Young Athletes

Special Olympics Young Athletes is a sport and play
program for children with and without intellectual
disabilities (ID), ages 2 to 7 years old. Young Athletes introduce basic sport skills, like running, kicking and throwing. Young Athletes offers families, teachers, caregivers and people from the community the chance to share the joy of sports with all children. Children of all abilities take part, and they all benefit.

Children learn how to play with others and develop
important skills for learning. Children also learn
to share, take turns and follow directions. These
skills help children in family, community and school

Young Athletes is a fun way for children to get fit. It is important to teach children healthy habits while they are young. This can set the stage for a life of physical activity, friendships and learning.

Young Athletes is easy to do and fun for all. It can be done at home, in schools or in the community using the Young Athletes Activity Guide and basic equipment.

Through Young Athletes, all children, their families and people in the community can be part of an inclusive team.

An Introduction to Special Olympics

Young Athletes Play Days are a wonderful introduction to Special Olympics. Children participate in 11 different activities, representing 11 different sports offered by Special Olympics. The program helps increase the young children’s strength and coordination for sports while introducing them to group play, cooperation and awareness of rules.

Young Athletes Play Days are held throughout the state in the following cities:

  • Cedar Falls
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Central Lee
  • Council Bluffs
  • Davenport
  • Des Moines
  • Dubuque
  • Muscatine
  • Oskaloosa
  • Spirit Lake
  • West Des Moines

More locations are always being added!


Young Athletes Family Flashcards

Do you have a young athlete that you are introducing sport skills to? The Young Athletes Family Flashcards are a great resource that guides you through building healthy habits and key skills through play.

Young Athletes Family Flashcards  
Young Athletes Brochure

For more information on Young Athletes Play Days or to start a Play Day in your area, contact:
Krista Smith, Director of Unified Programs