I don’t usually watch sports on TV, but when I do it’s either the most interesting thing happening at a restaurant or the Olympics. I am SUPER excited for opening ceremony of the summer Olympics this year. This will be fun for a formal birthday party or just the neighborhood kids playing together. This is going to be a super long post with a variety of activities for just one event. Feel free to mix and match the events rather than playing all of the events.
Before you Start:
Before you start the games, you should look around your yard and house to see what materials you already have. You don’t want to go broke putting on the Olympics (if only most countries followed that advice). Read the games below to get an idea of what activities could be done and create a spread sheet of the activities you want to play. The spread sheet should have 4 columns: activity, bronze medals. silver medals, and gold medals. When playing the activities, you should write down an abbreviation for the country so that you can quickly fill it in such as U.S. for the United States, C. for Canada, and A. for Australia. This will help you better conduct the awards ceremony at the end of the games.
1: Country Selection:
Have the kids break up into teams to begin with. Have them pick a country other than their home country because you don’t want to have the groups fighting to represent their home country.You can even have them make up their own countries.
Once they have decided what country they want to represent, hand out something the kids can decorate to represent what team they’re on such as a bracelet ($7 for two dozen) or bandana ($13 for a dozen). Use sharpies, acrylic paint, or fabric markers to decorate. The kids should make it look like the country’s flag or a symbol of their made up country.
If the kids decide to make up their own countries, then you should have them talk about it. For example, let’s say that the kids decide to make up a country called Fluffernutter. What are the national colors of Fluffernutter? Do they have any symbols? What is their top export? What language do they speak? It’s pretty fun!
Once you’ve done this, then the games can officially begin!
You’ll need a blacktop, a basketball hoop, and a basketball to play this game.
You can do this so that every team goes once and picks a representative to play in the ultimate match up or you can have this be one big game of H-O-R-S-E between all of the countries. Obviously, the first version of the game will take longer.
H-O-R-S-E starts out when an order has been created for the group to play in. The first person makes the first shot. Encourage them to make a challenging shot. Have the player announce the rules to his or her shot. For example they would say “I’m shooting with my eyes closed” if they were going to shoot the ball with their eyes closed. The first person should successfully make the ball go in the hoop. If he or she misses, then they go to the back of the line and the person behind them makes a shot.
Everyone must make the same shot and get the ball into the hoop. If someone misses, then they receive a letter. Once they’ve received enough letters to spell horse, then they are out of the game and should sit on the sidelines to cheer his or her team on.
If you’re playing with mixed countries, then you should play until there are three players left. When the third player gets out, then mark down that his or her country is receiving the bronze for that sport. When the second player gets out, mark down that that country won the silver. The person left standing won the gold.
If you’re going to decide who’s the best from each country, then you should play the game fully until you have one winner from each country. Those players should face off. If you only have 2 countries in your Olympics, then you should take the top 2 from the in-country rounds and put them together so that you have 4 people competing. When the third player gets out, then mark down that his or her country is receiving the bronze for that sport. When the second player gets out, mark down that that country won the silver. The person left standing won the gold.
3: Backyard Gymnastics:
You’ll need a can of lawn paint spray for this ($7.50 on Amazon) or a balance beam.
If you’re going to play this game, then you’ll need to prepare in advance so that you can let the paint dry. Paint a straight, even stripe on a flat section of your lawn like a pretend balance beam. Olympic sized balance beams are 16 feet long by 4 inches.
Players of the game must do a series of tasks that get harder to do in 3 rounds: Easy, Medium, and Hard. The competition will knock contestants out to award the countries medals at the end.
In the Easy section you should instruct the kids to do 1-3 maneuvers. Whatever you decide, you should keep that many maneuvers in the game per round. Any kid who misses all of those or two of those maneuvers should be unable to compete in the next round and should cheer his or her countrymen on. All of the gymnastics should take place on the balance beam line. Easy gymnastics could include doing a cartwheel, walking backwards, hopping on one foot, and doing a leap.
Medium gymnastics would include doing things such as a double cartwheel, hopping on one foot backwards, and doing the Cotton Eye Joe dance across the balance beam. You may get your bronze medal contestant during this phase.
Hard gymnastics doing a triple cartwheel, a one handed cartwheel, and doing a hand stand for the longest amount of time. The gold medal winner is the person who can complete all of the tasks. Ties are allowed.
To set up for the tennis relay race, you’ll need as many tennis rackets or bat mitten rackets, and tennis balls as there are teams. If you don’t, then you’ll need to time each team and have them go one at a time. Put a cone a rather far way away from where the kids will line up (such as a yard or two away).
Have the kids form one line per team. Give each person at the front of the line a racket and a ball. They must balance the ball on the racket as they walk to and around the cone. They must keep it balanced when they hand it off to a teammate. If the ball falls, they have to do a jumping jack and then retrieve the ball. The fastest team to finish gets the gold medal. Second fastest gets the silver medal and so on and so forth.
5: Pool Events:
These events (there can be more than one) simply require a pool. You can have swimming races using different strokes, pool dancing (although that would be highly subjective), and dive contests such as cannonball and bellyflop contests. Just let everyone know in advance that they’ll be swimming and should bring a bathing suit. This should be the last event before the awards ceremony if you decide to include it.
6: Track Race:
No track actually needed. Create a start line and a finish line that are a good distance apart. You can bracket the kids so that one kid runs at a time per country. The kid that finishes first in that race will then move on to another round. Go through all of the kids in the first round before moving onto the next round. Repeat again with 2-3 kids running at a time until you have clear gold, silver, and bronze winners.
7: Soccer/ Football:
You don’t need anything fancy to have a mini soccer game. You just need a ball, something that the balls can be caught in whether it is a net or an old basket of some sort, and at least 2 teams. Keep the goals a good distance apart from each other. Bracket the groups as that they’ll each have to play each other at least once. The group that scores 5 goals first wins and moves on to the next round.
8: Awards Ceremony:
Time to find out which country won the Olympics this year. Make sure that you’ve done all your medals calculations and have noted memorable people or moments in advance. Gather the teams around you. Praise them for doing their best and having fun representing their countries. You can read out which country (and/or person who won the medal for their country) was awarded which medal. Then tell them the total tally of how many gold medals, silver, and bronze each country won. Tell them who won the gold medal count, silver count, bronze count, and total medal count. Clap and award them with some snacks.