Monday, August 6, 2012

Library Olympics

Library Olympics events are great fun to run during Olympics years.  This is our second time running a summer Library Olympics.  We try to make it a mix between crafts and events (as not all kids are crafty or athletic).  Due to our space, we registered 31 kids for this event and all 31 showed up.

Craft 1: Design Your Own Flag
This is a great way to raise some spirit and add an educational component-you can make country flags, team flags, Olympic flags, flags with your names on, etc.  You can pull out your flag books to show different examples of flags.  We used design your own flags from Oriental Trading and colored them with Sharpie markers.

Craft 2:Design Your Own Olympic Medal
We encourage every participant in our programs so they all get an Olympic medal.  We purchased magic scratch medals from Oriental Trading (no longer available) and the kids designed their own.

Note-if you purchase magic scratch kits from Oriental Trading, keep as many of the pencils that they give you.  You will use them again!

Craft 3: Design Your Own Frisbee
We found these a couple of years ago and have reused them in multiple programs because they are a great craft.  Oriental Trading sells design your own flying disks and they are about 7 inches wide.  They are the perfect mini frisbee for the kids to design and not too big of a project that they can't complete it.  We used Sharpie markers to color our designs.

My frisbee and Olympic flag

If you don't have a large number of staff to run the program or a large space (like us), you can run all 3 events in one place.  I started off by running a giant line of masking tape along the floor.  On the tape, I measured and marked off the feet and inches so it would look like a giant ruler (you will want at least 15 feet).  You will also need a starting line perpendicular to your masking tape ruler.  As the kids finish their crafts we have them come over and do their events.  There are 3 events at this station-the cotton ball shotput, the paper plate discus, and the drinking straw javelin.  It helps if you have more than 1 set so the next person in line can throw as you are picking up the previous person's pieces.  We also make up a chart to keep track of each person's throws.  While we don't award prizes, we do post the medalists on our Events board and on our social media sites.

Discus, javelins, and shotputs
Extra Info:
Here is some final information that we have learned through our 3 Olympics events (2 summer and 1 winter).  Olympics events are timely, especially if you run them during the actual Olympics.  You will have a full house for attendance and if you send out a press release, chances are good that you will have media coverage.  The kids love these events and will spend their time chattering about the events that they have been watching and events that they like.  They will also scrutinize your ruler for the events and are willing to calculate attendees' throws (you will have lots of little helpers).

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