Let the excitement of the 2018 Winter Games in distant Pyeongchang, South Korea, Feb. 9-25, generate some new interests and activities your whole family can enjoy right at home.
The weeks of daily television coverage that follow the pageantry of the opening ceremony bring opportunities for your family to learn and have fun together watching the competition. Here are some teachable and inspirational moments the games can provide as you and your kids cheer for your favorite athletes.
WATCH AND LEARN
Devote a family bulletin board (or use a large piece of poster board) to the Olympic Games. Hang it in your kitchen or in a place where you come and go. Help your children find, cut out and display newspaper, magazine or printed online articles of athletes they are rooting for and admire. They might even be your hometown favorites.
To add to the spirit of the games, make a chart with their favorite athlete’s names, nationalities and sports. Note achievements as the games progress.
The Olympics are also a great tool for teaching kids global geography. You might hang a world map near your television or computer to locate continents, countries and cities.
NEVER GIVE UP
The skills and stories of hard work, courage and persistence of thousands of athletes worldwide are inspiring. When they tumble and fall, they get back up and keep on going, teaching those of us at home to strive to do our best. And remember, despite their talent, even the best trained athletes still make mistakes and only a small percentage actually win a medal.
Ask your children what personal characteristics they think led to the success of the athletes you watch. Then talk about the sports they enjoy in their lives and the challenges and feelings of accomplishment they experience on the ice, in a gym or snowboarding down a hill.
BRING HOME THE SPIRIT OF THE GAMES
Encourage a spirit of cooperation when engaging in your own family projects, sports and games. Winning certainly is fun, but encouraging and supporting others can be even more enjoyable. If you’re playing board games, tackling a household chore or if you’re inspired to try an Olympic sport like ice skating or skiing, aim toward challenging one another in a cooperative spirit.
“I’ve never seen snow fall,” said 37-year-old Megan Anduri-Flynn, biology instructor and mom of 5-year-old Nicola, until a rare snowstorm surprise hit in Beaverton, Oregon. “We got a foot of snow, and it stuck.”
The unexpected wintry blast opened up new opportunities for family play, including for Nicola’s California-raised 69-year-old grandmother, who made her first snow angel in the backyard.
An avid nature lover, Megan and her husband’s move from Southern California was motivated by her love for Oregon’s rustic outdoor living. But when she packed up Nicola’s beach toys, she didn’t expect that her buckets and shovels would be used for building castles of snow instead of sand.
Taking advantage of the fabulous snow day, Nicola scooped the fluffy stuff and packed it into the buckets, then flipped them upside-down, like she had done with damp sand on the sunny beaches of L.A., to create snow castles for a charming kingdom to play in.
She dabbed watercolor paints with a brush here and there on the snow-packed structures. Plastic Disney characters Jasmine, Cinderella, Ariel and Belle were placed on roofs and turrets to bring the scene to life in her imagination.
Inspired by the freeze, she also made beautiful icy suncatchers to hang from branches using baking pans and her great-grandmother’s metal gelatin molds.
This easy craft is fun to make during wintertime, anywhere. If you are in a warmer climate, make the indoor version in your freezer for a punchbowl when friends come by for a special occasion.
Here’s the stuff you’ll need:
–metal cake pan or cupcake pan
–dried flowers, leaves, potpourri for suncatcher
–decorative edible items such as thinly sliced oranges, limes, strawberries and mint for edible version
–strong string or wire for a hanger
–food coloring (optional)
Here’s the fun:
1. Set natural decorative items into the pan. For punch-bowl ice, add edible items. When frozen, remove and add to punch.
2. For outdoor version, add a 20-inch length of twine or wire in the water, making sure it is submerged near the top of the mold. Fill with water and set in the freezer.
When the temperature outside is freezing, remove the ice shape from the pan and hang from a branch where a glimmer of light will shine through.