In the late ’80s, it was me against the machine.
My parents had to peel me off my Nintendo Power Pad, especially when I was jumping hurdles in World Class Track Meet. I was barely 9, and for all I knew I was almost as good as those really fast runners I watched on TV. I was too young to really know who those athletes were, but there was a definite awareness of what I felt.
During the 1988 Seoul Olympics, our house was filled with constant excitement, anxiousness and American pride. Whether it was track, gymnastics or swimming, the chant was always the same: USA! USA! USA! There was no internet, no DVR, no way to tweet the stars. It was just us, the games and waiting to see what happened.
With the Summer Olympics going on all month, there’s plenty of time get the kids off the couch and into the games. Here are some easy DIY ideas, no training necessary.
Kids Opening Ceremony
Let the kids host their own kickoff. First, make torches by stuffing one end of a paper towel tube with orange, red and yellow tissue paper and fanning it out like a flame. Make your own medals by gluing five Froot Loops in the Olympic ring design on construction paper cut into a circle then adding ribbon. Don’t forget to wear your spirit. Take a cheap tank and get some fabric paint at the craft store. Paint the edge of a Play-Doh lid and use it as a stamp to make the rings. Repeat in the colors you want. Don’t forget to put a piece of poster board or card paper inside the shirt to keep the paint from seeping through to the other side.
Create an Olympic Zone
Talk to your kids about the games they love or want to try. Then find a way to modify them if you have to. Use fly swatters and balloons to play balloon tennis in the house. You can take the fun outside for a match of pool-noodle fencing on the grass. Make or buy cheap ribbon wands, pump up the music and hold a floor exercise competition.
With Rio de Janeiro as the host city, the bright ideas are endless. Make a colorful carnival mask from half a paper plate. After painting the plate, glue bright feathers and rhinestones on—make it funky. For a step up in the DIY department, Google flags around the world then recreate them using felt. Glue the flags on a strand of ribbon and you have not only a banner but also a learning tool.
Meet the Athletes
NBC hosts nbcolympics.com, an amazing interactive resource. Click on athletes to learn about who’s representing us including local stars like swimming sensation and Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky.
There are so many sports to celebrate. So what are you waiting for? This summer is the one to go for the gold.