With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia kicking off in a few weeks, get your little ones excited for the grand and global event! The games are not only showcasing the amazing talent and skills of world class athletes, but also international unity and cultural exchange. Take advantage of the Olympics to learn not only about the host country’s culture and customs, but about other countries as well, especially your au pair’s home country.
Bring the kids to the local ice rink and for a public skating session, register for a figure skating lesson or watch a hockey game! Spend the day with the family snowboarding or skiing if you live by a ski lodge or resort. If you live by former winter Olympics host cities, an Olympics sports complex might have some fun activities available. Lake Placid Olympic Sports Complex has professional bobsled rides on the track for kids and adults 12 and older!
Invite your children’s friends and family over to watch the opening ceremonies together on Friday, February 7th. Make mini flags out of construction paper of the American flag and your au pair’s home country. Serve international fare for snacks. To represent Russia, try Russian-style ikra (Baklazhannaia Ikra), an eggplant spread also known as “poor man’s caviar”. For deserts, try pavlova, a meringue-based dessert or Russian apple sharlotka. During commercial breaks, play trivia games with cultural questions about the other countries.
If you want to have a family movie night, some kid-friendly movie picks about the Winter Olympics include Miracle, about the 1980 American Olympic Hockey team, or Cool Runnings, about the first Jamaican bobsledding team. And here’s a list of Olympics-inspired kids books to inspire your little future Olympian:
The Fairyland Olympics by Meg Clibbon
Panda Goes to the Olympics by Judith Simanovsky
Magic Tree House: Hour of the Olympics by Mary Pope Osborn
Tacky and the Winter Games by Helen Lester