The last time the Winter Olympics rolled around, I was pregnant with my first. My husband and I spent the entire Olympics being obsessed, vegged out on the couch watching speed skating, Shaun White defying gravity, skiing events — and we even fell asleep to figure skating one late night. This time around, I’ve got two active kiddos, so I likely won’t get to catch every event I want to see, but I am curious to see if the sports catch my kids’ interest. I’ll likely lose them at curling, but how can a kid not be amazed at the aerials those skiiers do? And what little girl doesn’t think figure skating is the coolest thing in the world?
But beyond introducing my kids to the spectacle and awesomeness that is the Olympics, I love using the event as a jumping-off point in introducing them to other sports they’ve never seen, and I love the idea of using the Olympics as a way to have fun in your own living room. This list of “events” from Shana Schneider, fitness expert and founder of FITWEEK, a fitness company dedicated to helping women turn any week into a fitweek, shows you just how easy it is to turn your living room into a ski slope or a skating arena.
7 Olympic Events to Do With Your Kids — At Home!
1. Figure skating. Turn your living room into the rink. All you need is wax paper, rubber bands and carpet. Cover your shoes or slippers with the paper, secure it around your ankle with the rubber band, and you’re good to go.
2. Speed skating. Stand with your feet hip distance apart and arms to the right (one at shoulder height and the other across your body). Pick up your left foot so you’re standing on one leg. Hop to the other foot and swing your arms to the other side. Another option is to hinge at the waist so your chest is parallel to the floor with your hands behind your back and stand with your legs slightly wider than your shoulders. Shift your weight to one side and step to that side then the other. Remember to engage your abs for this to protect your back. (Sound familiar? This is an actual exercise you may have done in a fitness class!)
3. Mogul skiing. Sit with your back nice and straight. Bend your arms like you’re holding a pair of poles and squeeze your knees together, then lift your knees up and move your feet to the right and then the left. See if you can keep this up for the length of the race down the mountain.
4. Luge. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs straight out. Do a small stomach crunch and hold it. Squeeze everything together with your legs out and your chin pulled in. (If you’ve done Pilates, it’s like the very beginning of a roll-up.) See if you can hold that position for a full run of the course. For the skeleton races, do the same thing but on your stomach!
5. Bobsleigh. This one is fun for a group! Sit on the floor with one person in front of the other so that your arms hang over the person’s legs behind you. Then, when then buzzer goes off, lean side to side and follow the curves of the course on the screen. You can even have the person in front lead the group, then have everyone take a turn being the leader.
6. Cross-country skiing. This can be a great workout for your arms! Imitate their movement by swinging your arms front to back in opposite directions. Add some light hand weights to this for some extra oomph, but be sure to stay in control of the movement!
7. Snowboard. Strike a pose. You’ve seen them — one hand on the board, knees bent and one arm in the air. See if you can hold any of those poses with your two feet on the ground. Now just imagine doing that in the air!
I have a feeling my kids would looove the wax paper on the feet trick so they could slide everywhere! What Olympic event would you love to be able to try (if you knew you wouldn’t get hurt!)? —Erin