World's Craziest Sports
Where did sports come from, anyway? Who decided we should all take turns throwing rocks at things, or running someplace as fast as possible? Many of today's most popular sports have their origins in ancient cultures and traditions. Some, like soccer, have histories that stretch so far back in time, it's still not clear where they originally came from. Today at Camp Kinda, we'll hop in the sports time machine to check out some of the earliest sports invented and see which ones are still played today.
what you’ll need
- A computer, tablet, or mobile phone and access to the internet
- Pens, crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- Poster board
- Old boxes
Ask About Today
Can you tell me about the first Olympics? What did you learn?
If our family had to compete together in an Olympic event, what event would we be best at? Why?
Skip the Ads
Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.
Sports at the Starting Line
Did you know the first recorded sport was spear throwing and the first sport with a ball was bowling? Watch this visual history of sports to learn about how sports started.
Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.
Reviving an Ancient Mayan Ball Game
Before soccer or basketball there was Pok ta Pok, an ancient ball game played by the Maya more than 1,000 years ago. Watch this video to see what it was like and learn about the people who are trying to bring it back to life.
The Evolution of Sports
Over time, many ancient sports have evolved into sports as we know them today. Watch this video to learn about how sports have evolved over time.
Origins of the Olympic Games
Every two years, incredible athletes from around the world come together to compete at the Olympics. Some of the games they play date back thousands of years. Check out this video from TED-Ed to learn more.
Let's Get Olympic
Learn about the history of the Olympic Games, their importance, and the Olympic symbols in this video.
Make Your Family's Olympic Symbol
At the Olympics, people from all continents come together and compete against one another in sports. The Olympic symbol is the Olympic rings, which represent the union of the five continents of the world. Click the button to learn more about the rings and how they have evolved over time.
Try creating a symbol like the Olympic rings to represent your own family. What shape and color will represent each person? (Pro tip: if you are using circles as your symbol, trace a cup for each ring.) After you've done a few sketches, draw your final version on a clean piece of paper and color in your shapes or symbols. Try to include each person's name, too!
Sports have been around since before we even had written words. In early civilizations, sports were often played to help train soldiers for battle. Read about sports and the games that kids liked to play in ancient Egyptian times in this article from Savvy Leo.
Exploring Early Olympics
The earliest Olympic games were tough—and sometimes deadly. In an intense fighting sport called pankration, for example, there were no weight classes, no time limits, and just two rules: no biting and no eye gouging. Whoa. Find out more about it and other games from the first Olympics from National Geographic Kids.
The History of Modern Sports
Find out where modern sports like golf, hockey, swimming, and baseball came from in this article from ThoughtCo.
For younger explorers
The Story of the Olympics
Read along with the story Olympics Through Time to learn all about the history of The Olympics.
Did you know there are more than 60 Olympic sports? Try to act them out with a game of charades.
First, write down as many Olympic sports as you can think of on small scraps of paper (only one sport on each piece). If you need to see a list, visit the Olympic website.
Next, fold up the names of the sports and put them in a bowl. Act out the sport until someone guesses it correctly. Continue to draw a new sport and act it out for 60 seconds. Take turns acting and guessing.
Solo and need a friend to play with? Try playing with a friend over Zoom or Google Hangouts! Or, make a video of yourself acting each sport out and send it via email or text to see what they can figure out—or just save it for later, for a parent or sibling to guess. Encourage them to send a video back so that you can guess, too!
Not sure how to play charades? We got you: Just click the button to watch a few other kids in action.
For younger explorers
How about Some Bugball?
Head on over to PBS Kids to play DW's Bugball Island!
An At-Home Olymics
The first and only Olympic event was the one-stade run (a run across a stadium). Over time, more sports were added, like the hoplitodrome, a race in which the athletes wore full armor. Or the pentathlon, which featured five events like jumping, sprinting, and throwing objects for distance.
What if you had to host your own Olympics? Create a list of Olympic events you could host in your house, a park, or backyard. Then gather some family and have a competition, or try to time yourself and see if you can beat your fastest time! If you are competing against several people, be sure to award gold, silver, and bronze to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place!
It's always a good idea to warm up before playing sports—especially intense ones like you might play at the Olympics. Warming up prepares your body for exercise. Here's a great warm-up exercise you can try at home.
And a Cool-Down
Just like warming up beforehand, always spend a few minutes cooling down after a workout. A cool-down brings your heart rate down and keeps your body from being sore the next day. Give this one a try.
more to explore
Explore More of the Olympics
Getting into the amazing world of Olympic sports? Explore the Olympic website's list of games and find out more about any sport you want.