How to Host Your Own Summer Olympics
Type up and print your homemade “Olympic ticket” invitations, glue them to cards and trim. Using cut-out circles of yellow cardboard, attach a ribbon for a gold-medal look. Handwrite party details on each invitation.
Get into the spirit with a party in your own living room! From the events to the medal ceremony, these Games take minimal space and props and will have your smallest sporting enthusiast proudly vying for gold.
Most of these games can be run with the aid of just two Olympic officials – mom and dad (though having a few extra hands can never hurt).
Push furniture against the walls and see how many stations you can fit in your living area. Most stations take up a minimal amount of room. Write or print the name of each station and tack it to the wall.
Divide the athletes into different groups, organizing according to age or physical capability. Type up a registration sheet listing athletes’ names and jersey numbers, checking off names as kids arrive. Record scores on an Event Results sheet for each station, with columns for names and placing. Also, type up an Overall Winners tally sheet with four columns – one for the name of the event and three for the gold, silver and bronze winners.
Award prizes for the overall winner, runners-up and categories such as “Fairest Player” or “Athlete with Most Potential”; offer incentives for good sportsmanship. Set up your medal dais using chairs and small tables of varying height, draped in white sheeting. Print large numbers and tape underneath each place.
Your athletes will feel like it’s the real deal when wearing a sports bib! Bibs also help officials spot the winners easily. Make these bibs with ribbons and hemmed cotton squares. Or print names and number onto transfer paper and iron on.
Rules: Athletes limbo under a stick held by two officials, who lower the stick after each round. Athletes repeat until they touch the stick or fall over.
Tip: Attach a meter ruler or tape measure to the wall for officials to measure against.
Winner: Last athlete standing
• 1-meter ruler or tape measure
• Masking tape
• Large plastic bowl
• Some 1 jiao coins
• A long rope
• 2 hula hoops
• Stop-watch or egg timer
Shot Put Coin Toss
Rules: Athletes are given five coins and start at the mark closest to the bowl, trying to toss the coins into the bowl one at a time. After each toss, they take a step backward to the next mark. Repeat until the fifth mark is reached. Tally how many of the five coins they get in.
Tip: Pre-measure and mark your shot put lines with masking tape.
Winner: The athlete who tosses the most coins into the bowl wins. In the case of a tie, have a do-or-die toss-off.
Frog Long Jump
Rules: Four athletes stand in a row and jump as far as they can from a standstill.
Tip: Mark a starting line with masking tape. Measure from the line to the back of each competitor’s foot.
Winner: The athlete with the longest jump.
Rules: Athletes must race on their hands and feet with tummies facing upwards (like the crab walk). Line them in groups of two to race around an object and then back to the starting line. If bottoms touch the ground, they are out.
Tip: If you have lots of athletes, have four players race at the same time.
Winner: Athletes compete against each other in rounds. Winners of each round advance and compete against each other until an individual winner can be determined.
Rules: Athletes walk on a “balance beam” (or rope). Feet must stay on the rope, otherwise athletes are out.
Tip: Raise the difficulty level by creating a wobbly line.
Winner: Athletes continue to walk the beam until only one person remains.
Set the Atmosphere Nothing pumps up kids’ energy levels like an uplifting beat. Play some up-tempo music to have athletes raring to go.
Prep the Refreshments Every athlete needs fuel! Provide hydrating refreshments such as water and juice, and bowls full of orange wedges, watermelon and grapes. Leave the sugary, salty party food for post-Games celebrations.
Stage the Ceremony After your Games are complete, send the athletes off to eat while you tally the scores. Have athletes sit in front of the medal dais and call out winners for each Games Station, presenting medals and goodie bags as they are announced.
Award the Prizes Medals can be made of cardboard circles strung with colorful ribbon. Stuff goodie bags with sport-themed items such as drink bottles, whistles, sweatbands and candy.
Rules: Athletes compete against each other to keep a hula hoop circling around their waist. Whoever keeps the hula hoop going the longest advances to the next round. Rounds continue until only one athlete is left standing.
Tip: For the sake of crowd control, two athletes should compete with each other at a time. Ask non-participating athletes to sit on the floor.
Winner: Whoever keeps the hula hoop going the longest. Athletes keep playing until a winner is announced.