The Olympics are a celebration of friendship, unity, and peace. These 15 Olympic themed games, activities and crafts for kids will help you bring that spirit to your children’s program!
First, let’s explain:
What is the meaning of the Olympic rings?
The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions, used alone, in one or in five different colors, which are, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The Olympic symbol (the Olympic rings) expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.
What events are played at the summer Olympics?
Impress the kids with how much you know! (Crafts and Activities follow this list)
There are both individual and team events in which archers battle in a seeded knockout tournament, firing arrows at a target from 70 meters.
Aquatics consists of a range of sports including swimming, diving, synchronized swimming and water polo. Open water swimming is included for the first time this year. Take a look at our fun swimming pool games.
There are 47 different athletics events at the Olympics, 24 for men and 23 for women. There is no 50km road walk for women, who also compete in the heptathlon rather than the decathlon, but otherwise the men’s and women’s events mirror each other.
There are five Olympic tournaments in the world’s fastest racquet sport: men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles. All are straight elimination events.
Two teams take turns batting and fielding and the object is to score the most runs in nine innings. Baseball will disappear from the Olympics in 2012.
Each game consists of four periods of 10 minutes with five minutes overtime allowed if a match is tied. Olympic basketball gold medals have ended up in American hands more often than not.
There are 11 weight categories contested in Olympic boxing – from light-flyweight (under 48kg) to super heavyweight (over 91kg). Only amateur boxers between the ages of 17 and 34 are allowed to enter.
Men race in both canoes and kayaks, while women compete only in the kayaks.
Flatwater canoe and kayak racing was first seen at the Olympics with a demonstration competition in 1924, before it gained full medal status in 1936.
Men and women compete in all forms of cycling at the Olympics, although a handful of track events are only open to men. Road races take place in two forms – straight races and time trials.
The three equestrian disciplines – show jumping, dressage and three-day eventing, which have been part of the Olympic Games since 1912, are the only Games which allow men and women to compete on the same terms.
Fencing is split into three disciplines defined by the type of weapon used. Epee events use a heavier blade, foil events use a lighter blade in which only the torso is a target, while the sabre is a light blade used to cut and thrust.
The Olympic football competition is effectively an under-23 World Cup with 16 teams competing in the men’s tournament and 12 in the women’s. Professionals are allowed to participate, but in the men’s tournament each nation is restricted to only three players over 23 years of age.
Olympic gymnastics consists of three disciplines; artistic, rhythmic and trampoline. Both men and women compete in gymnastics, although each discipline differs greatly with individual and team medals also competed for.
Two teams of seven compete on indoor courts to score more goals than the other by throwing the ball into the opposing net. Halves last 30 minutes, with a 10-minute break in between.
Field hockey is a 70-minute game split into two 35-minute halves, while extra time and a penalty stroke competition may be played in the event of a tie. Both sides field 10 outfield players and a goalkeeper.
Judo is a traditional Japanese wrestling sport that dates back to the 1880’s and means “the gentle way”. Men and women compete in all seven weight classes, with men contesting bouts of five minutes and women four.
- MODERN PENTATHLON
Modern pentathlon contains five sports – shooting, fencing, swimming, equestrian and running – which competitors undertake in the course of a day. It is the only event which was created specifically for the modern Olympic Games.
There are 14 medal events in the Olympics with women competing in six of these.The competition is made up of heats with the winner progressing to a semi final or sometimes straight to a six-boat final.
All 11 classes are sailed in a fleet racing format, whereby contestants will race in a group around a course of buoys. Each boat earns a score equal to its finishing position, with the eventual winner having the lowest score.
The Olympics have 15 shooting events, six for women and nine for men. For the rifle and pistol categories competitors shoot at targets on the shooting range. The shotgun category sees competitors shoot at clay targets.
Softball is the sole women-only sport in the Olympics. The game is similar to baseball, with some key differences. Women’s fast-pitch, the variation used is played over seven innings rather than nine, with a larger ball and pitching is underarm.
- TABLE TENNIS
Table tennis lays claim to the title of the world’s largest participation sport – a fact attributed to its immense popularity in the Far East. There are four Olympic table tennis tournaments – singles and doubles for both men and women.
- TAE KWON DO
Tae kwon do is one of many Korean martial art forms dating back to the early 20th century. Men and women each compete in four different weight classes ranging From 80kg and above in men to below 49kg in women.
All Olympic tennis competitions are decided on a knockout basis. Each nation may enter a maximum of six singles players and four doubles teams, who are put in different sections of the draw. For the singles competition 16 players are seeded, while the doubles draw includes eight seeded teams. We have a list of 11 tennis games and drills.
The Olympic triathlon, a continuous distance race consisting of swimming, cycling and running, is contested by men and women in individual races. The event is made up of a 1.5km swim followed by a 40km cycle and ending in a 10km run.
Indoor volleyball is played by teams of six over a maximum of five sets, with the first four won by the team who reaches 25 and the fifth by the team who reaches 15, though they must have a two-point advantage. The beach variety takes place on a smaller court with teams of two players.
There are two techniques in Olympic weightlifting – the snatch and the clean and jerk – both performed by each athlete. There are eight weight categories in the men’s event, ranging from 56kg to over 105kg. In the women’s there are seven, starting at 48kg and going through to the over 75kg category.
Men’s wrestling is contested in seven weight categories from bantamweight to super heavyweight. All seven are contested in both Greco-Roman and freestyle. For the women there is no Greco-Roman .
Where did the Olympic flags come from?
The five colored rings on a white field form the Olympic Flag.
The flag was adopted in 1914, but the first Games at which it was flown were Antwerp, 1920. It is hoisted at each celebration of the Games.
Olympic ring themed games, crafts and activities for kids
1. Make an Olympic flag (or flags) to have at your events or decorate your room.
Explain to the children:
1. The five rings (circles) are interlocking on a white background.
The white background symbolizes peace.
The colors of red, blue, green, yellow, and black, were chosen because each nation has at least one of these colors in its national flag.
2. The 5 rings represent the five major land areas of the world (show this land areas on a map or globe). The five interlocking rings represent the continents of Africa, Australia, Europe, The Americas, and Asia.
The rings are interlocked to show friendship among the nations.
2. Make flags of the countries represented at the Olympics.
Decorate the room with the flags. You can also put up a world map with the continents of Africa, Australia, Europe, The Americas, and Asia
3. Make an Olympic rings craft.
Paper plates (five)
Steak knife (optional)
- Cut out the center of five paper plates.
It’s easier to use a knife or scissors to make a slit in the center of the plate, then use scissors to finish cutting out the inner circle.
- Use markers or paint to color each plate the color of the Olympic rings. (Color one plate blue, one black, one red, one yellow and one green.)
- Arrange the plates in the order the Olympic rings are in the Olympic symbol. The Olympic rings on the upper row are, from left to right, blue, black and red. The Olympic rings on the lower row are yellow and green.
- Staple the plates together to create an Olympic rings decoration.
- If you want to hang your Olympic rings as a decoration, use a hole punch to create two holes in the top and hang it with string.
4. Make an Olympic rings mural craft.
Cut five large ring shapes out of sturdy paper.
Have children work together to color or paint each ring one of these colors: red, green, black, yellow, and blue.
Arrange the rings on a plain white sheet of butcher paper and hang it up for closing ceremonies or a room decoration.
5. Make an Olympic torch craft.
An empty plastic small drink bottle
Cut the bottom from the drinks bottle and discard. You may need to smooth the edges for young children. Wrap the bottle in aluminum foil, tape down any loose edges. This is the torch.
To make the flame, cut flame shaped pieces from the paper and tape to the inside of the torch. Start with small pieces at the edge that get bigger as you work in.
The torch part can also be made from paper towel roll tubes and covered in tin-foil.
6. Olive Leaf Olympic Crown #1
You will need:
Green construction paper
Cut a strip of paper about 1 1/2 inches wide. Measure it around the child’s head and cut to size.
Cut out MANY leaf shapes and glue them along the length of the strip, leaving a couple of inches at either end. Tape the two ends of the band together.
The first Olympic games were held in 776 BC. The olive tree played a crucial role in this event. The Olympic winners were awarded with a crown woven from olive branches. The first was a burning olive branch.
7. Laurel Wreath Crown #2
Pipe cleaners, masking tape, crayons, markers or paint.
Make a leaf template; trace and cut out the needed number of leaves-
Use a string to measure your head.
1. Color the leaves on both sides green.
2. Tape a leaf to the end of the pipe cleaner and secure it with tape. Tape leaves half way down one pipe cleaner.
3. Take another pipe cleaner and place a leaf on its end. Then twist it together with the other pipe cleaner.
4. Add leaves half way down the pipe cleaner.
Use the string to measure the pipe cleaners. When the pipe cleaners length matches the string length add a leaf at the end. Twist the pipe cleaner to make a circle and secure with tape.
8. Make an Olympic game mascot.
Put out assorted art materials such as:
Styrofoam shapes, pipe cleaners, toilet paper tubes, tin foil, google eyes, paint, spangles, scraps of material, etc. Possibilities are endless) With the children make a list of the qualities a mascot should have.
- Have children design and make Olympic mascots for you school or program.
- Make your character so it has all of the qualities of an Olympic mascot.
- Use a variety of art materials to make the mascots unique.
- Give the mascot a name.
- Display the mascots in your room.
Olympic mascot history
Since the first mascot in Olympic history made its appearance at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, Olympic Mascots have become a main element of the Olympic image. As a unique and popular image full of vitality, a mascot is able to materialize the Olympic spirit, communicate the concepts of each Olympic Games, promote the history and culture of the host city and create a festive atmosphere for the Games. Mascots act as a significant vehicle for communicating the Olympic spirit to the general public, especially children and youth. Whatever shapes they have, they fundamentally share a creative rationale, that is, the mascots must be able to convey the theme of the Olympic Games, showcase the distinctive geographical features, history and culture unique to the host city.
9. Themed paper ponchos (Good for Pre-K to about grade 2)
- Take a large piece of butcher or roll paper.
Fold it in half, and cut out a neck hole along the fold to make a poncho!
- Next decorate the ponchos in interesting designs, or to go with a themed day/week or party!
- Example: Decorate your poncho with an American Flag or red, white and blue for a Patriotic or Olympic theme!
Before the Olympic Opening Ceremony…
10. Plan the Olympic Games for the children.
- Decide how many teams you will have.
- Divide the kids into the teams.
- Have each group decorate a banner with their team name and symbol.
- Meet with staff members regarding who is to do what.
11. Olympic Day Celebration
- Explain what games will be involved in the competitions, how competitors are expected to win and lose graciously, and point out how much fun the day will be.
- Organize the children to march around an area holding their banners. Play the Olympic theme or the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
- During play, Post the rules of the games and review the rules with the children and place signs where events are located.
- End with refreshments. Most of all, HAVE FUN!
- Hold a closing ceremony: everyone’s a winner! Call each child’s name, and pass out medals, certificates, and prizes
12. Kids’ Olympic Game ideas for Kids
1. Set up a colored ring toss
2. Have a Hula-Hoop content
3. a Hammer throw
Need: Small paper bag, newspaper, string
Stuff a small paper bag with newspaper. Tie it off with a 12″ long string. Hold the end of the string. Spin around 3 times. Let go. Watch how far the hammer travels. Record distances. The longest distance wins.
4. Javelin throw
Need: soda straws, waste paper basket, tape
Tape 4 straws together end to end. Mark a starting line behind which all players must stand. Place a wastepaper basket 5 feet from the starting line. Throw straws into the wastebasket. Give each player 5 turns. The winner is the child who gets the straws into the basket the most times.
5. Standing broad stretch
Mark a starting line with tape. Start with the toes behind the line. Take one giant step. Measure the step. The winner is the one who took the biggest step.
6. Shot put for distance
Make a ball out of aluminum foil. Hold the ball in the palm of one hand. Instruct children to place that hand next to their ear and then push the shot into the air extending their arms. They can not move their feet. Record distances; the longest distance wins.
7. Discus throw
Use a Frisbee to play discus, or tape two heavy foam plates together. Hold the “discus” like a flying disk. Throw away from the waist. Record distances. The longest distance wins
8. Play badminton
You can have competitions involving pairs and singles.
You will need a judge to determine if shots are in or out in the event there is a question.
Use the official badminton rules or make your own that are consistent for every team.
Set goals at least 15 feet apart. Goals can be as simple as a rope anchored in the ground.
Play the best two out of three games.
Keep scores for medals and prizes.
10. Other games
Can you play any of the games mentioned above such as:
softball, football, basketball, handball, hockey, tennis or volleyball? They’re all summer Olympic Games!
Make sure you stock up on supplies for your Olympic games:
- Stop watches
- Tape measures
- Whistles for the game officials
- Equipment that each game requires
13. Other Olympic game ideas
Another great idea could be to play an Olympic themed game of charades for kids. The kids could act out the different sports and the other kids would have to guess what sport it is.
Also look at ideas in the Outdoor water play Category. Towards the page bottom is a description of a water themed field day!
g off and after clean up–pass out the awards. See how many they can collect during camp, field day, or the school year.
Before games, have kids say the Olympic oath!
Every four years the world celebrates as the athletes take an oath.
In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.
Have your kids put up their right hand and say an oath/promise at the beginning of your games.
A simplified version for the kids to say before their events is.
“I promise follow the rules of the games.
To be fair.
To be a good sport, and honor my teams!
I’ll remember to play for fun!
Olympic Games Photo Ops
This is a good time to gather the children with their Olympic flags and medals and make a group picture or individual pictures before and at the closing ceremony after the games. Make sure someone has a camera and video camera during the events!
14. Olympic Rings Cookie Snack
Five Home-made or purchased “ring” cookies (round cookies with a hole in the center) per child.
“Writing frosting” in red, green, black, blue and yellow or add food coloring to white frosting.
Decorate each cookie with a different color frosting. Lay out the cookies on a plate in the pattern of the Olympic rings. Enjoy and Eat!
15. Friendship Snacks
#1. Have each child bring in a half cup of their favorite snack (You can offer parents suggestion at this point: cereal, raisins, crackers, etc) When you get all of the snacks, mix them all in a huge bowl and serve them for snack.
Talk about how different things go together to make something very good. This helps get the ideas of diversity, sharing, cooperation, and trying new things across.
#2. Do the same as above, however, use fruit instead of snack mixes.
1. Have each child bring in one can or piece of fresh fruit
2. talk about how different things go together,to make something very good. This helps get the ideas of diversity, sharing, cooperation, and trying new things across.
3. Donate any left-over cans to a shelter
Olympic Games Caution
Use caution when it’s hot outside, especially for active kids.
In high temperatures, kids don’t sweat as much as adults do, so it’s harder for them to cool off. This makes them more at risk for dehydration and heat exhaustion.
When it’s hot outside and kids are playing sports-or even just actively playing-head off problems by making sure they drink fluids before, during, and after activity. As a guideline, encourage at least 4 ounces of fluid every 15-20 minutes, or whenever there’s a break or time-out.
Tip: One ounce equals about one “gulp’–therefore 4 gulps are needed for every 15 to 20 minutes!