It’s the summer of the Olympics and what a better theme for STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) activities is there for that?! This post is part of the Learn and Play Summer Olympic Challenge hosted by Edventures with Kids that includes over 50 Olympic Activities for kids! Be sure to check it out – you (and your kids) are not going to want to miss out on this!
Track and field events in the olympics are FULL of opportunities to discuss science and math. There is force, gravity and projectile motion and angular momentum for the more advanced, in addition to so much more. Here are a few popular Olympic track and field STEM activities, and how you can explore them at home in a simple, yet scientific and mathematic matter!
5 Olympic Track & Field Inspired STEM Activities
Grab some of those plastic jumping frogs and set them up on a piece of paper at the start line. For older kids, determine how many ‘athletes’ you want in your event, and give each of them 3 jumps, tracking their distances. Kids can compare distances and chart each jumpers distances, finding the best, and eliminating ‘athletes’ with the shortest distance, until there is a gold medalist! With younger children, simply measure the distances of 2 ‘jumpers’ and compare them, using words like ‘more’ or ‘less’, ‘farther’ and ‘shorter’.
Find a few different household items of varying weights and make a few ‘shotput’ balls. We used a pair of socks wadded up into a ball, an old apple, and a ball of foil. We threw each object, shotput style, and measured the distances. Have your child observe and compare the weight of the items (use a scale for more ‘fun’) and the distance of each of them. You should find that a few variables impact the which item goes farther!
We created a mini pole vault by putting a bead on a pipe cleaner and launching the bead off of the ‘pole’. Vary the speed at which the pole launches the bead and observe the difference in distances.
Grab those same jumping frogs that you used in the long jump and see how high they can go! Create a small pole for the frog to jump over by attaching a straw to 2 popsicle sticks and see how high you can get your frog to jump. Mark the height of the jump on the popsicle sticks and measure with a ruler.
It’s the summer Olympics, so what better to use as a javelin than a pool noodle! Don’t have one? Grab a stick, a broom, or anything else you have on hand. You kids will be more than happy to have permission to launch a large stick across the lawn! Measure and chart the distances.
These simple activities encourage your kids to compare distances, think about what makes objects go different distances, and measure, chart and graph. That’s a lot of science and math in a few fun games!
Enjoy the Olympics with your kids, and don’t forget to check out the rest of the activities in the challenge! For a fun way to play along, grab this printable and see who can win the ‘Gold’ Medal 🙂 Have FUN!