Celebrating Olympics with Books and Games for Kids
If you are like us, the TV will be on non-stop for the Summer 2012 Olympics starting tomorrow. To make the Olympics fun for kids, why not conduct your own Olympic games for kids including the opening and closing ceremonies? Bonus points for covering the history of Olympics; with its roots in Ancient Greece, this also might spark an interest in Greek Mythology!
What are you doing to celebrate the Olympics?
I will be giving away Abbie Gets Fit, The Champion Rabbit and The Human Body as a three book package deal.
Briefest History of Olympics Ever
According to legend, the ancient Olympic Games were founded by Hercules, a son of Zeus and were held in 776 BCE. At this Olympic Games, Coroebus won the only event at the Olympics called the stade which was a running 210 yard race.
The Ancient Olympic Games were a series of competitions held between representatives of several city-states and kingdoms from Ancient Greece, which featured mainly athletic but also combat and chariot racing events.
The first significant attempt to emulate the ancient Olympic Games was the L’Olympiade de la République, a national Olympic festival held annually from 1796 to 1798 in Revolutionary France. In 1866, a national Olympic Games in Great Britain was organized at London’s Crystal Palace. from About.com and Wikipedia
Kids Games and Books Inspired by Olympics
Have your own opening ceremony. Get the kids busy making flags then parade around to display their creations. Play some good marching music.
Use paper and chop stick or craft sticks to make flags. The link to Flags From Around the World is from the C.I.A. and also has facts. Have each child pick a country and put 1 or 2 interesting facts on the back of the flag.
Running races or all sorts, including distance races, three legged races, egg and spoon races, sack races and relay races!
Use whatever you have on hand to create an obstacle course to hop, jump, crawl, climb and balance.
Use the Flags you made to mark the distance of each competitor. Give each kid 3 chances.
Use a jump rope to mark the line where to jump and use the flag to mark the landing spot along the side of the long jump course.
Bean Bag Shotput Throw
If you need to adjust for age and size, have different spots for each grouping to even it up. Alternately, declare winners in each size/age group.
Sprints and Distance Running
Mark out your course and use a stop watch. You can have kids take turns timing and marking down each time.
If you like you could get the kids to design their own medals; otherwise print out Olympic medals or buy toy medals to award.
Finally, track the Olympic athletes from your town or nearby city.
Great Books for Kids on Olympics and Fitness
The Champion Hare by Gwen Christie
Every few years a sports contest takes place, Where animals come to jump and to race. The fittest, the fastest and strongest compete, All hoping to prove they’re a champion athlete. When a young hare enters the contest he finds himself racing a cheetah and throwing shot put against a gorilla! He discovers that if you want to be a champion, nothing beats a bit of perseverance. Join our hopeful young hare as he runs, throws and jumps his way through this delightful rhyming story.
This rhyming picture book tells the tale of a hare who is told that he or she can’t compete in events that mimic the Olympics like sprints and long jump. He never wins an event, but there’s a surprise at the end. I usually don’t like books with a self-published feel. Either the font really bothers me or I hate the illustrations but this one is nicely done and perfect for the Olympics!
G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet by Brad Herzog
From the first games held in ancient Greece to the cultural extravaganzas of recent years, there have been some incredible and amazing events and milestones in the world of Olympic sports. Now G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet, writer Brad Herzog showcases those athlete and events that not only set sports records but also impacted history and world views.
Hour of the Olympics (Magic Tree House #16) by Mary Pope Osborne
No girls allowed at the Olympic Games!
That’s the rule when the Magic Tree House whisks Jack and Annie back to ancient Greece. But when Annie tells jack to go to the games without her, he knows she’s up to something. Will Annie find a way to see the games? Or will she get herself—and Jack—into Olympic-size trouble? Find out in Hour of the Olympics.
Abbie Gets Fit by Doug Werner, illustrated by Rafael D. Nazario
Abbie Gets Fit is the endearing and compelling true story of one nine-year-old girls daily journey to fitness with her father. Motivated by a failed fitness exam at her school, Abbie and her father set out on a 6 month quest to improve her fitness level and prepare for the next exam. With a rain or shine, sixty minute fitness walk as the foundation of their daily program, Abbie’s fitness transformation was remarkable, and the bond she and her father forged as a result has changed their relationship forever. This book is a must read for any parent or child looking for the inspiration to adopt a more active and fit lifestyle!
I don’t care for the layout of the book or the illustrations and the font choice makes me cringe, but I think the story merits closer attention in this day and age of rampant childhood obesity. Abbie is your typical 9-year-old kid, neither obese or unhappy, but had sedentary preferences. A fitness test at school motivates her to get in shape. This is her true story of getting fit. If there is a child you know who is struggling to get fit and wants to know that he or she is not alone, this is the perfect book.
The Human Body: Lift the Flap and Learn by Pascale Hédelin and Robert Barborini
The Human Body is an amazing, interactive book that uncovers the mysteries of anatomy and physiology to give young children a rich understanding of their own bodies. The dynamic pull-tabs and flaps complement the simple text and will keep kids engaged as they learn!
This is a fun interactive book for kids on their bodies. Getting fit also means knowing how to take care of their bodies to get strong and healthy!
Click on image to view at Amazon, or click here to purchase at Barnes and Noble.