Tips for talking about the Winter Olympics and five games to play with students, from guest blogger Marcus Johnson.

A version of the post can also be found on the City Year Boston blog.

Sports fans across the globe are gearing up for tomorrow’s opening ceremonies for the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. With students becoming excited about the opening ceremonies, this is our opportunity to teach them about the spirit of the Olympic Games, encourage student to get active and develop their positive sporting behavior.

Introducing something to a student that isn’t familiar to them is always difficult so keep it as simple as possible. The Olympic Games are the largest international sports competition, where athletes from many countries all over the world join each other to play sports. Both winter and summer Olympic Games are played every four years. The Winter Olympic sports are played on ice and snow, while the Summer Olympics sports are played in water and land.

Talking to students about the Olympic Games is a great opportunity to teach them about inclusion and respect. While people see the Olympics as one of the biggest stage to compete on, it represents a lot more. Olympic athletes are from all different backgrounds come together and connect through their commonalities. Despite often poor political relations between countries, Olympic athletes often have very positive friendships.

Even though the Winter Olympic Sports are played on snow and ice, there are some games that you can play without having to brave the cold elements! Here are some games for students to play:

  • If You Really Knew Me allow students to get to know each other just, like the Olympic athletes across the globe.

  • Indoor Shuffleboard is a fun game similar to curling and can help students to strengthen their computation skills.

  • Pony Express. Very similar to speed skating team pursuit, Pony Express is a game of working as a team to move faster around a track.

  • Bean Bag Toss. Create the Olympic Rings on the group with five hula hoops and take turns tossing bean bags into the hoops.

  • Shipwreck. In the Olympic spirit of inclusion, Shipwreck is a great cooperative game to play with a group.

What games will you play in honor of the Winter Olympic Games?

Guest blogger Marcus Johnson is the Program Associate at Playworks in Massachusetts. He enjoys spreading the power of play throughout the New England area with not only youth, but also with every adult he comes across.

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