I can almost hear the sounds of national anthems and see young people from all over the world proudly carrying their flag. Do the sights and sounds of the Olympics bring you excitement and anticipation? Perhaps like me, you find yourself watching TV late into the night engrossed in cheering on athletes from around the world. Seeing young men and women give all they have, after years of training fills me with inspiration, national pride, and pure happiness. I love that it’s a time when we set aside world politics and just enjoy the thrill of competition. The Olympic Games are a perfect opportunity mid-year to take a break from your regular routine and enjoy a unit study. Here are some fun Winter Olympic activities for kids that you can incorporate into your homeschool.
Fun Winter Olympic Activities for Kids (Elementary)
Take some time to study the ancient Olympic Games – where and when were the first Olympic Games held? Who could compete? What were the events? What did the winners get as a prize?
Learn how the ancient Games differ from the Modern Games. Have your children create a Venn diagram of the similarities and differences between the Ancient Olympic Games and the Modern Olympic Games. Or, create a Venn diagram comparing the summer and winter Olympic Games.
Study the country hosting the Games. For 2018, have your kids research South Korea – the size, population, government, language, flag, etc. What are some current events in that nation? Color the flag and hang it on your walls. Have your students give an oral report about what they learned.
Chart the medal count and each morning update with the latest results. Count the countries who participate and group them by continent.
Study the flags of the different participating countries. Do people from all continents participate?
Have your students research one country they may not know much about. Learn about their culture and traditions. How are they similar and different from yours? After the research, each student can write a short essay about the country they chose. Or, cook a meal as a family from the country you studied and wave their flag in support of their athletes.
Students may enjoy writing an acrostic poem using the words Winter Olympics, Athletes, Ice Skating, Hockey, etc.
Or perhaps they would enjoy creating a newspaper front page with drawings, stories, medal counts, etc. Have your students imagine they are a reporter at the Olympic Games writing from the venues.
Your kids could also research an unfamiliar sport – what do they know about curling? how about skeleton? After researching the sport, have your students give a presentation (or demonstration) on what they learn.
As a family, study the Olympic traditions such as the torch, flame, rings, and Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Watch the ceremonies together and discuss the differences.
Study the weather at the games. Track any storms that are in the area. Chart the weather for each day of the Games.
Learn about the different states of water – gas, solid, and liquid. All Winter Olympic Games require snow or ice.
Discuss how friction affects the sports. This is a great time to learn more about the sport of curling. Here is a great short video on the physics behind curling – your older students will appreciate this!
Make your own Olympic rings out of paper plates, a torch with tissue paper, flame, and/or Olympic flag. Decorate your living area with your Olympic art.
Create a laurel wreath for your kids to wear to represent the prize at the ancient Olympic Games.
For a fun treat, pop some popcorn and top it on an ice cream cone to make it look like torches – then eat your art creation!
To become an Olympic athlete, you must train well. Talk about perseverance, hard work, what it means to be a good teammate, what a good winner looks like, and what a good loser looks like. What about goals? Do you think athletes set goals? What are some goals you have?
Discuss the Olympic motto:
“Swifter, Higher, Stronger”
Learn the Olympic Creed and discuss what your family believes:
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
Know the Olympic Athlete’s Oath and apply it to your own sports (or consider writing one of your own):
“We swear that we will take part in these Olympic Games in the true spirit of sportsmanship and that we will respect and abide by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of the sport and the honor or our country (or teams).”
Do you know what the term Olympism means? Look it up and talk about the three things it teaches.
To experience the Olympics from your hometown, go ice skating as a family, or play roller hockey on your street. Everyone enjoys taking a trip to the snow to go skiing or snowboarding. Remember to incorporate the Olympic Creed and Motto in your play!
Get a group of friends or families together for a fun Olympic competition:
- make a mini opening ceremony
- have teams compete in different events (could be anything involving competition: shuttle runs, frisbee toss, relay races, long jump, etc.)
- discuss applying the character qualities of an athlete
- have each participant make a flag under which they will compete
- end with a closing ceremony and food from the host country
If you would like complete details on how to create a unit study around the Olympics, I highly recommend the book The Olympic Experience in Your School Grades K-3 and The Olympic Experience in Your School Grades 4-6. These books are complete with activities, detailed information, and everything you need to study the ancient and modern Olympic Games that will create a complete educational experience your kids won’t forget! While they are aimed at a public school classroom, they are easily adaptable to a homeschool or co-op.
Here are some other great FREE resources to help you with your study:
- Free Winter Olympics Downloads
- Free Winter Olympic Writing Prompts
- The Story of the Olympic Rings + Free Printable
- 15 Free Olympic Printables for Kids
I hope these Winter Olympic activities for kids help you celebrate the Olympics in a fun, memorable, and educational way. Go ahead and enjoy the Olympics this year like never before!
Do you have a way your family makes the Olympics a fun and educational experience? Leave a comment to let me know!
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