On Your Mark, Get Set, Go Olympics!

Carol Shen

Guest blogger Carol Shen, is a stay at home mom of two, creator of the blog, Blueberry Mom and serves on the Board of Directors of The Reading Connection. She'll be sharing her kids' learning adventures on Start with a Book inspired topics like gardening, the night sky, If I were President, and other ideas she and her kids are excited to explore.


August 3, 2016

As a parent, I’m always looking for outdoor activities in the summer to do with the kids right at home, especially the “no fuss, no muss” types of activities. It turns out having your very own Olympics at home is easy to set up, and easy to execute. With the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics upon us, it was the perfect time to host our very own “Go Olympics!” event, and it also turned out to be a great activity to include our neighborhood friends in. The friendly competition gave the kids an opportunity to be active, practice good sportsmanship, and learn about inspiring athletes such as Wilma Rudolph.

What you’ll need:

  • Pencil and paper to track times/distances/scores (for the purposes of legibility I ended up typing mine)
  • Timer (your cell phone works great)
  • Measuring tape
  • Optional: Other sports equipment depending on the events you select (e.g., soccer ball, cones, jump rope, hula hoop, basketball, etc.)

Let’s get started:

The beauty of this activity, is that you can customize the events however you’d like. My kids, who are 6 and 4 years old, came up with the following events:

Track and field:

  • Long jump – longest distance jumped from the edge of our front porch
  • Cul-de-sac dash – fastest time around our cul-de-sac

Gymnastics: Best score out of 10 for a routine that consisted of a cartwheel, front roll and candlestick.

Jump rope: Most number of jumps in 30 seconds.

Soccer: Fastest time to dribble a soccer ball through a zig-zag path and into a goal.

After jotting down the events, and names of kids who were going to participate, it was On Your Mark, Get Set, Go Olympics!


  • Because there was a varied age range, it worked out best that each child had his or her own turn for each event. It gave the kids a chance to feel good about their accomplishments, but still left room for some competition.
  • It was so fun watching the kids cheer their friends on; this turned out to be a great way to foster positive sportsmanship.
  • Since we had picked out quite a few events, we didn’t get a chance to finish all of them. Our neighborhood “Go Olympics!” event will continue across the week.
  • After having our own “Go Olympics!” event, the kids wanted to learn more about the Olympics, so it was a great excuse to head over to our local library. We especially enjoyed Wilma Unlimited, the story of an African American female track athlete who overcame huge odds to become the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field.

Learn more:

  • I learned about Wilma Unlimited through Start with a Book's Sports and the Olympics; resource. Here you can find many more books and activities related to the Olympics.
  • The Olympics bring people together from all around the world. A fun way to spark your child’s curiosity about other countries and cultures is to check out Start with a Book's Geography, Travel and Cultures resource.
  • For many of us, athletes are our heroes. You can also learn about other inspiring athletes in Start with a Book's Heroes and Superheroes resource.

I look forward to being welcomed into the journeys of athletes all around the world this August. I hope you do too.

All the very best,
Blueberry Mom

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