Are you ready for a pleasant wintertime diversion? Winter Olympic Games take place every four years. World-class athletes compete before millions of spectators – in the stands and on television. You can join in the fun and excitement with a few activities to celebrate the Olympic spirit. Let the games begin!
- Watch a documentary on the history of the Olympics. (Check the local library for a PBS video.) Ask: Do you enjoy the Olympic games? Have you ever attended an Olympic event? Which sports events do you like to watch?
- Learn about the host country. Ask if anyone has ever visited the city.
- Obtain a list of countries competing in the most recent Winter Olympics. Challenge your group to name countries for letters of the alphabet (e.g., the letter ‘F’ – France and Finland). Display small flags of some of the countries in the Parade of Nations. Learn to say “hello” and “welcome” in different languages.
- Display basic winter sports equipment – ice skates, sleds, skis, ski mask, hockey mask and stick, etc. Ask participants to name some winter sports events in the Olympics. Find out about an unusual sporting event such as curling or skeleton.
- Watch an old movie from the 1940s, starring figure skating champion Sonja Henie. (Suggestions: musical film Iceland or Sun Valley Serenade .)
- Hold your own version of an indoor Olympic ring toss. Pass out foil-wrapped chocolate “gold medals.”
- Read the Olympic Athlete’s Oath and explain the meaning of the “true spirit of sportsmanship.” Ask: Do you like to compete? Are you a good sport? Where did you learn good sportsmanship?
- Talk about a symbol of the Olympic games, the mascot, which was first used in the 1972 Munich games. Show a picture of the 2010 mascots – Sumi, Quatchi, and Miga. Find out the story behind the creatures.
- Give participants small flags to wave. Hang a Team USA (or Team Canada) banner. Sing your national anthem. Ask participants to describe their feelings when an athlete from their country wins a gold medal and their national anthem is played.
- Reminisce about Olympic athletes appearing on the Wheaties Cereal box and its “Breakfast of Champions” slogan. Ask participants to explain why it is an honor for your picture to appear on a cereal box. (Note: You might be able to find an old Wheaties box in an antique store, or a photo of one on the internet.)
- Examine the lyrics to the official “Olympic Anthem” (also called “Olympic Hymn”), originally a poem. Check out the local library for a CD of Olympic theme music, which includes this anthem.
- Display Olympic souvenirs and collectibles, like stamps, posters, tickets, or pins.
- Make a replica of the Olympic flag – white background with five interlocking rings. Use white fabric and paints.
- Decorate a room with Olympic symbols – replicas of Olympic torch, gold/silver/bronze medals, laurel wreath crown, international flags, photos of former Winter Olympians such as Dick Button, Peggy Fleming, Bonnie Blair, Dorothy Hamill, and Scott Hamilton.
WINTER OLYMPICS TRIVIA QUIZ
- How often do the Winter Olympic Games take place? Every four years
- Which winter Olympic sport uses this equipment: puck, stick, helmet, skates, mask? Ice Hockey
- What kind of medal is given for a third-place finish? Bronze
- Why were the Winter Olympic Games not held in 1940 and 1944? Because of World War II
- The 1960 Winter Olympic Games were held in the United States in Squaw Valley. In which state is Squaw Valley? California
- In which Olympic sport did Peggy Fleming win a gold medal in 1968? Figure skating
- Name some indoor winter Olympic sports. Figure skating, speed skating, curling, ice hockey
- What was placed on the head of the winner of an athletic competition in the ancient Greek Olympics? Olive leaf or laurel crown
- Which city in New York has been the site of the Winter Olympic Games two times – in 1932 and 1980? Lake Placid
- During the Opening Ceremony, which country ends the Parade of Nations? Host country
“WINTER OLYMPIC GAMES” written by Sue Hansen. © 2010 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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