The pageantry of the opening ceremonies has given way to 15 days of exciting athletic competition. Worldwide training and anticipation culminate in the celebration of skill and camaraderie of the summer Olympics. Families across the globe join in the festivities from their vantage point. Your family is no exception. No matter who we are, these athletes connect with us in their humanity, and we begin to feel as if we know them. Coming together to cheer on all the athletes and hear their stories builds quality time and unites your family team. Fort building lends a hand to the celebration as your Olympic headquarters.
Use a Fort Magic kit to build a fort in the family room, sunroom, deck or patio to create a few simple props for creative activities and more draw family members together for summer fun no matter the ages of your kids. And, time and expense are both minimal in this fun activity. Have your children brainstorm ideas as a team to increase the sense of unity. One centrally located fort within viewing distance of the TV screen gives kids a fun place to watch Olympic events. The shape and design of your fort are left to the imagination and individuality of your family. This 2016 Olympic headquarters also offers a place to keep track of stats and fun facts as the competition unveils. Let’s look at fun ways to celebrate the Olympics with your family fort.
Hula hoops covered in colorful streamers and tied together become a life-sized version of the Olympic rings. Mounted in the living room or hung on the outside of the fort, this symbol identifies your celebration. Smaller plastic hoops or embroidery hoops scale the image to fit the size of your space or creation. Posting a world map inside the fort allows kids to identify the location of competing countries. Use stickers to mark those competing. Or, when competitor countries are identified, run to find them on the map. Creating flags for the top countries and trying to learn each of the countries’ flags offers more learning fun. But, with over 200 countries joining the Olympic parade, you may need to limit the number of flags made or the flags you will study each day. Connecting learning with the thrill of the Olympics makes lessons in map skills, geography, social studies and more natural and effortless.
As the medals rack up, using a chart or whiteboard to tally medal counts engages kids with math. As a family, you can begin to make predictions on victories and medal winners. Looking up the stats on the Internet teaches kids computer skills, but also illustrates the breadth of expertise represented in the Olympics. An appreciation of the varied talent and hard work within the Olympic teams inspires. Also, learning about the cultures athletes grew up in gives kids a sense of a world larger than themselves. Talk with your children about how families look different in other countries, the travel required for training or how children often move away from their homes to pursue Olympic hopes.
A torch constructed of brightly colored tissue paper in a paper towel tube or paper cone allows the family to recreate the Olympic parade of athletes. Be sure to have an announcer share positive qualities of each family athlete as they enter the stadium (a.k.a. the living room or backyard). Designing a family flag together brings a personal touch to your activities. Perhaps, this event precedes friendly family competition.
Throughout the Olympic Games, watch for real-life examples of good sportsmanship. Athletes competing at this level often amaze with their respect for one another. Help your kids identify these examples and talk about how to instill them in their lives. As you watch the action from your Olympic fort headquarters, play games of Olympic trivia or host quiz shows on Brazilian facts. Make up name-that-country games for the flags or uniforms that accompany each athlete. Or, share imaginings of what being in the Olympics would mean.
Olympic fort headquarters become the base for more active, outdoor competitions as well. Gymnastic skills, running events, obstacle courses, and archery and sponge rifle competitions become fair game for young Olympians. And, be sure to include activities for mom and dad. The bonding of parents joining kids in an activity is irreplaceable. Have medals at the ready for winners. The Olympic rings gracing the side of your fort make a perfect podium backdrop. Grab photos and selfies to mimic the athlete’s posts. Proudly show off your medals in these photos to create memories that last a lifetime.
The television and the Internet abound with Olympic athletes’ stories. The struggles and trials these participants have overcome inspire us as adults and our children as well. Reading these stories together as a family brings context to events and often leads to more impassioned cheering.
The Olympics encourage our kids (and us) to get active. But, even more so, they show us human resiliency and what everyday people can accomplish with passion and hard work. They inspire our children to pursue their dreams. What’s the perfect end to all of the activity? Sharing ice cream torches on sugar cones as a family – inside your own Olympic headquarters!
What types of backyard Olympic activities would your family love to build? We’d love to hear your comments below! 🙂
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