Everyone in my house contracted the major fever of the season: Olympic fever! “Are you watching this AGAIN?” – cries out my neighbour’s daughter. Yes, again, we just can’t get enough… Neither can my kids: they are really fascinated, involved, inspired.
So, it’s time for some Olympic Games of our own. Considering the winter weather conditions, we’ll “host” it right in the middle of the living room.
The Opening Ceremony
We needed some flags. Looking through our geography for kids atlases, puzzles and globes, everyone (including parents) picked themselves some fun flag to decorate. A few sheets of construction paper, scissors, glue, marker for the details and a few sticks (we ripped apart a couple of dry cleaning pant hangers, taking out the white stick at the bottom)… and our “olympians” were ready to march. So, we turned on the music, grabbed some flags and marched all around the house waving to our imaginary crowd of spectators.
Let the Games Begin!
I had a few fireworks after a New Year celebration and we popped them at the end of the opening ceremony. My kids added some “special effects” blowing some paper bags and smashing it on the floor. Now we were ready to start our Sports Events.
Event #1: Figure Skating
Most of of our floor is carpeted. So Kitchen and hallway became our two “Iceberg Palace” skating arenas: socks were upgraded to the make-believe figure skates, each performer picked his own music and practiced his own jumps and spins, while we generously awarded the points.
Event #2: Bobsleigh
Now our carpeted floors were put to the test: the snow sleigh was brought back from the garage, the snow wiped off, our little athletes ready for the run. The simple plastic sleigh is really easy to pull around the carpet, so the smallest athlete in our house was given quite a spin by his older brothers, and then they took turns pushing each other around the room. If we were to have some friends for a playdate, we could have two teams, but since this Olympics was purely family event, our boys took turns representing different countries, as we were timing them with our cell phone basic stopwatch app. America won, of course.
Event #3: Biathlon
We tried making “skis” by tying tennis rackets to our kids feet, but while they did look like snowshoes, they were very uncomfortable and we ended up ditching them altogether. We built an obstacle course with some pillows and tunnels for them to go through and a box of shooting balls or beanbags at the end. Target is important! Unless you wish to end up with a black eye, make something to shoot at: trust me, otherwise those things will go flying in every direction.
The target can be drawn on a cardboard.
If you are up to some fun crafting – take a large piece of felt, draw or stick some masking tape to it to mark the target circles with points, wrap a few tightly rolled socks (or plastic balls) in a few rounds of velcro. Well aimed sock-ball will stick to the felt with velcro, making shooting and calculating points more fun. You could try an old fleece blanket too, hypothetically it could work.
The goal: go through the obstacle course 3 times; each time you are passing the “shooting ball” box, try scoring some points by throwing a few balls at the target. Boom! Major hit.
Event #4: Styles
No skis in the house. No snowboards either. Just jumping. A pile of pillows on the floor. A sofa to jump down from. Some obstacles to jump over. Creative names for the various jumps. Watch them soar into the air!
Event #5: Hockey
We happened to inherit some small plastic hockey sticks for “knee hockey”; I also bought a very cheap plastic hockey sticks in a local pharmacy. Add a little ball, nets (if you have them) or just any two objects marking where to shoot (pillows work, grandpa’s armchair too), and let the “teams” challenge each other! Whacking a hockey stick on the head of your opponent is, definitely, not allowed, and if the baby snatches a ball, he is allowed to keep it – other players have to resort to use another one. Needless to say, this one was the loudest and brought the most passions up, but also the most giggles.
We decided to close our games not with another show, but with a Award Giving Ceremony. Every participant got a medal. Every participant got a special sweet prize, that he could enjoy after dinner, while watching some more of the Olympic events on T.V. Now everyone can fly back to their country on their very own cardboard plane!
We are happy to report while some passions ran high, just as our kids’ jumps and tricks, nobody got hurt during our Olympic games. Parental guidance is strongly encouraged during all sport events: keep those bobsleighs away from stairs to avoid breaking some limbs, keep your biathlon shooting devices away from family TV to avoid breaking the bank, keep the hockey sticks away from your brother’s head to avoid breaking mom’s patience.
Olympic Cheer to Everyone!