In my endless pursuit of finding fun in these wind-whipped frigid temps, I know as well as you that, no matter what any Pennsylvania rodent’s declaration, winter’s usually a longer stretch here in the true Northeast than most U.S. regions.

Fortunately, this particular season’s peppered by something that comes once every quartet of years.

It’s a magical time with much pomp, circumstance, unity among nations and a big ol’ torch.

It’s a time to set aside the ugliness that belies our quarreling nations and dominates headlines, and rather shine a glorious spotlight on the highest skilled athletes of our world, many of whom overcame unimaginable odds.

It’s national pride, baby, rippling all throughout the world.

I need to totally disclose that I regrettably haven’t been able to catch much Olympic Games coverage, despite totally loving these events.

All I can do is hear its pounding anthem each morning broadcast to a highlight reel during early morning news, the anthem that’s become the accompaniment to my husband and I whooshing past each other in the kitchen, with not ski poles but oatmeal bowls in hand for our seated tots.

If there ever were a platform for sleep-deprived parents fighting the clock to get kids dressed, fed, teeth brushed each morning, my husband would surely be a Gold medal winner.

But alas, no Olympic rings for us. Just dark circles a’plenty beneath our eyes.

No, I haven’t had a moment to watch; I’m too focused on keeping my wild rumpus of three little boys on schedule.

But I’m inspired by the events, nonetheless.

And I’m willing to bet you are inspired too, whether or not you’ve gleaned any glorious games.

So here’s a thought. 

Bring the games home. Use the Olympics as a teaching tool to foster your kiddos’ sportsmanship, outdoor play, and a grand ol’ time.

Corral the neighborhood kids together and craft your own tournaments. 

Watch as backyard sledding becomes a bobsled extravaganza.

Your local skating rink can become and instant figure skating or curling competition.

Take this opportunity to hone in on what your children love to do, what sport they’re drawn to.

Perhaps it’s a good opportunity to take to skiing or snowboarding.

If you really want to take a whack at your creative knack, craft your own medals and have a ceremony for the winning team.

Old pallets make for fabulous platforms.

No matter what, be sure to have plenty of hot chocolate and snacks available after the games.

I’m pretty sure that’s what ski champ Lindsey Vonn noted as her incentive to keep up with lessons as a child — the hot chocolate promised at the end.

Playing Olympiad with your tots is also a fantastic way to showcase your patriotic side and love of country.

Because in the real Games, our world comes together in spite of so many odds.

So have fun and be a good sport — take this Olympic opportunity to have your own legendary competition and intro to new athletic fields with your children and their friends.

Don’t miss out on the Olympics because you don’t have time to watch the broadcast version.

Pass the torch to your tots instead.

And let the games begin.

— Michelle Cote is creative director of the Journal Tribune and a nationally-syndicated columnist. Rocking out to classics in her minivan with husband and three sons is totally her jam. Contact her at [email protected]

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