Yup the mystical, magical Winter Olympics are just around the corner, commencing with the opening ceremony on 9th February. In the UK, the build-up to the 23rd Olympic Winter Games hasn’t commanded as much attention as its summer counterpart, which is probably to be expected given that as a country our climate doesn’t lend itself particularly well to many of the sports involved!
However, the Winter Games is equally, if not more adrenalin-filled, fast-paced, captivating and awe-inspiring as a sporting event, and there has been a lot of media focus this Olympiad about how we need to be encouraging younger generations into these sports and take inspiration from the remarkable athletes already paving the way. It’s been noted that there is a lot of untapped talent and opportunity for us here as a Nation!
So here are some ideas for how to get involved in the Olympic Winter Games as a family and bring more Winter fun to the UK!
Family days out…
- Visit The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead – a huge indoor real snow slope where you can ski, snowboard or ride the ‘Ringo Slide’. You can have lessons as a family, just the kids, or book them in for a Ski Holiday Camp during the school holidays.
- If you happen to be up in Manchester, head to the Chill Factore and get a Snow Park pass, which gives you access to a range of snow activities, including donuts, a luge slip’n’slide, sledging and a snow luge. There’s also the Mini Moose Land which is specifically designed for kids under the aged of 4.
- Back in London, head to Lee Valley and go ice skating at their international-sized rink. With skate aids for children under 5 (specific sessions only) and ice skating courses, there’s nothing stopping you becoming a family of Torvil & Dean’s!
- Or check out Queens: Skate, Dine, Bowl in Queensway where – as the name suggests – you can ice skate, dine and bowl.
- Fancy a go at curling? Head to the Social Fun & Games Club in Stratford on a Saturday afternoon between 12 and 5pm (when children are permitted) for a spin at their rooftop curling club. Tickets start at £10pp. They’ve also got street food and plenty of games to such as Giant Jenga to keep the kids entertained!
Cosy up on the sofa with a winter sporting classic (we didn’t realise there were this many either!)…
- Eddie the Eagle (PG) – A heart-warming and hilarious film based on the true story of Britain’s underdog ski-jumper.
- Cool Runnings (PG) – The ultimate winter Olympic classic about Jamaica’s bobsleigh team.
- Ice Princess (G) – A Disney film about an American figure skater.
- Go Figure (G) – A Disney Channel movie from 2005 about a figure skater who turns her hand to ice hockey.
- The Mighty Ducks (PG) – From 1992, a classic American ice hockey story about a young lawyer who becomes a coach for a kids hockey team as part of his community service for wreckless driving.
- Snow Dogs (PG) – Not quite a Winter Olympic sport but it features a whole pack of huskies. so who can complain!
- Balto (G) – Again, not quite an Olympic sport but a delightful animation where Balto (voiced by Kevin Bacon) the half-wolf dog risks his life to save the lives of a remote community in Alaska. Inspired by a true story and again, who doesn’t love dogs?!
Host your own Olympic Winter Games at home…
- Make your own slalom course: using straws, playdough/blu-tac (or similar), pom poms and paper, you can create your own table slalom and race each other through each obstacle to claim victory. Take inspiration from this Pinterest clip here.
- Got a shiny floor or tablecloth? Create your own curling rink! Stick coloured dots onto 2p coins or on bottle tops and design your own target and you’re one skid away from your own kitchen curling tournament. For more inspiration, try this.
- Unfortunately, the UK doesn’t have a full bobsleigh track but never fear, if you’ve got any leftover wrapping paper, take the tube out of the middle, chop this in half lengthways and you’ve suddenly got 2 of your own luges to race toy cars (and the like) down. More info here.
- You could go one step further and create your own bobsleigh fancy dress costumes like this!
- Ice hockey sounds too dangerous? Try Balloon Hockey instead. Obviously you still need to be careful when there are hockey sticks involved but balloon hockey is a great alternative where space or weather lacks.
- Turn multi-coloured pipe cleaners into the Olympic rings and play ring toss with them.
Because no Games would be complete without themed food…
- Make cookies and poke a hole in the top to thread ribbon through. Then cover them in edible glitter or coloured icing and bingo – you’ve got yourself gold, silver and bronze medals! (Handy for if you want to orchestrate a medal ceremony for above activities.)
- Alternatively, attach some ribbon to good old chocolate coins and everyone’s a winner.
- Make a cake and use smarties or coloured M&M’s to create an Olympic-ring themed design.
- Decorate pizzas to look like the Olympic rings using perhaps red cabbage or blue cheese for the blue ring, olives for the black ring, salami or tomatoes for the red ring, pineapple or pepper for the yellow ring and avocado or green pepper for the green ring.
- Fill ice cream cones with popcorn to look like the Olympic torch!