Building Excitement for the Olympic Games

The opening ceremony of the XXII Sochi Olympic Winter Games 2014 kicked off on Friday, February 7 at 12:18pm ET. I’m dating myself here, but the 1984 Olympic Games took place while I was in Kindergarten. I remember posing for our class picture that year with the Olympic Rings, the symbol of the Games. And to this day, I am still obsessed with watching the Olympics every few years. My children are rather young, but I wanted to somehow get them engaged in the events and excited about national pride since some of my earliest childhood memories relate to the Olympics.

1984 Winter Olympics
My Kindergarten Class

Why Get Your Kids Excited for the Olympics?

– It’s an opportunity to teach your children about geography, world cultures, and to celebrate diversity

– It teaches them about dedication and determination in regards to training and competing

– It exposes them to different sports and their rules

– It’s a chance to learn good sportsmanship, and that achievement doesn’t necessarily mean winning

– It’s a fun, unique family bonding experience

– I’m guessing every Olympic athlete probably started out as just a kid who loved the Olympics

– Finally, if they’re excited, there’s no worries about Mickey Mouse Clubhouse trumping your favorite events on the television

How to Get Your Children Excited

Watch some of the opening ceremonies together. Make a game out of it to help keep them interested. I found a FREE Opening Ceremony BINGO sheet from that we’ll complete using m&ms (in the colors of the Olympic Rings).

Winter Olympics Bingo

Have your own Opening Ceremony. You can make torches using empty paper towel rolls, scrap tissue paper, and glue like the ones I found at Victoria Jamieson. We had all the supplies, and completed them in just 5 minutes. The children marched and paraded around to the National Anthem with their torches and American Flags while wearing red, white, and blue. They had a blast with this!

Our Opening Ceremony

Plan your own kid-friendly Olympic Games. I may have been more excited about this than the kids since some of my fondest childhood memories are also of “Field Day” at school. We obviously don’t have snow and ice in Jacksonville, so our Winter Games were more like Summer Games instead! We grabbed some friends and chose fun, age-appropriate activities like: Fill the Bucket, “Ice Cream Cone” race, 3-legged race, Long Jump, Wheelbarrow Race, Ball Toss, Tug of War and a Bean Bag Toss. We had individual, partner, and team events. We used things we already had at home – cones, buckets, hula hoops, and balls. Every child came out a winner and went home with a medal. I found some great ideas for older kids at Tania McCartney and at Red Ted Art.

Kid-friendly Olympics

Make an Olympics-themed Craft. We decided a simple painting project like this one at Housing a Forest because I knew it would be doable for both kids. We used medicine cups and baby food jars for our circles. If you’re looking to find another idea, there are endless possibilities on Pinterest when you search Olympic Crafts.

Olympic Craft

Dress them up in their winter gear. Let them pretend like they’re skiing or sledding! This one went over better than I had imagined. My kids love dressing up, but not in a bunch of layers so I definitely didn’t have high hopes! But, they didn’t want to stop playing, so this ended up being a winner!

Sledding in the backyard

Don’t feel overwhelmed by trying to do all of these suggestions…just pick one and go with it. You may just find yourself getting more excited about the Olympic Games. Selfishly I’m hoping to interest my kids enough in Sochi 2014, that they’ll be more excited about our upcoming ski vacation!

What’s your favorite Winter Games event? Skiing? Skating? Or perhaps Curling?

Nicole O
A Gulf Coast Florida native, Nicole relocated to Jacksonville to earn her Nursing Degree at the University of North Florida (UNF). It was there she met her football-loving husband, even though they didn’t date or marry until many years later. She is currently living out her dream of being a stay-at-home mom to their three beautiful, blue-eyed children (Liam, 6, Declan, 4, Leighton, 1). Their daughter made a dramatic debut in October 2014 arriving 17 weeks early following a car accident due to a placental abruption. After spending 4 months in the NICU and coming home on oxygen, they recently celebrated Leighton's first birthday. Prior to becoming a Lego enthusiast and referee, she enjoyed her role as a Clinical Specialist for St. Jude Medical. An athlete her entire life, it wasn’t until after she started having children that Nicole discovered her love of running. She's completed many 1/2 marathons, a marathon and a couple sprint triathlons, with a goal to finish a 1/2 Ironman in 2016. When she’s not snapping photos, she enjoys attempting a Pinterest project, an occasional glass of wine, or a night out with friends. This mom loves to plan and organize everything, except what’s for dinner!


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