The Winter Olympics 2022 are shaping up to be an international break from the “pandemic slump”. 16 days of fierce competition and games for us to tune into has me feeling pretty pumped, that’s for sure. I was thinking about ways to engage the kids in the games other than just sitting in front of the TV. Let’s talk Olympics history and explore some fun crafts and activities to enhance our Olympic experience.
Whats the story?
My son recently asked me, “What are the Olympics?” It gave me a bit of a pause. The Olympics, like Christmas or sunrises are just something I have come to expect. I even accept them as a type of universal truth and hadn’t really thought about in a while. Fact of the matter is, I have somewhat come to forget the history behind the games! So, it was a really good question to be asked. I got to do some refreshing of my Olympic history.
Over 3,000 years ago, the first Olympic Games began in ancient Greece in the city of Olympia, hence the name. They began as a way for the Greeks to honor the god Zeus. In the 19th Century, the games experienced something of a renaissance. They became the elite competitive sporting event for athletes in countries and nations all over the world. Typically, games are held every 4 years and alternate between Winter and Summer events within the 4 year period. My son and I checked out the History Channel for further information on the Olympic origins. Super cool!
Where are the Olympics?
Countries make competitive bids to the International Olympics Committee. Following the bids, they must undergo an intense audit to ensure that they are able to host the event. Factors include ability to support the huge tourism boom, travel access to the host city and sufficient accommodations for housing. Consider this Olympic writing prompt to encourage your young minds and the honing of their persuasive argument skills. Why should your hometown host the Olympics? Explore the IOC’s requirements for prospective cities. I love this because it makes you think about what your city as to offer, reviewing data and making your case.
This year, the Winter Olympics 2022 take place in Beijing, the capital of China. Due to intense COVID-19 restrictions, the games are closed to international tourists. While this will be a huge difference to past Olympic Games, Beijing has been largely isolated from the rest of the world the past two years. I am grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the Olympics and can do so from the safety of my home TV. Join me in wishing the best to all the athletes, volunteers and press who will be attending the event in person!
Athlete or Craft-lete?
I am 100% NOT athletic. I never really had the interest or the competitive drive that so many do. Social activities and especially doing things with my kids? Sign me up. However, when the Olympics roll around, I get super invested in the competitions. Are you a Winter or a Summer fan? I am all about the Winter sports. The irony is that I mostly hate Winter as a season, but Winter sports are the best- from the sidelines. I am so excited for figure skating and speed skating! In an effort to avoid annoying my entire family with my made up skating knowledge, “I can’t believe that she didn’t land that triple axle!” and to engage the kids, let’s dive into some Olympic crafts.
To start, have your kiddos create their own Athlete Profile. Into spots or not, this activity is an exploration in positivity for all. While it does have a space to enter in your “sport”, it leaves room for creativity! Maybe they are a master baker, or a great namer of stuffed animals. Encourage your little ones to think about their personal strengths or to imagine that they are a world renowned figure skater or skier! It’s all about fun here.
While you are watching the games, have your family track the wins of countries in their favorite sports using this Medal Count Chart. Who are your rooting for and what sports do you plan to watch? I know I like to pick an underdog to root for along with Team USA and the figure skating. Did I mention I love figure skating??
One of the things I love about the Olympics is an element that is separate from the competitions. The Opening Ceremony and seeing the athletes parade in wearing their uniforms is so vibrant and exciting. This Team USA Uniform activity gives your little designers an opportunity to create their own vision of what the Team USA uniforms might look like. Don’t forget to style the footwear in this Team USA Shoe activity. This year, they are designed by Ralph Lauren and are super classic Americana. Explore this gallery of Team USA uniforms of past years. I love seeing the changes and evolution of style choices for our athletes!
Another fun creative activity is this Create your Own Flag craft. This is another awesome part of the Opening Ceremony that I really enjoy. I love seeing the countries parade in, proudly wearing their colors and holding their flags. You get to see the representations of different cultures, some which are familiar and some which are not. It’s such a great opportunity to experience so much internationalism all in one place. One thing I am admittedly not superb at is recognizing the flags of other countries and nations. This is a great game to play with kids so they can learn to match countries to their flag. I found this cool site a while back that examines flags around the world and has quizzes too!
Get in the Olympic spirit
We hope that you enjoy these activities to accompany your Olympic viewing this winter. Remember to tune in beginning on Friday February 4th. What will you be watching? Who are you rooting for? Favorite athletes? Let us know in the comments!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.