Olympic Games - 27th July - 12th August
Paralympic Games - 29th August - 9th September
The Games only come round once every 4 years…and we very rarely have such an amazing sporting event in England… it would be such a pity not to plan some exciting activities for the children to enjoy around the subject of the Games.
As well as teaching children about the Olympics and what the Games mean we will also be supporting their physical development and helping to protect their health. It is important, according to latest government advice, that children are encouraged to participate in 3 hours of active play a day - what better way to inspire them than to plan some Olympic Games for your provision!
Before starting to plan, you should keep the themes of the EYFS in mind…
Unique child - find out what the children already know about the Olympic Games and build on their current knowledge
Positive relationships - find out as much as you can about the Olympic Games including places to visit for more information (websites, books etc) so you can answer the children’s questions. If you do not know the answer, find out together!
Enabling environments - look at the resources you have available for the children to use and make sure they meet their changing needs. Do you need to buy anything new to follow their Olympic interests?
Learning and development opportunities -
I have used the revised EYFS areas of learning and development to plan - you will notice that communication, language and literacy is split into 2 sections and there are some new learning opportunities in mathematical development - time and money.
PSED - next time the children are gathered in a group, talk to them about winning and losing. Some children get very upset if they lose… how would they feel if they had been practicing for years and years to enter an Olympic event and then lost?
As you discuss winning and losing, support the children by discussing and introducing ideas for coping strategies, such as… everyone gets a medal for participating; model how to be pleased for the winner; share stories of winning and losing; focus on the importance of trying really hard.
Look at the Paralympic Games - older children might like to think about the people who take part in the Games - find out about the barriers to their participation (their disabilities, access to venues and training facilities etc) and how they overcome the difficulties.
Physical development - set up different Olympic Games in the garden for the children to try. They might enjoy throwing games or even football which is happening (in the north) at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester. Help the children to make up simple outside jumping, hopping and skipping games which they can play independently during free play.
Talk to older children about the effect exercise has on their bodies and discuss the different muscles that are used when playing a variety of sports. Always spend time with the children warming up before strenuous activities with some simple stretching exercises and cool down afterwards - this will help them to learn that their bodies must be respected.
Find out which sports are played during the Olympic Games from the Kids Activities site here
Communication and language - encourage all the children to contribute to planning ideas. Brain storm with them… put ‘Olympic Games’ in the centre of a big piece of paper and add the children’s ideas for activities. Discuss how you can all work together to make it happen.
Encourage children’s listening skills by watching some Olympic Games coverage on the television together (just snippets). Talk to them about what the commentators are saying as well as what is happening on the screen - how many of the children actually listen to what is going on?
Use your observations when you are next planning listening activities for them. A good listening game might be to make noises from various Olympic sports - the whoosh of the javelin, the bang of the starting gun etc and see if the children can recognise them.
Explain to the children what a ‘mascot’ is - and decide on your own Olympic Games mascot. Design your mascot together and share information about it with the children’s parents. If you circle it with hand prints every child can participate!
Literacy - read books about sporting events and / or heroes past and present. Encourage the children to choose a favourite sport and find out more about it online.
Include mark making during your activities - the children might enjoy writing numbers on Olympic medals, writing advertising posters, contributing to a group Olympic display, make invitations for parents to attend your Olympic activities etc.
Focus on the letter ‘O’ with activity ideas from here
Mathematics - there are lots of opportunities for the children to count and explore numbers. Think about how you can support other areas of their mathematical development - measuring time by using stop watches; setting up a booth to sell drinks to hot athletes and counting money; writing numbers on winner’s medals etc.
Focus on circles - the Olympic rings. Decorate circle biscuits (healthy eating of course) with different colours to represent the rings - or use different coloured playdough on a laminated mat which features the Olympic rings.
Understanding the world - share planning with the children’s parents, encouraging the children to talk to their parents about the activities they are helping to plan. Ask parents to contribute their memories of past Olympics.
Older children might like to find out about the history of the Olympics and look at the different countries - children who like flags will be in their element! Other children might like to focus on world languages, food, houses, dance, sports men and women etc.
Most of the Olympic Games are being held in London - find out more about our capital city with the children through books, the internet, postcards of famous buildings etc.
Help the children to find out more about the Paralympic games and disability
Explore the London 2012 website and find pictures of the Olympic rings.
Arts and design - there are lots of Olympic crafts the children might enjoy eg…
• Making flags to represent the different countries
• Making an Olympic torch - the flame represents peace, unity and friendship - discuss these concepts while making the torch flames together
• You will find lots of craft ideas and colouring pages on the IChild website here
• There are some nice downloads here -
• Colouring pages and bookmarks to make on the Activity Village website here
Encourage children to use their imaginations and create their own opening ceremony. Look at ceremonies from past years on You Tube for inspiration.
I hope these ideas provide you with some inspiration!