If you’re anything like me, you’re getting pretty excited for the opening ceremonies! Growing up, I made so many memories with my family. In the winter, figure skating was our favorite. I vividly remember sitting in the living room with my mom and sisters watching Tara Lipinski skate her little heart out for the gold in 1998! This year, I’m already getting my calendar marked for the events that I want to be sure to watch.
If you feel guilty spending hours sitting and mindlessly watching TV with your kids, do an activity that gets them thinking, learning, and building while you view the games. Here are three related STEM activities that are quick and easy to do in your own home!
Materials: Pipe cleaners or construction paper (blue, yellow, black, green, red), picture of the Rings, and a world map or globe.
Even your preschooler can do this one. Simply hand over some pipe cleaners and see if they can choose the right colors and interlock them in the same way as in the picture. If you don’t have pipe cleaners on hand, you can make the rings using paper chains. The rings represent the participating continents so you can extend this by showing a world map or globe and naming the continents (North and South America are put together). I borrowed my friend’s kids Dashiell and Avonlea for this one, and they are super excited to have a decoration to put up at home in time for the Opening Ceremonies!
Materials: flat pan, pipe cleaners (red and blue), tape, marble
Dashiell loved this one too! When the alpine skiing comes on, see if you can make your own course. Hand them the above materials and use the pipe cleaners to make the red and blue poles. We had really long pipe cleaners, so Dash figured out we needed them cut them in fourths to be shorter. Use a marble or small bead to practice “skiing” through the gates. Grab a timer and see how fast you can go through the course!
Winter Sports Models
Materials: toothpicks, marshmallows, tongue depressors, masking tape, paper clips, paper scraps, any other materials that the kids can find!
Look at this list of winter sports and see how many sport events your family can recreate! You can add on even more rules to make it more challenging depending on your child’s age or ability: Can you make your model be freestanding? How tall is it? Bonus points if your model can actually move!
I tried this out with some fourth grade students and they really enjoyed it. After completing one model, most of them were begging me to try another one so I considered it a success!
Next time you’re out, grab some materials and then see how creative your little engineers can get. Enjoy making your own memories with your family and join us in cheering for U.S. athletes!