Do-It-Yourself Program Ideas: Library Olympic Games

Do-It-Yourself Program IdeasLibrary Olympic Games

Read for the Win

Good for any library at any time of year, and it goes with the 2016 Summer Reading Theme “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!”or “Read for the Win!”

The Summer Olympics is scheduled for August, 2016 in Brazil, and makes a great theme for a hands-on game and craft program for kids ages 5-10. Here are some ideas you can adapt to your library, depending on the space you have. I would do many of these outside if you have an enclosed patio area.

Icebreaker activity:  Begin with an opening ceremony. Play music on a CD or MP3 player, and have children march in, each holding a small flag. Have everyone sit on the floor and help the audience identify each of the flags – what country does that flag represent? If you have a large crowd, you can divide them alphabetically by the name of the flag they are holding, and send them to various activities.

You can also begin by reading a book celebrating one of the Olympic sports. For example:

Brunoff, Phyllis Rose de. Babar’s Celesteville Games.

Fox, Mem. Koala Lou.

Jamieson, Victoria. Olympig!

Morales, Yuyi. Niño Wrestles the World.

Wheeler, Lisa. Dino-Swimming.


Olympic Torch: This torch uses a plastic water bottle for the base, with paper flames. But you could substitute the water bottle with a toilet roll tube covered in paper:

Olympic Rings: Make these simple Olympic Rings using paper plates:

Olympic Medals: Print these cool Olympic medals, , and glue to cardstock. Cut out the medals, punch a hole for the ribbon, and add gift wrap ribbon to hang the medal around your neck.

Paper plate Discus: Use sturdy paper plates for this craft, because we will also use this for our Discus throwing game (below). Kids just color the paper plate with markers – that’s it!

Olive Leaf Crown:  Make these easy olive leaf headbands out of construction paper:


Olympic Ring Beanbag Toss: Set five Hula-Hoops on the ground in the shape of the Olympic Rings. Player stands on a line 5 feet from the rings, and tries to toss one beanbag into each ring. The winner is able to get the five beanbags into five separate rings.

Olympic Ring Hoopla: Using the paper plate Olympic Rings you made earlier at the craft stations (see above), have player toss five rings at water bottles set up on the ground:

Discus Throw: Using the paper plate discus made at the craft area (see above), have children throw their discus as far as they can. Group children by ages so they compete with kids their own age.

Drinking Straw Javelin: Have kids grouped by ages line up. Each child throws a drinking straw as far as possible; see who can throw it the farthest. This is safe enough to play indoors.

Cotton Ball Shot Put: This is another simple indoor game. Show the kids how a shot put is thrown, and let them try using a cotton ball. See who can throw it the farthest.

Be sure to have water and some sliced fruit, such as watermelon slices or orange wedges, for refreshments during the event.

Penny Peck,  San Jose State University iSchool

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