With the Summer Olympics just days away, what could be a better time to engage your kids in fun activities to promote physical activity, social interaction, a healthy lifestyle, and improve their overall development? Many kids dream of becoming a gold-medalist in the Olympics and with these activities, you can make your child feel as if they are standing on top of that podium while assisting in their skill development without them even realizing it! There are endless opportunities to promote your child’s well-being. Be creative! Below are a list of easy-to-do Olympic related activities to get you started:
Focus on Fine, Visual, and Gross Motor Skills:
Table time activities
- Print off Summer Olympic word searches, mazes, and coloring pages.
- Create the Olympic rings (Cut strips of paper, form them in to circles, and connect them).
- Olympic torch craft (create an Olympic torch using a paper towel roll, covering it with tin foil, and cutting/taping flames to the roll using red, orange, and yellow tissue paper).
- Origami Olympic Rings (http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/origami-olympic-rings)
- Create gold, silver, and bronze medals using paper, clay, tin foil, or paper plates. Then connect them to a string or ribbon to wear during your Olympic games.
- Write about a favorite sport, Olympian, or your child’s Olympic dream.
Play Sports and Competitive Activities:
- Basketball, swimming, running, simple gymnastics tricks, volleyball, soccer, hockey, mini-golf, etc.
- Water balloon toss or ring toss
- Races (three legged races, sack races, spoon, or relay races)
- Obstacle course
- Throwing a ball through a hoop or at a target,
- Create a long/high jump
Focus on Social-emotional Skills:
- Model good sportsmanship- Play the Olympic games with family and friends. This gives you the opportunity to model good sportsmanship when losing, working as a team, and how to support/encourage others for your child.
- Promote social interaction with others, sharing, and taking turns – these are all important for building friendships and play skills.
- Use positive self-talk– “I can do it,” “I will try my best,” “The more I practice, the better I will get.” Promoting positive self-talk will help improve self-confidence, increase positive thoughts, and will help improve performance during tasks.
- Create rules for the games to teach direction following and playing fair with others.
- Celebrate differences– the Olympics are a time of celebration, unity, and peace. Take this time to teach your child about different cultures and countries from around the world and that we accept our differences and treat everyone equally.
- Promote friendly competition– While playing games, time your child and see how fast they can complete the game. Then see if your child can beat their score every trial. This will promote focus, improve overall attention, and assist in friendly competition with themselves or others.
- Identify feelings of others– Find pictures of athletes in the Olympics on the internet or in magazines which portray emotions on the athletes faces and ask your kids how they think the athletes are feeling.
Focus on Sensory Processing:
- Tactile input
- Create the Olympic rings with finger paint- have the child create a circle with their thumb and index finger and with a paint brush, paint their hand. Then print on to the paper and repeat with the next color (this is a great tactile play activity for the tactile defensive child)
- Bake cookies and decorate them to look like the Olympic rings, medals, basketballs, etc. Have your child mix the dough with their hands and decorate with frosting, sprinkles, or candies. This way your child is engaging with all different textures.
- Proprioceptive input with heavy work– Have races, whether it be while pushing a laundry basket, running around a track outside, or animal walk races (these are great activities to help regulate the sensory seeking child or increase arousal levels)
- Oral and tactile input-Engage with and try different foods from different countries and cultures from around the world- maybe your picky eater will try something you never though they would!
Focus on Speech and Language:
- Incorporate your child’s target sounds in the context of the Olympics. For example, if your child is working on his or her “L” sound, have them practice saying: Summer Olympics, medal, or basketball.
- Improve expressive language by describing/explaining as well as answering open ended questions, you can ask you child some of these questions:
- How hard do you think the athletes work to be able to compete in the Summer Olympics?
- How do you think the athletes feel on the day when they will be competing in the Olympics?
- What types of things would you do on that big day to prepare?
- How do you think an athlete would feel if they took last place in the Olympic Games?
- If you were going to compete in the Summer Olympics, which sport would you chose and why?
Make it even more fun by making a whole day out of it and creating your own Olympic Games! Create an athlete registration table, make teams, dress up, and don’t forget the award ceremonies. Enjoy and may the odds be ever in your favor!
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Milwaukee. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates!