Recreate the Winter Olympic Games with Your Kids
Are you planning to watch the Winter Olympics with your kids? Well why just watch the events when you can create your own? Here are some home-style Olympics or Home-lympics (patent pending), events you can recreate at your home. Each section has been broken down with a description of the event, to help you become more familiar with each event, and a suggestion of how to recreate the event on your own.
Please note: Be sure to take all safety measures when doing these activities. Olympic athletes take all the precautions necessary to avoid injuries and so should you.
These events incorporate multiple dynamics including time trials, creativity, accuracy, and strength on a variety of courses.
There are two snowboarding events in the Olympics: the half pipe and the freestyle course. Both events involve judges scoring the athlete based on creativity, difficulty, and execution of the tricks performed.
Tricks! Skiers travel down the same course as the snowboarders use but they perform tricks. Each athlete gets two runs and their best score is the one that determines their position in the competition.
If you have snow where you live, you can recreate these events by building a jump at the bottom of the hill, and sliding down on a sled. Or you can go to the ski slopes and use the jumps available there. If you live in a warmer climate and have a pool available, you can judge a trick competition by having your kids jump from a diving board or the edge.
This event involves navigating a downhill course at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Let’s slow things down a little bit. Bring a stop watch, and have your kids sled downhill (even without the snow) to see if they can beat the best time. If speed isn’t their thing, you can always gauge who can go the furthest distance.
In this event, contestants combine the two sports of skiing and shooting. Athletes ski up to eighteen miles and stop at designated shooting ranges. Set up some targets spaced apart from each other. Strap on a pair of skis, roller blades, or just run to each station, and knock them down by throwing balls, or use a NERF or water gun.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Olympians go down a really big ramp and try to jump really far. While the description is simple, there is a lot of skill involved in this sport. Stefan Kraft holds the ski jump world record of 831 feet 8.31 inches. This one can get pretty dangerous at home, so use something that you feel comfortable with your kids jumping off of, or again, try gauging distance, while staying on the ground. How far can they jump from a stationary position?
This is an event that has athletes skiing 10-20 miles over all types of terrain. The winner is whoever crosses the finish line first.
After it snows, some golf courses will open the links and allow skiers to travel on the fairways. Golf courses provide great open ground where you don’t need to worry about any random dangers that you would come across in the woods. Another idea is to incorporate a relay, so one child can run two laps, then the second child can run the next two laps. And have them try to increase their times.
All these events involve traveling down a track on some type of sled, allowing the contestant to reach incredible speeds.
The luge is where an athlete lays on the sled on his or her back, feet first, and speeds down the tube.
The skeleton is similar to the luge, however instead of going feet first, the athlete travels down the track head first.
The bobsleigh involves a team of either two or four individuals using the same vehicle to travel down the long track.
It goes without saying that if you are around snow, you can recreate these events using anything from a food tray to a toboggan. If you aren’t around snow, you have a couple of options. Ski parks, when it’s warm, often have luge courses where you sit on a board with wheels. Water parks are also a great option to recreate the feeling of going down a track at really fast speeds.
This event has the athlete skate as fast as they can around a track. Education advocate and Gold medal winner Apollo Ohno won several medals in this sport during the Vancouver Olympics. To recreate it at home, come up with your own course, and see who can get around it the fastest. It does not need to be on skates, but can be a foot race, swim race, bike race, or whatever you can think of and will work in your surroundings. Judge it based on single or multiple laps. Remember if there is just one child he or she can always compete solo and try to beat the time!
These are choreographed performances on ice, there are singles and doubles events for figure skating. Judges score the contestants based on the creativity, difficulty, and execution of the performances. To recreate this event, have your student pick out a song and make up a dance, ask them what they plan on doing first, and then judge them based off their performance. For a fun twist have them judge you.
Two teams comprised of three forwards, two defenders, and a goalie try to score a puck into the opposing team’s net. Kids can play roller hockey on the street using a tennis ball and garbage cans as goals, or for indoor hockey, try an air-hockey game or even knee hockey.
Two teams roll a stone on ice toward a target 150 feet away. There is one person who rolls the stone, while the other teammates influence the path of the stone by “sweeping” the ice. This game is very easy to recreate. No matter where you are, just choose something that is a target. You can set your own marker or use a tree, rock or anything. Next, have your kids pick out their own “stones,” these can be anything that you are comfortable with your kids throwing. Simply roll or throw your stones and whoever gets closest to the target wins. This game can get very competitive once stones start getting knocked away from the target.
For all the skating events, you can go to an ice rink, or roller skate rink. For indoor activities you can wear socks on hard wood floors or pick up a pair of carpet skates for carpets to recreate the low friction.
Of course, what would the Olympics be without medals? After the events, print out our gold medals printables and hold your own awards ceremony to honor your athletes!
Peter Spain is a contributing writer for Learning Liftoff and a manager at K12. A graduate from George Mason University, Peter has worked for several years in the education and entertainment industry. He strives to make learning fun for children by contributing to the games and activities section of the site, and keeping an eye out for advancements in edutainment.