Hold Your Own Backyard Summer Games!
The Olympic Summer Games are only held every four years, but you can host your own backyard summer games anytime you want! In the Olympics, for 16 days, the world’s best athletes compete in everything from track-and-field to swimming to gymnastics. Is your home teeming with little athletes? We’ve put together a list of backyard summer games to keep them on their feet and having fun.
Kick off the games with an opening ceremony! The summer games traditionally begin with the Parade of Nations, where athletes march into the stadium, country by country. Encourage your budding athletes to choose a country that they want to represent in the Parade. Dress up in your country’s colors and march into the backyard to get ready for the games. For added fun, you can even play each country’s national anthem as you enter the arena. Next, a flag is raised overhead. To complete the opening ceremony, a torch is passed from athlete to athlete until it reaches the last person, who lights the stadium cauldron. You can use a flashlight, candle, or paper torch for your backyard summer games. Get ready to have a blast!
Track and Field
Run, jump, and throw your way through these exciting track-and-field-inspired events!
- Three-Legged Race: Each pair has their legs tied together so that they have one leg free and one leg tied to their partner’s leg. Mark a starting line and a finish line. When the race begins, run as quickly as possible toward the finish line. Make sure to work together!
- Long Jump: Have each person stand behind an imaginary line and take a giant leap forward. See who can jump the farthest, but remember, you have to land on both feet!
- Paper Plate Discus: Throw a paper plate in the style of throwing a discus. It’s just like throwing a frisbee! Try and get your paper plate as far as you can. Make sure to practice this skill before the competition starts.
- Box Hurdles: Line up cardboard boxes on the field, evenly spaced. If you don’t have cardboard, feel free to use other household objects that kids can jump over. Have your kiddos race to the finish line, leaping over the hurdles along the way. For a twist, use hula hoops that kids can dive through in between running and jumping.
- Egg and Spoon Race: Each player holds the end of a spoon and places an egg in the curved end. Without dropping the egg, walk as fast as you can to the finish line!
Serve up some fun! Blow up a balloon and give each player a spatula or flyswatter. Hit the balloon back and forth with the utensils. See how long you can keep the balloon in the air!
Squirt Gun Archery
On a large piece of paper, draw a target with inner rings and assign each ring a point value. Have your kids stand behind a line, away from the target. Let them aim and squirt their water guns at the target to try and rack up points. If you don’t have squirt guns available, use a plastic water bottle and carefully poke a small hole in the top of the cap. Squeezing the water bottle should make water squirt through the small hole in a line. Everyone gets three chances to hit the bullseye!
Water Balloon Volleyball
Ready, set, spike! Have two people grab opposite ends of a towel. Place the water balloon in the middle of the towel. Try to throw and catch the balloon without it popping. If you have two pairs of people playing, try to toss the balloon from one towel to another.
Each athlete gets 15 minutes to make a 30-second gymnastics routine that incorporates props or everyday objects around the house. Points for creativity!
It’s time for a hole-in-one activity! Flip a cardboard box upside down. Cut out squares on the sides, big enough for a tennis ball to fit through. Then have each player stand behind a line away from the box and try to roll a tennis ball into the holes on the sides of the box. The first player to get the tennis ball into one of the holes wins!
When your little ones are tuckered out, it’s time for the closing ceremony. You can award your athletes for their athletic ability and good sportsmanship with a hand-drawn gold medal! The Olympic creed states that the most important thing is not to win but to take part. So remember to have fun!