By Reed Markham, former member of the Olympic News Service for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and Olympics Torchbearer

The cold chill that recently reached the warmest spots in the nation is a reminder that the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia is just around the corner. The Olympics are a great way to teaching your children about the world, a variety of winter sports and about the qualities of champion athletes. There are many ways that families can enjoy the Olympics Games together. According to Wayne Wilson, former director of the Amateur Athletic Foundation, ”The Olympic Games are watched by more children (80%) than any other type of sport television programming. Maria Mora, writer for She Knows Parenting concluded: “Chances are, your kids aren’t going to weep over medal ceremonies the way you do when you’re watching the Olympics. That doesn’t mean you can’t encourage your kids to find inspiration in the highs and lows of the Olympic games. Use the games as a teaching tool. At the same time, give your kids the freedom to draw natural conclusions and raise questions as you watch the Olympics together as a family.”

Watching and learning about the Winter Olympics can reinforce strong values in your children. Anita L. DeFrantz, former member of the International Olympic Committee said: “Sport is a high-profile institution in America. Literally millions of children follow sports and the athletes who play them. Sport has the potential to develop and reinforce the values of young people. It is inevitable that the way in which media present sports to the young audiences will play a role in shaping their attitudes. Children can learn positive lessons about fair play, respect for others, cooperation, sacrifice, discipline, violence, gender relations and race relations from sport.”

Families can get the most out of the upcoming Winter Olympics by:


Enjoying a visual preview of the upcoming Olympics Games

There are several interesting videos on YouTube that can orient and entertain your family in preparation for the upcoming games.

*This is an entertaining video introducing the Sochi Olympic mascots:

*This Sochi venue preview Video shows the compact location of each Olympic event:

*This is the Official Sochi Olympics Trailer:


*Here’s a video presenting NBC’s Sochi Olympics preview:


Next, read about the Winter Olympics with your children in

The first step your family can take is to learn more about the Winter Olympics though the Internet. Along with parents, they can find information about not only the Winter Olympics Games and the host city, Sochi but a history of athletics, and background information about new Olympic champions.

Timeforkids offers several interesting stories:

*Getting Ready for the Games- Russia prepares to host the world’s finest athletes for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games

*All About Russia- learn facts about the world’s largest country

*Sochi 2014 By The Numbers Get the facts on the 2014 Winter Games

*Winter Olympic Events- learn about some of the sports competing at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games

*Winter Paralympic Events – learn about the sports competing at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic

*Q&A: Olympian Julie Chu- meet the Olympic medalist heading to her fourth games with the American women’s ice hockey team

*Q&A: Snowboarder Jamie Anderson – meet an athlete hoping to compete in a new Olympic event, snowboard slopestyle


And don’t forget to prepare an Olympic Family Night activity.

Set aside an evening to enjoy some lively Olympic activities. The Activity Village website has developed a series of fun and enjoyable activities for your family.

Take a look at the following free activities offered on the Activity Village website:

*Learn to Draw Winter Olympics

Children can learn how to draw a collection of pictures for the Winter Olympics – all the main…

*Winter Olympics Coloring Pages

*Winter Olympics Fuse Bead Patterns

*Winter Olympics Handwriting Worksheets

*Winter Olympics Printables

*Winter Olympics Puzzles

*Winter Olympics Worksheets

Take advantage of an opportunity to relive the excitement of the Olympic Winter Games with your family.  Go USA!


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