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Young Athletes


DSC04148 Special Olympics Young Athletes™ is an inclusive early childhood sports and educational play program for children aged 2 to 7 years old, with and without intellectual disabilities, that includes games, songs and other fun, physical activities.  With an emphasis on training and participation through activities and play, rather than competition, our young athletes learn basic sports skills like kicking and throwing a ball, and playing with others, as well as provides children with gross motor skills training, group interaction and socialization opportunities.  These basic skills will prepare the Young Athletes for future participation in sports.

 Benefits of Participation

  • Increases a young child’s strength and coordination in preparation for sports participation.
  • Inclusive sports and education opportunity for children ages 2-7 with or without disabilities
  • Introduces young children to group play, cooperation and awareness of rules.
  • Focus placed on socialization, interaction and fun.
  • Teaches “everyday” skills
  • Fosters family interaction
  • Provides an opportunity for younger participants that are not eligible for Special Olympics sports



The new Young Athletes™ Curriculum builds on the Young Athletes™ Activity Guide and Training video resources previously available and now provides scripted Lesson Plans for use over an 8 week period.   For each week there are 3 days of Lesson Plans for a total of 24 days.

Lessons are designed to be offered in sequence to help children become acquainted with the activities and build skills through repetition.

  • Week 1: Foundation Skills
  • Week 2: Walking and Running
  • Week 3: Balance and Jumping
  • Week 4: Trapping and Catching
  • Week 5: Throwing
  • Week 6: Striking
  • Week 7: Kicking
  • Week 8: Review of Skills as Sports




SONC offers training on the  Young Athlete Program.  Contact Wendy Miller if you are interested, or would like to learn how to receive a Young Athlete’s Kit.

See if the Young Athlete Program is offered in your local community! Search our Local Programs.


Young Athletes Curriculum

Young Athletes Activity Guide

Young Athletes Lesson Summary Cards

Young Athletes Training Videos

Young Athletes School Flyer

Young Athletes Sports info

Young Athlete FAQ



Young Athletes Registration Form

Young Athletes Registration Form (Spanish)

Young Athletes Sample Parent Letter

Young Athletes Certificate of Participation


Other Useful Links

SOI Young Athletes Resources


The Lesson Plan Page

PE Central

The Leonard Gordon Institute for Human Development Through Play