Fun Games to Teach Kids about the Summer Olympics
Two weeks of pure excitement, adrenaline, heartbreak, and triumph. Who wouldn't be interested?
The Summer Olympics are coming to London July 27 to August 12. Haven't secured your $2000 (per person) flight to London for you and the kids yet? Have no fear, they can still catch the Olympic spirit. Here are a number of ways to make the Games fun and educational no matter where you live.
NEED A HAND? Find a summer sitter.
Opening Ceremonies. Get the neighborhood gang of friends together and have each kid or group of 2 or 3 pick a country to represent. If possible, suggest they come with clothes or dress-up attire that represents the country in style and/or color. Make an Olympic Torch and take turns passing it to each "country." When they have the torch, it's their turn to enter into the middle of the "arena" and present a silly dance, song, skit, fun facts, or anything about their country. Get creative!
Make country flags. Get out your usual craft supplies - scissors, colored construction paper, markers, and anything else you want to use - and the kids can make their own flags! For which countries to choose, start with the countries that performed well at the last Olympics: USA, China, Russia, Great Britain, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Extra credit: Locate the countries on a map!
Have a relay race. Set up a course where each kid runs a lap around the yard and then passes off the "baton" (aka a paper towel roll) to the next runner. Plot "obstacles" along the run - such as sprinting through a blow-up kiddie pool filled with water, throw a ball into a bucket ten feet away (or into real basketball hoop) and run through a sprinkler.
Throw the discus. Dating back to the very first Olympic Games in Athens, the discus throw involves tossing a heavy disc for distance. Here's a backyard-friendly version: see who can throw a Frisbee the farthest, or to make it a little tougher, pick out a target and see who can toss it the closest!
Make your own medals. Cut out circles of cardboard and get that construction paper out again. Glue a circle of paper on each "medal" of cardboard; use yellow or orange for Gold, white or gray for Silver, and tan or brown for Bronze. Poke a hole through them, put them on a loop of string, and wear them like champions!
Test your London knowledge. Great for the older kids: Come up with some basic trivia questions about the 2012 host city.
- What is the UK flag called? The Union Jack.
- What is the biggest sport in London? Football - (it's not called soccer!)
- Who is the President of England? Trick question. They don't have a president, but they have a Queen!
Bake some Olympic treats. What better way to end an afternoon of games or crafts than with some Olympic sweets? Cookies or cupcakes can easily be frosted as flags or decorated as the Olympic rings.
Here are a few more "Olympic" game and contest ideas:
- Play ping-pong
- Perform Gymnastics routines. Think: dance routine with some tumbles and cartwheels mixed in!
- Set up an "arena" in the playroom for knee-hockey
- Hula hoop! NOT an Olympic sport. But who knows, maybe by the 2024 Olympics?
- Go for a bike ride through the neighborhood or on off-road trails
- Play badminton. It's in the Olympics!
- Who can jump rope for the longest time?
- Play tennis
- Go kayaking