If you are needing a fun programming idea, try implementing Winter Olympics into your program. I typically use this for a theme week during Track Out or Summer Day Camp. I have also used it for programming during After School when the actual Olympics were taking place, and spread it out over a whole month. There are many ways, so that’s why this is great and easy to use. When I was in middle school, we had a teacher that tracked the medals each day, and had them posted on her door. It was fun to see how countries that were in the lead drop or rise. It also made me feel special to be a helper in updating them for her. Many of the ideas I use on this website have been memories from my childhood. I have always wanted children to have the chance to have the same fun memory I had. When programming for your kids and staff, it’s a good starting point. In many cases, your staff and kids have never heard of what you are talking about, and you get to see that fun in their eyes. With this idea of Winter Olympics, you may be asking, how do you do this with children in this kind of setting? Here are some ideas that have been tweaked some for COVID-19 and keeping kids and staff safe while social distancing.
1.”Ice” Hockey Clinic – Due to COVID-19, instead of playing the game, switch to using a clinic. Give everyone a hockey stick. I love these from S&S Worldwide https://www.ssww.com/item/spectrum-hockey-sticks-36-W4821/. Have the kids play in their socks on the gym floor, cafeteria floor, or honestly any floor. This will give the kids the experience of being on “ice” and having it feel slippery. For the clinics, have them go around cones with the stick and plastic puck https://www.ssww.com/item/spectrum-lightweight-hollow-plastic-floor-hockey-pucks-W9649/. If you don’t have pucks, you can use tennis balls or any object you can find depending on your budget. Have them practice by shooting on a goal https://www.ssww.com/item/spectrum-pro-hockey-goal-56-w-x-46-h-W8159/. If you don’t have a goal, have them shoot in between two cones, and tell them it counts if it is below the knee height. Have them pass the puck to each other. Have them do a drill with a partner 6 feet apart and try to score on the goal together. See if they can work on bein accurate with their pass, and have a cone for them to hit. These are a few drills, also good to look up more by searching indoor floor hockey drills. Tons of things available.
2. Speed Skating/Figure Skating – Socks on the gym or cafeteria floor. Have them practice starting and stopping. Going around cones. Skating to music around the gym. Have them select their music and skate for 2 minutes to the song with their own routine just like in figure skating. Have judges, and make the child plan/be creative with costumes, etc..
3. Curling – Many ways to do this. I have done simple version of using brooms and a gator ball https://www.ssww.com/item/gator-skin-iceball-8-ball-W14328/ and had the kid roll the ball slowly and the kids use the brooms on the side to brush the “ice”. Ball that lands in the designated zone you create wins. You can have a spot that get 10 points, 5 points, and 1 point. There are also indoor curing games you can buy https://www.magiccabin.com/p/733183?aff=5123&gclid=CjwKCAiAlNf-BRB_EiwA2osbxbRZ0UHcQLTu5DbblrRgmUuCwZEkD0FlednDvCTybyqYdu2bHxkjixoCL8sQAvD_BwE and play too! Again, it all depends on your budget.
4. Luge – Grab your scooter, and get ready to scoot across the ‘”ice”. Use your scooter https://www.ssww.com/item/spectrum-all-surface-scooter-12-W12944/ and have the kids space apart. This works in parking lots as well. Have the kids race against each other, or have time trials depending on the number of kids and if you can’t keep an age group separated due to social distancing. Play fun upbeat music, I have a list of fun songs in the DJ Playlist section of my website.
5. Cross Country Ski – Set up a course outside. The kids must have two hockey sticks in their hands as the “ski poles”. They are not allowed to run, but can walk fast. If they run they must go back to starting line. The first person to cross the finish line wins. Have fun things for them to go around (Fake Tree or Real Tree) or cones for them to go around. The goal is to make it feel like they have went on a long journey.
6. Soccer Clinics on the Frozen Tundra – I always like to add in another game that may not be “Winter Olympics” to give some more variety but also get people outside if possible. You can choose any game and say “Frozen Tundra” haha.
These are my top 5-6 games for this event, there are many other things you can add by looking online. If you are a fan of the show “The Office”, try the game “Flankerton” where they have cartons of paper strapped to their feet! Most importantly, how do you want to recognize the kids that do win the medals. Like in the show “The Office” you can make medals, or you can buy them. It is important to recognize the winners, and to build that skill development into the program. You can also post the winners of your medals in your program area and newsletter. Put it on closed FB groups and use as a talking point when you engage with the parent during Rides Out (Pick-Up) time.
Remember with “Winter Olympics” you can create this experience many different ways! Be creative, decorate your program if you can, pretend they are hosted in a city or country. Teach the kids about the different countries through trivia or other fun ways. Kids need your fun and energy right now! Have fun, they are watching you!