Although the Olympic Games are cancelled for 2020, your family needn’t go without the rush of competitive sporting events this summer if you host your own backyard Olympics instead. You don’t need to be able to complete a roundoff back handspring or risk letting your kids throw a javelin to do so—just have some fun coming up with creative events, use your phone as a timer and grab a sheet of paper to keep score.
Stage an opening/closing ceremony
The spectacle of the Olympic Games is as much about the opening and closing ceremonies as it is the games itself, so don’t forget to incorporate them into your at-home competition. Get the kids involved and create your own flags, medals and torches.
Let each competitor choose what country or mascot they want to represent. Choosing a real country is great—and can open the door to additional educational opportunities, sure—but they can absolutely be made up (I am partial to competing on behalf of Narnia and Hogwarts, myself).
Also, just like the real Olympic Games, you can make yours stretch over multiple days. Hold the opening ceremony on one day and the closing ceremony on another. Opt for a weekend-long competition to ensure everyone is available to join in the fun.
Plan a diverse lineup of events
You’ll want to program your at-home Olympics with a diverse array of events, and they need not all be athletic in nature (if fact, the goofier and more creative you get, the better). You can dream up your own, or you can incorporate games that already exist—it’s totally up to you. Depending on the ages of everyone involved, the games can range from the simplistic to the semi-challenging:
Compete to see who can drink a large glass of water the fastest using a straw. Or have an eating contest.
Using your biggest indoor floor space, see who can jump the farthest, marking each person’s jump with tape.
Time a scavenger hunt to see who can find all the items fastest. If your kids are of different ages or ability levels, you can allow them to do it in teams.
See who can make it from the back of the house to the front door the fastest—blindfolded and with the guidance of a partner.
Make paper planes and measure which one flies the farthest.
If you have a pool, host your own swim meet.
The options are endless, and the setup doesn’t need to be elaborate—the point is have a great time while spending family time together as a family.
Everyone’s a winner
Athletes train for a lifetime to compete for a medal and represent their country in the real Olympics. In the at-home Olympics, everybody is a winner. Don’t let your kids’ competitive natures get the better of them. Find a way to keep the competition light and ensure everyone gets a medal in the end. The real prize is getting everyone up, moving and hopefully laughing together.