Monday, February 3, 2014

Storytime: O is for Olympics

Age: 18-36 months (coloring page instead of craft), 3-5 years (with craft)
Time: 30 minutes + craft

This school year in storytime I decided to use the alphabet to give me inspiration for themes. Since the Winter Olympics are starting very soon, I thought it would be a great chance to use something different for the letter O!

1) Mystery Box
This week I skipped my opening "These Are My Glasses" song and jumped right into our topic. I had printed a picture of the Olympic rings that I put in the box. A couple kids did call them "rings". I pointed out how they were shaped like letter O's.

2) Explaining the Olympics
I tried to keep things really simple about what the Olympics are, since the majority of them had no clue what we were talking about. Come to think of it, the kids in my younger class would have barely been born when the last Olympics were (Summer 2012 - I remember watching the Olympics in the hospital when I was in labor! :) and of course the last Winter Olympics were four years ago...

So here is how I described the Olympics:

  • Lots of people from all around the world get together in one place and play a bunch of different games and sports. What do you like to do in the snow? Some of the Winter Olympic games are skating, skiing, and "sledding". 
  • There are also Summer Games at a different time of the year (lots of the kids told me sports they like to play that aren't winter ones)
  • This symbol (the rings) is on flags and posters and all over when it's time for the Olympics! It represents the different people and different countries and different colors of flags of the people who compete in the games.
  • At the beginning of every Olympics, all the people who will be playing the games get to march around, waving flags. One person also marches in with a torch.

3) Marching
I had bandannas in the five Olympics colors that I handed out to the kids. Then I played The Olympic Anthem "Bugler's Dream" from YouTube on my iPad, and we marched around the room while I carried the torch (that I had personally gotten for another event I was involved in about three years ago, from ebay!).

4) Tacky and the Winter Games - Helen Lester
I figured I would only have time for one full book, and while I had a few other options (see below), this one was completely about winter sports. I paperclipped out one of the penguins' events in the middle for my younger group to shorten it a little. When we got to the end, a kid asked "what's a baton?" Oops I guess I should have explained that while I was reading...

5) Snowball ring toss
I had some foam rings from my donut storytime, including the five Olympic colors. So I arranged them like the rings, put a masking tape line on the floor, and gave the kids snowballs crumpled white paper. Then I counted to three and had the kids throw their snowballs at the rings. They ran and picked them up, then got back behind the line and we did it two more times. The littlest ones had a hard time staying behind the line and waiting to throw, but it was really fun. Lots of the parents were taking pictures.
(sorry about the poor photo quality. my phone sucks at indoor pics.)

6) Winter Olympic Sports: Figure Skating - Joseph Gustaitis
With this book I just read the first bit of info on the page and elaborated the pictures -- "The best jumper often wins the competition... Sometimes girls skate alone... Sometimes boys skate alone... Sometimes boys and girls skate together...." I skipped probably half the book, but I just wanted to show some photos of Olympic skating, and it led into our next activity...

7) "Ice" skating
I've seen this idea in a number of places, including I Can Teach My Child (by the way, that there is a great link for lots of other Olympic activities if you want to do more!). I took wax paper, wrapped a piece around each kids' shoes, and masking taped it on. Then they skated around the room! Some of the older kids tried doing spins and jumps like the real Olympic skaters. A number of kids fell, but they all laughed and kept going!

8) Parachute play
Once everyone's skates starting ripping and falling off, they helped me clean up and I got out the parachute. I explained how some Olympic sports are for people competing all by themselves (like most of figure skating), but there are also sports where people work as a team. So we tried to work together to bounce our "snowballs" (from the ring toss above) on the parachute. Of course they keep flying all over the place, but that's part of the fun of the parachute. :)

9) O is for Olympics coloring page (18-36 months) or O is for Olympics craft (3-5 years)
This craft came completely from I Can Teach My Child. Super easy. And actually in the older class we did the craft before the parachute, so it would have some extra time to dry. But most just left their page in the room anyway to dry while they went to look at books.

Other Olympics books:
G is for Gold Medal - Brad Herzog (I probably would have chosen this one over Tacky except that it has a lot of Summer Olympics stuff, and I didn't want to confuse the kids right now)
Elympics - X.J. Kennedy - I could have used the winter sports poems from here, but our storytime was already so full
Olympig! - Victoria Jamieson
Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee - Chris VanDusen
Koala Lou - Mem Fox
How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals - Michael Phelps
The Story of the Olympics - Minna Lacey (this one is way too long for storytime, but has a lot of great information for kids who want to learn about the history of the Olympics!)

I also created a bulletin board about the upcoming Olympics in Sochi!

1 comment:

  1. Very fun! I am jealous of your huge space! And, your torch is awesome!