Everyone on our family skies and my youngest is finally old enough to start. Last year when he was two, we tried him on skis a few times, but his knees were not quite developed enough so “skiing” consisted of my husband or I hauling him up the bunny slope and catching him at the bottom. After a few days he didn’t want to ski anymore and I must admit I was a bit disappointed. Were we going to have a non-skier in the family? All he wanted to do was hang out at the bottom of the ski lift and watch the other skiers. Après-ski for the 2 year old set? Sigh.
After a few days of watching, he still wasn’t interested in skiing and we finally talked to him about it. It turned out that it wasn’t that he wasn’t interested in skiing, but that he had decided he was done with the bunny slope and wanted to go up with the big kids. We gently explained that he needed to learn how to stop before he could go on the ski lift….
To help get him excited and interested again this year, we have been reading lots of books on skiing and skiing adventures. One of our favorites is Ollie’s Ski Trip by Elsa Beskow. The book was originally written in 1907 and the illustrations reflect the story’s age, but the story itself is timeless and the old fashioned illustrations only add to the story’s charm. As the book starts off, Ollie has just received his first pair of skis for his sixth birthday. Of course that year winter was late and Ollie waited and waited for there to be enough snow for him to try out his new skis. Finally, just before Christmas there was enough snow for Ollie to go skiing and he couldn’t wait. His mother tried to slow him down, making him eat his breakfast and finish getting dressed before heading out (my kids have been known to run out into the snow in bare feet too).
Shortly after he heads out, Ollie runs into Jack Frost who invites him to visit King Winter’s palace. As they set off, they bump into Mrs. Thaw who starts melting the snow much to Ollie’s dismay. Jack Frost chases her off and tells Ollie that he should use his skis everyday just in case she comes back.
King Winter’s palace is guarded by two very friendly polar bears. Once inside, King Winter quizzes Ollie about all of the winter sports he plays. Ollie is very earnest in his declaration that he knows how to toboggan “Head first and feet first and sideways, too!” As he wanders through the palace he finds little people making ski boots, knitting thick socks, knitting ski-mitts and building skis, toboggans, sledges and skates just in time for Christmas. When a gong sounds, all of the children rush outside to play in the snow skiing, skating, sledding, snowball fights, etc. They manage to do everything before it is time for Ollie to head back with Jack Frost. Everyday for the rest of winter, Ollie and his brother go outside and tell Mrs. Thaw to keep away and they’re a little disappointed when spring finally arrives. Next winter!
Not only do we read books about locations we visit, but also activities we intend to perform while there. A lot of activities are self explanatory, but if you’re starting something new, a story can help your child understand what to expect as well as prime their imaginations for the next adventure you are taking together. Ollie’s Ski Trip will help your child prepare for their own adventures as you explore a snow covered landscape together.