The Summer Olympic Games are just three weeks away. I can’t think of a better way to get your children excited about the games than holding your very own 2012 Backyard Summer Olympic Games. There are so many great learning opportunities involved including teamwork, sportsmanship, and direction following. Not to mention exercise and a sense of community!
* Pick a day and time for the event to begin and create posters to announce it to the neighborhood.
* Create a sign up sheet of children who may attend the event in order to determine amount of materials, beverages and space needed.
* Decide on how many games you will run based on the number of children participating.
* Determine what games to play and gather all materials needed.
* Have your kids help make medals. There are a variety of tutorials to make your own, from simple cardboard medals to more elaborate ones made with painted jar lids or paper mache. If you want unique medals check out how to make them with stale bread.
* Construct an Olympic Torch to use during opening ceremonies.
* Plenty of water, Gatorade and healthy energizing snacks such as fruit and granola bars.
* All other materials will based on what games you choose.
* Be sure to have a first aid kit on hand and appoint an adult to first aid responsibilities, should any injuries arise.
* Provide children and adults with plenty of water and/or Gatorade. For a cool refreshing treat check out these Gatorade Popsicles.
* Plan the games for mid morning or later in the afternoon. Avoid the hours of 11 and 2 when the sun is the highest.
* Encourage families to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before direct sun exposure and then every 60 minutes in the sun.
* On the day of the ceremonies play the Olympic theme music, which you can find on Itunes.
* If you have enough children participating, create teams and encourage the teams to wear matching outfits, hats, or headbands to build team spirit. Pick a different country for each of the teams to represent. One of the activities for the games could be creating the countries flag out of contruction paper.
* Choose an adult to be the announcer, who explains how the competition will run, the rules of the games, and overall gets the kids excited to play.
* After the announcements have been made have an Olympic Torch relay race to begin the fun.
There are so many different games to choose from, depending on how elaborate you want to be. Older children will enjoy organized, rule based games such as soccer and volleyball. Younger children will love simple and easy to follow games such as ring toss, bicycle relay races, water balloon activities, and bubble blowing. Next week I’ll cover specific games for various age ranges.
* At the conclusion of the games play the Star Spangled Banner and encourage the kids to sing along.
* Play the national anthems of other countries represented, as well.
* Present the medals and then enjoy a healthy snack of fresh watermelon.