4 Olympic-themed activities for kids to try

July 22, 2021 10:50 AM

Get ready to cheer for red, white and blue with these child-friendly games and crafts.

athlete boy in white shirt and red shorts on red track goggles medal
Getty Images

The summer Olympics are here and what better way to build excitement in kids than with Olympic-themed arts and crafts, fitness and food? Whether your child is an aspiring gymnast or a simple admirer of the world’s finest athletes, they’ll be sure to leap into this Olympic fun.

diy olympic torch firey paper end with aluminum handle

1. DIY Olympic torch craft

Try this fun do-it-yourself craft with your kids before the opening ceremonies so you can play along when the torch is brought into the stadium! You can also learn more about the history of the Olympic torch and see torches from past Olympics.

What you’ll need:

  • Paper towel roll

  • Glue or gluestick

  • Aluminum foil

  • Stapler

  • Tissue paper (red, yellow and orange)

What to do:

  1. Flatten one end of the paper towel roll and staple it together at the end.

  2. Glue aluminum foil around the outside of the paper towel roll.

  3. Tuck any remaining foil into the opening at the top of the paper towel roll.

  4. Lay out one sheet of tissue paper, then layer additional colors on top of that sheet, angling the sheets in different directions.

  5. Pinch the pile of tissue paper sheets in the center and twist the center together.

  6. Place the tissue paper “flames” into the hole in the center of the paper towel roll.

Now you’re ready to carry the torch!

This Olympic torch craft idea was inspired by Icanteachmychild.com

athelete girl with yellow background with Olympic medal and holding sign above head

2. Olympic-themed fitness games for kids

You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to have world-class fun in your own backyard.

Just like in the real Olympics, it’s all about sportsmanship and doing your best. It doesn’t have to be about who wins; it’s about having fun and being active.

There’s no shortage of options. Pick some events you like and recreate them at home. Here, a few ideas:

  • Javelin throw - Giving a child a spear to throw across the backyard or at the park isn’t a great idea, but substitute it for a pool noodle for the javelin and you’re ready to fly. It won’t go as far, but it’s fun trying (and safer.)

  • Shot put - A real shot put weighs 16 pounds for men and eight pounds for women, but you can recreate the shot put with a much lighter weighted object. A softball works well. Just be sure to “put” the shot, not throw it. 

  • Races - Challenge each other to races of various lengths or race against the clock to see if each child can improve his/her time. Do simple sprints, assemble teams and do relay races (use an empty paper towel roll for your baton), place objects on the ground (like pool noodles) and pretend they’re hurdles, and give a longer distance run (maybe around the house or block) a try. The options are endless.

  • Rhythmic Gymnastics - Rhythmic gymnasts compete in a variety of events using balls, hoops and ribbons. Create your own routines using a playground ball, hula hoop or long ribbons. Have fun creating individual and team routines to music.

  • Water sports - Depending on the skill level, have swimming races of varying lengths and strokes. You can even just race while jogging in the water across the pool (it’s harder than it looks!). Have some fun and create your own synchronized swimming routine. It’s fun to try and copy some of the amazing moves those athletes do.

  • Team sports - Set up a net in your yard and play badminton or volleyball. Have your own round robin tournament with friends and family. You can do the same thing with a game of basketball, kickball or soccer. Kids can also get creative and make up their own team games! Just remember to keep the focus on fun and sportsmanship. Also, keep the activities age appropriate.

Just like the real Olympians, you’ll want to stay hydrated and nourished during the games. Be sure to drink plenty of water (especially outside on hot days) and eat healthy meals. Use this as an opportunity to talk to your children about how food fuels your body and the better fuel you use (healthy food), the better your body will perform.

The Olympics are a great inspiration to have fun and be active as a family. They may even spark interest in a new sport!

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olympic rings pretzel on table with red checkered napkin on left

3. Olympic ring pretzel recipe

Homemade pretzels in the shape of Olympic rings are a great hands-on sensory activity for kids, and they just happen to also be a delicious treat!

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ teaspoons yeast

  • 1 ½ cups warm water

  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar

  • 4 cups flour (try whole wheat or oat flour!)

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • Sprinkles (optional, could include sesame seeds or cinnamon)

  • Food coloring (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

  3. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir until mixed.

  4. Add salt, stir.

  5. Add flour, one cup at a time. Mix until dough is thick. A wooden spoon works well with this dough. After 3 cups have been added, shift to adding remaining flower ¼ cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. Once dough is no longer sticky, you’ve added enough flour! Stir until you can poke the dough with your finger and see it bounce back. Now you’re done stirring and ready to knead.

  6. Knead the dough on a floured surface for a few minutes. 

  7. Separate the dough into balls, each about 1/3 cup.

  8. Roll the dough into ropes.

  9. Shape the dough into interconnected rings.

  10. Whisk the egg in a shallow dish. 

  11.  Brush each set of pretzel rings with the egg wash.

  12.  Sprinkle toppings on, if desired.

  13.  Place rings on baking sheet.

  14.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, then broil for a minute or two – just long enough to brown the tops.

For a fun twist, before rolling your dough into ropes, divide the dough into five sections and use food coloring to color the dough into the five colors in the Olympic rings.

3 olympic medals ribbons gold silver

4. An Olympic medal worksheet

The Olympics are a great opportunity to teach your child about other countries, traditions and sports. You can talk about fitness, hard work, practice, sportsmanship and teamwork. 

The fun doesn’t stop there, though – you can also use our Olympic medal tracker to trigger your child’s interest in math and numbers! Start by downloading our free printable medal tracker.

Choose five (or more!) countries participating in the Olympics and write the names of those countries in the first column. You could also print miniature versions of those countries’ flags and tape them in the blank spaces.

Use this as an opportunity to talk about the countries. Find them on a map. Talk about what language they speak there – maybe even learn a few words in that country’s language. Over the course of the Olympic weeks, you can make snacks or a meal inspired by one of the countries on your list.

As the competitions take place and medals are awarded, mark down when one of the countries on your list wins a medal. You can check in online each day to update your medal tracker and see which country on your worksheet won the most medals.

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