I still clearly remember watching the Olympics as a child — the joy, the heartache, the triumph, the patriotism. But what I remember even clearer are the Olympics I recreated — the ice skating routines in my living room, the bobsledding in my yard, the racing on my skis.
The Sochi Olympic Games were the first of many my sons will watch. My oldest, at two, is already obsessed with snowboarding, and he walked around our house for weeks in great anticipation. “Watch the ‘lympics mama?” We woke him up to watch the men’s snowboard halfpipe final; and sure enough, the next morning he was using a blanket to make a halfpipe between the armrests of a chair and practicing tricks with his Toy Boarders.
With the games are over, I’d hate to lose the inspiration and excitement the Olympics always bring. Here are a few ways to continue cultivate the Olympic spirit at home with your kids:
1. Create a mini indoor winter wonderland.
Using a large cookie sheet to (somewhat) contain the mess, add some flour to create snow. From there, use your imagination! We used a skate ramp and pieces from a train set to create a slopestyle event. Marbles could be used for curling. Small containers used as sleds. Lego pieces or popsicle sticks can be used as snowboards or skis. You could even add water to the cookie sheet and freeze it to make an ice rink. Dollhouse figures, small animals, Lego people or Toy Boarders make great athletes. The first time I set this up, my two year old played for nearly an hour on his own.
2. Get Outside!
Nothing helps recreate the Olympics like actually facing the elements. Sledding in the yard is now bobsledding, luging or sliding. Ice skating on the pond is a “Gold medal hockey game” or a chance to land a “triple lutz”. Cross country skiing isn’t as leisurely; it’s a race against time. The Olympics are a great motivator to get really lost in active, outdoor day.
3. Host award ceremonies.
After the outdoor events, celebrate with an award ceremony! Use Olympic music and find a flag and medals. Use a drawing attached to a skewer or popsicle stick if you don’t have a flag handy. For medals, use a pendant necklace or draw a medal and attach it to string. While singing the national anthem, celebrate your child!
4. Embrace the anticipation.
The Olympics always come back. Whether it’s learning about the upcoming Rio summer games or the 2018 games in South Korea, it’s a great opportunity to explore a different culture and study at a map. One of the reasons the Olympics are so special is that they’re out of the ordinary. The anticipation makes them even more exciting! And there’s no reason to rest in the offseason; the athletes don’t, afterall.
5. Watch the Paralympics.
Even though the Closing Ceremony was on Sunday night, the Olympics continue. Kids can still see events and remarkable athletes during the Paralympic games in Sochi from March 7-16. There’s certainly no shortage of inspiration in the Paralympics games!
Our children may never become Olympians, but they’ll surely inspire us as we create the spirit of the games at home.
Denise Lilly is a writer, and the author of Cling. She lives in Maine with her husband and two sons. Though she spent the last few weeks glued to the games on T.V., she normally spends her days in the daily grind of motherhood while trying to squeeze in times to write on her blog, www.deniselilly.com. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
A Mom’s Moment is a series of blog posts capturing all of the memorable, challenging, significant, and everyday “moments” we experience as moms. Every woman takes on this role in a different way AND every woman has a special story to tell. Our goal is to embrace these moments and share them with you: the good (and the bad), the things we love (and the things we don’t)… and everything in between.