The OT Olympics: Great Games for OT Athletes

OT Olympics.png

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Summer will be over before you know it, and many OT/A programs and SOTAs across the country will be welcoming a brand new class of students into the fold! In my program, we hosted a welcome picnic for students, faculty, and family members at the start of the semester so that everybody can get to know each other. Everybody always has a great time getting to know one another in a less formal context, and I’m definitely going to miss welcoming the new class of students to campus this fall.

If you’re looking for a fun way to get to know your new classmates, try holding the OT Olympics! Basically, it’s just a fun way to learn more about the people you’ll be spending the next couple years working and learning alongside while enjoying a little healthy competition. Divide up into teams of 4-5 people, create team names, and let the games begin!


  1. Greatest Grip Strength: Select one member from each group to test his or her grip strength.
  2. Goniometry Games: Choose one of your most flexible team members and get a judge to measure his or her range of motion. The team with the most flexible person wins!
  • Shoulder flexion/extension
  • Elbow flexion/extension
  • Wrist flexion/extension
  • Wrist radial & ulnar deviation
  • Hip flexion/extension
  • Knee flexion/extension
  • Ankle plantarflexion & dorsiflexion
  1. 9-Hole Peg Test: Select one member from each group with the best dexterity and fine motor skills complete this task. The first person to place and remove all the pegs is the winner!
  2. Most Powerful Pinch Strength: Select one member from each group to test his or her lateral, pincer, and 3-jaw chuck pinch strength.
  3. Adapted Dressing Race: The setup for this relay includes several stations with various adaptive devices. Create a scenario in which the competitor must adhere to hip precautions, use only one hand, have limited shoulder ROM – or all of the above – and let the hilarity ensue!
    • Clothing: Large socks, loose pants (sweatpants), button-down shirt,
    • Adaptive Devices: Sock aid, long-handled shoehorn, reacher/grabber, dressing stick, buttonhook
  4. Scooter Board Race: Set up an obstacle course using cones, pool noodles, etc. and race to see who can navigate it the fastest! (For an additional challenge require competitors to race while lying prone or only using their feet!)
  5. Fine Motor Madness: Give competitors a pair of small tongs or tweezers and have them race to pick up as many pom poms or beads as possible in 3 minutes.
  6. Stereognosis Challenge: Place several small, medium, and large-sized item in a stereognosis bin and give competitors 3 minutes to locate and correctly identify as many items as possible.

These are a just a few of the many ways you can have fun challenging your classmates’ coordination, strength, and other skills! Get creative developing your own OT Olympic “events” that challenge balance, coordination, and motor skills or try using parts of pediatric assessments like the MFUN or the BOT (Ex. Traveling with a ball on a spoon, completing a maze) to liven things up. At the end of the day, hold an awards ceremony and reward the victors for their outstanding achievements!


What events would you add to the OT Olympics? Share in the comments!

4 thoughts on “The OT Olympics: Great Games for OT Athletes

  1. Jasmine August 6, 2016 / 5:13 pm

    This is such a great idea! I would so win the Stereognosis Challenge 😉 I would add an obstacle course to the Olympics, when I was shadowing I got see how helpful (and fun!) obstacle courses were for memory, fine/gross motor, sensory, strength etc; I have orientation for my OTA program on the 17th of this month. I hope we’ll do some fun exercises while getting to know each other. Totally wish you were going to be in my class, Lauren! 🙂

    Do you know of any open OT related scholarships?
    I haven’t had much luck finding any in my state, VA.

    • lej1123 August 11, 2016 / 11:37 am

      Thanks for your kind words, you’ll have to keep me posted on how you like OTA school! It’s exciting to hear that you’ll be starting soon, I’m sure you’re going to be so successful. 🙂
      Regarding scholarships, I would advise you to check out my previous posts on funding your OT education ( – they have a ton of tips about how to identify funding opportunities and other sources that might be of help to you. Additionally, I know that the new Rehabmart Scholarship program ( is accepting applications through Oct. 31, so that is another possible funding opportunity! I would also encourage you to join your state and national OT associations for additional scholarship opportunities, if you haven’t already. I hope this helps!

      • Jasmine August 25, 2016 / 8:24 pm

        Hey, Lauren!
        Sorry for the late reply, my cohort started Monday and we have A LOT of work to do already. Pray for me! lol It’s all very exciting though 🙂 Thank you for the info and links. I decided to go ahead with a loan. Unfortunately, my grant didn’t cover everything, but I will be looking into loan forgiveness programs like one of your articles suggested. Also, I will definitely be joining AOTA and my states OT association. I hope all is well with you! x


  2. juvosolutions March 20, 2017 / 10:20 am

    This is such a great idea. Nice game suggestions. Thanks for sharing this.

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