard work and determination. With your kids make a list of questions about the Olympics that spark your curiosity. Then research, read, reflect and write about the answers.
8. Uncover the history of the ancient and modern Olympic games (with resources featured in the Federal Registry for Educational Excellence, or FREE) and make a timeline poster
9. Study a nation among the more than 80 nations with teams in the 2014 Winter Olympics (from the official Sochi 2014 website) – locate the nation on a world map, learn about its history, culture and languages, and track the progress of the nation’s team during the games
10. Write a story about grit – read or watch interviews, bios or autobiographies about an Olympic athlete or team (past or present) with a compelling story, and write your own version of the story with a focus on grit, resilience and success
11. Work the numbers from the games’ events and Olympic records – calculate the difference between athletes’ times or scores in a particular event, or investigate energy transformation for downhill skiing (with an activity from the Physics Classroom)
12. Learn about winter weather – with a beginners’ interactive water cycle chart (from the U.S. Geological Survey), or for more advanced student scientists, with a snow and ice resource from the NASA Student Observation Network
13. Build an Olympic Park model out of blocks – recreate the Sochi Olympic Park or design an ideal park of the future
For Younger Kids
Preschool and young elementary school children would also enjoy imaginative play related to the Olympics. Bring out the craft supplies and turn on some music.
14. Pretend to be Olympians during the Sochi Winter Games ceremonies – make a craft Olympic torch and medals, and play act the opening and medal ceremonies
The Winter Olympics are a great opportunity to spark kids’ interest in winter sports, history, science and the world. After watching a favorite Olympic event on TV, spring off the couch and start moving and learning more.