This February the world will be watching the Winter Olympics and if your kids are excited about the games, now is the perfect time for them to learn about Sochi, the host city of this year’s events and more about the history of the games. A variety of interactive websites featuring kid-friendly experiences provide the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about the Winter Games and this year’s athletes competing for the gold.
History of the Olympic Winter Games
Take a trip back in time with CNN’s Sochi 2014: A Brief History of the Winter Olympics that features photos from past games in a delightful timeline format that’s easy to click through and perfect for elementary ages to read.
Learn About Sochi
Where exactly is Sochi and what’s the geography like that makes it well suited for the Winter Olympics? USSA Foundation offers a kid-friendly overview of the geography, climate, and population to provide a better understanding of the snow covered land we’ll see on television come February. If you’re interested in information about each of the Olympic venues, USSA provides statistics about capacity, location, and interesting trivia through their Venues page.
Follow the Journey of the Olympic Torch
Image courtesy of http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en
Virtually Test Your Winter Olympics Athleticism
Practice your bobsledding, slalom, curling, snowboarding, and ice hockey skills on National Geographic Kids’ GeoGames 2: Winter Sports. For a look at what it’s like to ski the downhill course in Sochi, NBC’s Olympic coverage features this video shot from a skier’s point of view.
Get To Know the Athletes
Behind every athlete competing in the Winter Olympics is a story. Get to know the athletes competing in the games from around the world while learning lessons of perseverance and dedication on NBC’s highly interactive site that features all of Team USA. Sort by featured, most popular, or just click around to learn more about those you’re watching on television. Each athlete’s drop down includes a brief bio and listing of their next event. Click to find their profile and more Olympic news about them.
Visit the Home of the Olympic Mascots
This year there are five mascots who symbolize the Winter Games- Polar Bear, Leopard, Hare, Snowflake, and Ray of Light. Learn more about each by visiting their interactive Mascots’ Home.
Get a Closer Look at the Medals
Learn about the design of the medals, see the gold, silver, and bronze up close, while learning facts about the 2014 Olympic Medals through the About Medals page. Keep track of each country’s total medals by visiting the Medal Count page or if you’re wondering who won how many medals in past Winter Games, the Historical Medals section of the site can help thanks to the helpful drop down menus that allow you to sort by Winter Game venue and sport.
Behind the Scenes: Athletes on Instagram
One of my favorite ways to get a behind the scenes look at what the athletes are experiencing in Sochi is to follow them on Instagram. With 230 Team USA Olympians, there are no shortage of hometown heroes to follow but I selected 13 of the most active Instagrammers to feature in Team USA Olympic Athletes Instagram Their Way to Gold in Sochi on Babble.
Apps to Keep Up with Olympic Action on the Go
Know what to watch and when, keep track of Team USA’s medals, and provide some virtual Winter Games fun for your kids while on the go with my list of 2014 Winter Olympic iPhone Apps on Babble. If you’re an Android user, Michele McGraw has compiled a list of 10 Free Olympic Android Apps to Keep Up with Sochi 2014 on Scraps of My Geek Life.