Summer Holiday Activities for Kids: Olympics themed!
After a year that’s been hard on teachers, parents, and children’s physical and mental health, we are all looking forward to a good break before coming back with a bang in September. However, the six-week break of the summer holidays can mean children’s learning brains can sometimes become a little too relaxed. The following ideas in this blog may go some way to keeping children’s brains sharp over the long break with a fun Olympics theme.
The Olympic Games is always such a special time to inspire children to get into different sports and get active in their own lives. After being delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 will go ahead this year without spectators. The Games officially kick-off on the 23rd July 2021.
Learn about… time zones
With the Games being held in Japan, this means that there is an eight hour time difference between them and the UK. This is a great opportunity to teach your children about time differences between countries and why they exist. Challenge your children to work out what time they would need to turn on their TV if they wanted to watch an event live (hypothetically of course; some of the events may be broadcast in the early hours of the morning in the UK).
Learn about … measuring time
Many of the events in the Olympic Games are measured and scored against how long it takes to complete the event. Events under a minute such as the 100 m sprint, 200 m kayak, team sprints in cycling, etc. will provide suitable contexts for younger children to think about when measuring time. Older children may like to take on slightly longer events.
This PlanBee lesson may help teach your younger child about measuring time.
Challenge your child to see how many things they can do within the same time as it took an athlete to complete their event. For example, the Olympic record for running 100 m was 9.63 seconds set by Usain Bolt at the 2012 Olympics. How many blocks can your child stack in this time? How many ticks can they do on a sheet of paper? After showing children how to read the amount of time on your stopwatch, have children time each other and take it in turns to see who can beat the record in your own events!
If suitable, older children might like to compete in a similar event such as a 100 m sprint (bonus points if they measure out the distance!). Can they work out the difference between their time and the Olympic record?
Learn about… measuring distance
Other Olympic events such as long jump, javelin, shot put and discus are scored and measured using distance.
Using a metre ruler or measuring tape, challenge your children to take part in a long jump event. They can take a run-up, or go from a standing jump. Mark where the back of their foot landed and help your child measure how far they jumped!
Learn about… averages
Some events such as gymnastics are scored by a judges panel. Each judge gives the performance a score which is then averaged out to give a final score. Challenge your child to take individual judges scores and find the average score by adding them up and dividing the total by the number of individual scores.
Learn about… variables
“I wonder… do you run faster on grass or concrete?” Challenge your children to think about conducting simple investigations with “I wonder…?” questions like the one above. Younger children may need help with timing but they should be able to make verbal conclusions with you such as “I ran faster on the concrete”.
Older children (7+) should be encouraged to think scientifically. Is it fair if you wear sandals to run on the grass, but running shoes on the concrete? No, they should be the same. What about the distance you run?
Other things you could test:
- Do I run faster wearing trainers, or when I’m barefoot?
- Will I jump further with a run-up?
- Will I jump further with a long run-up or a short run-up?
- Does someone with longer legs jump further?
Learn about… pentathlons
What’s the difference between a triathlon, a pentathlon and a decathlon? The number of events! (BTW, this is also a perfect opportunity to look at the prefixes tri- pent- and dec- to mean three, five and ten e.g. tri-angle, tri-cycle, pent-agon, etc)
Challenge your children to come up with their own events for a family tri, pent or decathlon! They don’t have to be Olympic events in your decathlon, just a number of events that an athlete will be timed to complete. They don’t even have to be sport related: Who will be the fastest person to put on their socks? Who will be the overall winner?
Learn about... drawing figures
Got a budding artist in the ranks? Why not challenge them to draw their favourite athlete from the Olympics. Up the challenge by asking them to draw the figure in motion as they complete their event.
Learn about… architecture
Having held the Games before in 1964, Tokyo already had some venues to host different Olympic events. The newly built National Stadium was finished in November 2019. Challenge your child to investigate its design, including the different ways it has been designed to be eco-friendly.
Work together to create your own model of an Olympic stadium, making sure there’s enough room for a track and spectators.
Learn about… map skills
Some of the cycling events in the Olympic Games require a set route to be planned out over a certain area. Print out a map of your local area and identify where you are and any areas they are not allowed to go to. Together, plan out a cycling route for your own Olympic cycling event. You could repeat the route several times to try and beat your personal best!
NB: If you are riding on roads, make sure your child can ride confidently on them and is aware of safety rules.
Learn about… clothing design
Take a look at the designs for the athletes’ uniforms. How is the country represented in the design? What functionality does there need to be? This could link nicely with investigating the different countries' flags.
We hope this has given you some ideas for how you can reduce that ‘summer slide’ with your children. If you have any ideas of your own for how to have fun turning Olympic celebrations into learning experiences, we’d love to hear from you! Give us a shout on social media or share your children’s work with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!Want more in-depth learning about the Olympics? Check out our Olympics Topic with lessons in Art, History, Geography and more!