Our Family Olympics


We held our own Olympics yesterday!

The kids started by picking a country to represent and finding its flag on the “flags of the world” poster to copy.  They carefully made flags and we taped them to the front of their shirts.

I helped them make 15 medals (gold, silver and bronze for 5 sports).  We cut cardboard circles and covered them with slightly crinkled tinfoil.  Then they dabbed paint on them with a paper towel and rubbed it in (bronze for bronze, yellow for gold and unpainted for silver) and used a screwdriver to put holes on the tops.  We threaded some coloful yarn through and tied it and were done.

Then we made an Olympic torch and talked about what it symbolized.  The kids each took a leg of the journey from the flames at Olympus (the corner) to the host city’s Olympic games (the soccer goal).

Daddy came out to help and brought some of his favorite Olympic games.  They’re some of the more obscure sports!  There’s the “partially filled water bottle toss at the turkey target” competition, for instance.  That one is usually shown late at night so you may have missed it.  😉

All total, we had the bottle toss…

The javelin…

The discus…

(Where Mom got too busy playing to remember to take a picture!)

The 100 yard dash…

The long jump…

 And gymnastics (mostly floor routine)…

For some of the events, the kids honestly competed.  Jack legitimately won the bottle toss and Victoria legitimately won the discus.   With Daddy’s additional games we had more than 5 games to choose from and ended up deciding on 6.  Because of that, the kids didn’t get to medal in all the games.  They chose whether to medal in gymnastics or the long jump.  Victoria chose the long jump and had to try to beat the Russian and Japanese athletes (me!) to see where she’d place.  She got silver.  Jack and Anna got 4th and 5th but enjoyed jumping nonetheless.

For the other games, we drew from a hat and they had to try to get that medal.  For instance, Anna drew gold for the race and Jack drew bronze so they had to plan it so Anna would come in first, Victoria second, and Jack last.

Since Victoria couldn’t medal in gymnastics, she decided that she got disqualified for poor sportsmanship.  🙂  She taunted the judges!

Jack had several meltdowns about not getting 5 gold medals.  We all deserve copious amounts of chocolate or cash for not throttling him several times yesterday.  I don’t know what was in the air yesterday but my good mommy muscles were certainly getting a workout.  Anna threw a fit about not getting to run the torch back and launched into an overdramatic rant about the unfairness of her life.  Victoria bossed and nitpicked, Alex tried to run off with the spears and I blew up more than once and said I was going to quit the whole rotten thing!  🙂  (It’s not even Friday and you got full disclosure!)

However, we worked it out each time and survived the thing with smiles mostly intact.  It ended up being pretty fun and we enjoyed it despite ourselves!

Later on, I read the kids some information about the ancient Olympic games, the traditions associated with the Olympics and how the modern Olympics got started.  It was pretty interesting!

At the end of our Olympic talk, I gave the kids forms where they can track “their” countries in terms of how many medals they get.  They fill it out any time an athlete from their country gets a medal and write down what the competition was and what medal was earned.  Jack was filling his with quite a lot of swimming for the USA last night!  Now we all have to root for France and Germany to get some medals for the girls!

Some days you have grand plans with the kids and it feels so hard to make it work.  Or at least I do!  I think patience and a sense of humor are the only things that get me through those times, but it does work out eventually.  I guess nothing good comes easy, but it did end up being a very good time.

Olympic Games

We’re having a family Olympic event here later today!  The kids are going to make medals and then they’re going to compete in various sports like discus (frisbee), running and the long jump.

Each child is going to pick a country to represent and then learn a bit about their country.  Anna has already decided to be France and she’s written a letter of introduction to the French people!  😉

We are also rigging the games!  Since the kids are all different ages and skill levels, it’s a bit of an unfair competition.  In our house, that often leads to drama.  Egads, does it lead to drama some days!  It is very hard to be a 5 year old boy with two older sisters who always seem to run faster than you ever will.  It is also very hard to be a younger sister who can never seem to finally beat her super athletic big sister.  And it’s just too darn easy when you’re the oldest, fastest and biggest.

To keep it from getting too competitive or frustrating, they’re drawing numbers ahead of time to find out where they’re supposed to finish up.  Then they have to work as a team to come out in that order.  For instance, if Victoria draws silver, she has to work to come out second.  They have to make it look real, though, just like they’re throwing the games!   🙂

Victoria is a bit disgruntled about this, but I think once she sees it in action she might actually get into it.  In any case, it seemed like a cool experiment.

I’ve also printed out handouts and worksheets and writing prompts and so on.

We’ll have to make up an Olympic torch to light too, for the kids to carry to each other…

It should be a fun time!

Olympics Handouts

If you’re incorporating the Olympics into your studies, here are some nice handouts you might want to use.  The summaries are short enough for younger kids but give some good basic information about the Olympics, both past and present.  They also work in geography, math, etc. in various handouts and extension sheets.