Both summer and winter Olympics provide parents and teachers the opportunity to plan an activity-filled afternoon, complete with Olympic-sized games. Create an Olympic game-filled afternoon with everything from an opening ceremony to a medal ceremony. Incorporate some history into the party by including some activities in the style of the ancient Romans, the world's first Olympians.
Start "Olympic Day" with an opening ceremony, assigning kids to different countries. Begin with a craft project, allowing the kids to make their own flags for the ceremony, suggests Lisa Kothari, a professional children's party planner. Provide coloured craft paper and allow kids to cut out and decorate the country's flag. Then attach the flags to wooden dowels. Play the Olympic theme and guide all of the kids into the ceremony, waving their flags.
Twenty-Five Yard Dash
Begin the afternoon with a track and field competition. Mark out a 25-yard course and have the official Olympic timekeeper stand at the opposite end. Have kids run the dash, assigning medals to the top three contestants. To put a twist on the race, suggests the experts at Scholastic, and have the kids run the race backwards.
Gymnastics Skills Show
Lay mats on the floor and have the kids present their best gymnastics floor show. Allow them to pick music for the competition and encourage stunts such as somersaults, rolls and cartwheels. Assign other kids to be the judges for their country. Award medals to the kids with the highest-averaged scores from all of the judges.
Softball Shot Put
Mimic the traditional shot-put competition by having kids throw softballs down a course. Encourage the competitors to use the same form as shot-put Olympians. The three contestants whose balls go the farthest should be awarded medals in the evening's closing ceremony.
Cardboard Chariot Race
Take a step back in time with an old-fashioned, ancient Olympic event: the chariot race. In the weeks leading up to Olympic Day, have kids create chariots from large pieces of cardboard. Kids must compete in teams of two, with one being the puller and the other being the rider. The rider must hold up the cardboard chariot while the puller must stay attached to the chariot and the rider with skipping ropes. The first three teams to run through a 25-yard course win medals for their teams.
For the final event, have country contestants compete in a discus throw. Using the traditional discus "spin" position, have the kids throw or paper plates down the course. Award medals to the kids who throw the three discs the farthest.
Finish Olympic Day with an awards and closing ceremony. Award bronze, silver and gold medals to each of the winners for each event. Purchase faux medals from craft or party supply stores. Have all of the children wave their country's flags as they walk in a parade to close the event.