Getting in the Olympic Spirit!

The official Olympic symbol at the top of Whistler.

Woo-hoo!  It’s that time that comes every four years…when the world turns its’ attention to all the other sports! Seriously, how cool is it that the Olympics are being held in Vancouver?  Back when they first got the bid, how many of us Seattle-folks thought we’d be going? Well, things (kids) happen and while some of our half-pipe dreams didn’t quite become a reality, there’s no reason we can’t still celebrate that Olympic spirit! Read on for a variety of ways to catch the Olympic wave.

Throw an Olympics Party

Whether you want to host an opening ceremonies-viewing party or you DVR’d your favorite event (say, the ice skating finals), have some friends over and get festive. Theme possibilities are endless. Ask guests to dress in Red, White & Blue (go team!) or as their favorite winter sport (ski goggles anyone?). Have an international potluck and assign each family to bring a food from a different country. Don’t forget to serve up some poutine, an ooey-gooey delicacy with a funny name, found in ski resorts all over Canada. (Go ahead and Google it—it’s basically French fries topped with cheese curds and beef gravy, and it’s oh-so-good!). Keep the kids busy by downloading some Olympics coloring pages such as the official mascots, favorite sports, or make a cool Olympic-rings flag with paint and a cardboard tube. Make cookies in the shape of a Maple Leaf (for Canada) or a US Flag and let the kids decorate them. Have a Wii? Stage your own version of the Olympics with some Wii Ski Jumping (even a preschooler can do it) complete with a medal ceremony.

Local Olympic Fun – lots of local kid-friendly spots are hosting Olympic-themed events:

Bella Bambini (children’s boutique)

Rosalynn Sumners, owner of Bella Bambini, displays her silver medal.

in Downtown Kirkland invites you to meet its’ owner, Rosalynn Sumners (Olympic Silver Medalist, World Champion, and 3-time US Champion in figure skating). Local gal Sumners (pictured at her store) will be at Bella Bambini to meet and greet with kiddos & their parents on Saturday, Feb 20th from Noon–6 p.m.. Kids will have fun meeting the Olympian while getting the chance to hold her silver medal! Bella Bambini, 1 Lake Street, Kirkland.

The Children’s Museum in Seattle will host Olympic activities on Feb 15-17 and Feb 22-24 including Sock Ice-Skating for all ages, an Obstacle Course Challenge, and “Design Your Own Olympic Medal” for 5-10 year olds to learn about embossing. See calendar for times and details.

KidsQuest Museum in Bellevue has an Olympic activity every day at 2:30 during the 2010 Olympic Games (Feb 12-28th) complete with an opening ceremony on the 12th and a closing ceremony on the 28th. Activities include an ice cube luge, marble bobsledding, building an Olympic Village with cardboard boxes (all day the 15th-19th) and two special story times with an Olympic Gold Medalist (local Anna Cummins, gold medalist in rowing) who will share her medal as well as fun fitness tips for kids. See calendar for times and details.

Whirlwinds Kids (drop-off childcare facility with two Seattle locations) plans to celebrate Seattle’s mid-winter break with a sporty Olympic week Feb 16-19 (ages 2.5 – 6 welcome). Activities will include special games such as obstacle courses, a bowling competition, scooter riding and special art projects incorporating medals and flags. Feel free to wear your Red, White, and Blue! Read more.

Dizzy’s Bus Stop in Bellevue is hosting the Dizzy Olympics/Mid-Winter Break Camp from Feb 15 through Feb 19. Kids 2-8 years old will have fun with wacky games like paper-plate ice skating, snowball races, and Olympic torch and medal crafts. Register early as space is limited! Read more.

The Nest Kids (drop-off play center) in Woodinville will center their themes for the week of February 12th-19th (mid-winter break for Northshore, ages 2-9 welcome) around the Olympics, complete with Opening and Closing ceremonies each day, bobsledding, figure skating and other fun games. Art projects during this week will incorporate the Olympic Torch, rings, medals and country flags. Drop in any day or everyday! Read more.

Great Play of Redmond Did you know that all of their birthday parties (no matter the time of year) end with a Gold Medal Ceremony complete with the national anthem, images of the US Flag waving on the back screens and kids sporting gold medals? The birthday kiddo gets to stand on the podium! Read More

Kid-Friendly Media Coverage Elementary-aged kids will have fun tracking the reports of local Kid Reporter Brennan LaBrie from Port Townsend, WA. He was chosen by TIME for Kids to report from the Olympics. Some of his pre-Olympics stories are already on You Tube (interviews with Olympic locals like Apolo Ohno and Bree Schaaf) and he’ll be posting more reports to You Tube, the Tacoma News Tribune, and on Twitter. Go Brennan!

-Angie J. Ballas