8 Ideas for Your Outdoor Olympics

Step Into Nature and Reach for the Gold

07-12-2012 // Mary Burnette
Boy with medal on track

The 2012 Summer Olympics are almost here! While the world prepares to watch athletes from around the world compete, kids can be Olympians in their own backyard. Gather the kids together and create your own Olympic games with these 8 fun activities. Get creative and add your own games in, too! 

-Be a Sharp Shooter
Line up plastic cups on the edge of a table or deck railing. Let kids use water balloons or water squirters to knock down as many cups as they can in 15 seconds. If it’s too easy, have the kids move further away from their targets.

-Rhythmic Gymnastics 
Designate an area on the lawn as an arena. Give the kids plastic hoops, balls and long ribbons and let them make up their own routines. Music is essential for this event.

-Relay Races 
Races can be short or long, depending on your space.  If you have a crowd,  relay races are not only fun but help children of various sizes and abilities work together. Low hurdles and obstacles add an additional challenge for older children. Other fun relay options: crab walk, run like a lion, slither like a snake, wheel barrel, or one legged frog hop.

-Weight Lifting 
Children can create this event with everyday objects around yard. Heavy cans, like well-sealed paint cans, or light hand weights work great. See which athlete can lift the object and hold it in the air the longest. Look around your backyard and find objects to fill up a bucket to create weights. Fill the buckets with rocks, sticks, or water.

-Float a Boat 
Your kids may not be able to sail, but try showing your child how to use sticks, bark, moss, and other natural things to fashion a boat. Lash sticks together to create a raft, make a sail from a leaf or scrap of fabric. Take it to the nearest lake or stream to test it out. If you don't have access to a stream or lake, create your own in the rain with some simple household objects, such as corks! Try this activity listed on our Activity Finder.

-Jumping for the Gold
A standing broad jump is simple to prepare. Create a marker for the starting line by putting a stick in the ground to mark finishes. Use the front of the toe or back of the heel for marking the landing foot.

Child on balance beam-Balance Beam
Lay down several 2x4s or 4x4s end to end in the yard. Let kids walk across with their eyes closed, changing direction, balancing a pillow on their head. Try a one-foot balance and creative dismount. Add music for drama. If you do not have wood to use as a balance beam, draw a line on the sidewalk and have the kids walk down and back, trying not to step off the line.

Set up a low net or plain rope at the average head height of the players. Use a plastic beach ball or balloon.

For more outdoor fun and ideas, visit Be Out There's Activity Finder.

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