Olympic Activities for Little Ones

On Friday, July 23, the Olympic flame will arrive in Tokyo, and the most anticipated sports event of the year will begin! The opening ceremony will be full of dancing, singing, art and an explosion of culture. Then, the events will begin. Regardless of age, we all discover new heroes, cheer until our voices grow faint and feel the chill of inspiration watching athletes overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. 

My favorite summer sport has always been gymnastics. The strength, grace and pure power it takes to defy gravity, spinning so fast you can barely track the rotations, and then sticking the landing—wow, it just blows my mind! While *I* am not a gymnast, my sister is a preschool gymnastics teacher in Tennessee, and she’s agreed to share some of her favorite exercises for you and your young athlete! 


Tummy time works the neck muscles and strengthens the core.
Incline lifts: a.k.a, airplanes!

Baby lifts and bench presses strengthen the core and are a fun bonding experience.


Going up and down hills builds leg strength and balance.
Find a large ball and practice throwing and catching.
Spinning with scarves or bells and dancing to music burns energy and builds rhythm and grace.


Throwing scarves or bandannas in the air is a great way to practice catching and develops eye tracking.
Bear walks build core and upper body strength.


Draw a line with chalk or put tape on the floor to make your own balance beam. Make it more challenging by placing a stuffed animal on the child’s head.
Get all the way down and bound up like a frog!
Do a barrel roll! Try to keep your whole body straight, no pushing with arms and legs!


Spider walks are the first stage of learning a handstand. Help your child walk their legs up and down the wall. Make it harder by scooting closer to the wall.
Donkey kicks build the leg muscles and can eventually turn into handsprings. This is recommended on carpet, because one day they’ll have so much strength that they’ll kick all the way over!
Gallop, skip, run and frolic! This is an easy and versatile exercise that builds strength and cardio.

After getting your workout in, take a break (’cause you’ll need one) with one of these picture books about amazing athletes and the Olympics!