Big-screen TV? Check.
Bedtimes pushed back? Yep.
Read on to find out how to wow the littlest athletes during the Olympics—from the Parade of Nations until the torch goes out.
What to Do
- Let your kids spruce up the house with event-themed decor. Show them how to create balloon bouquets, crepe-paper banners, and decorative garlands in traditional Olympic colors: red, yellow, green, blue, and black.
- Haul out Olympic-color paints and let the kids fancy up plain white paper plates. Cut out the centers and voilà—Olympic rings.
- Gather empty paper-towel tubes, brown paint, and yellow, orange, and red tissue paper. Have the kids make an Olympic torch.
- Honor Team USA by wearing red, white, and blue clothing—or let kids dress in the colors of their favorite team.
- Set aside outdoor space for Olympic-style events. Kids can run, skip, hop, jump, toss a ball, swim, or do anything else they want to do. Hand out homemade gold, silver, and bronze medals. (Kids can craft them, too!)
What to Serve
1. Limonada (Brazilian Lemonade)
- Simmer ½ cup sugar in 3 cups of water until fully dissolved. Allow this sweetened water to cool. Let the kids squeeze juice out of 3 or 4 limes. (Older kids can use a fine grater to grate some lime zest.)
- In a blender, whirl 1 cup of the sweetened water with 1 cup ice cubes, ½ cup fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon lime zest, and ½ cup sweetened condensed milk. Blend well. Pour into pitcher.
- Add remaining sweetened water. Stir well. Pour into glasses and serve. Garnish each glass with a lime wheel.
2. Barbacoa (Easy Barbecued Beef)
- Cut into thin (4” x 1”) strips 1½ pounds of well-trimmed flank steak. Place the strips in a bowl.
- Let your assistant make the marinade. He can whisk together ¼ cup olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the meat.
- Let steak marinate in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Thread the meat onto metal skewers. Preheat a large barbecue grill to medium-high. Grill skewers for 2 minutes on each side for medium or whatever way you like. Serve with your favorite barbecue sauce or ketchup, if desired.
3. Ham and Cheese Bites
- Unwrap an 8-ounce package of refrigerated crescent-roll dough and arrange it on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press the perforations in the dough to smooth them out.
- Let your child spread the dough with 2 tablespoons of ballpark (yellow) mustard.
- Have him arrange about 6 ounces of thin-sliced deli ham evenly on the top, and sprinkle with 1¼ cups of grated Cheddar cheese.
- Show him how to roll the dough jellyroll style (as tightly as possible). Transfer the roll to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into ½-inch slices. Place them back onto the baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown and the cheese is melted.
4. Easy Coconut Cookies
- Demonstrate how to crack 2 eggs and separate the whites from the yolks. (Reserve the yolks if you can use them in another dish.)
- Beat the whites with an electric beater until stiff, gradually adding 2/3 cup sugar. Beat in 2 tablespoons flour, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Let your child measure and stir in 1½ cups sweetened, shredded coconut. Invite her to drop the dough from a teaspoon onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 13 to 15 minutes, or until the macaroons set and turn golden. Serve for dessert.