In honor of this year's Olympic Games - and for the sheer fun of it - a group of us decided to hold our own version of the Olympics in our yard. We decided to have as many water events as possible. We also wanted to mimic the real Olympic Games closely, as well, so that our children could learn about this historic event.
As each family RSVP'ed to the Evite invitation I sent, I grouped the children into two teams and assigned them a matching color to wear. This made it easy to tell the teams apart on the day of the event.
Although I've been using Evite for years, I'm enjoying it. This site lets you make a special 'comment' to your invitation in the form of a list of requested items. Then each invitee can reply with a simple click as to what she can bring. This feature made it really easy for all of us to know which items were still needed, and it took the burden off any one of us to provide everything.
As each family arrived, the teams split up and began work on their team name and flag. They really got into this! Soon we had the Red Vikings competing against the Blue Dinosaurs.
When the flags were complete, the children lined up and marched into the backyard to the national anthem. (Since we lacked an audience, we did have to do a few things out of order.) As the "Chairperson of the International Olympic Committee," I went over the rules of the day with the kids and introduced our "nation's president." She then opened the games, and then the kids all stood and took the official Olympic oath. After that one of our youngest Olympians carried in the torch. He and his mom lit the cauldron, and the games began.
**We used my husband's iron fire pit as our Olympic cauldron. Shorter and simpler than the real one, of course, but the kids didn't know that - and they really got into it! We used the above tissue paper creations as our 'fire' and stuck more into the end of a paper towel tube to be the torch. It all worked.)
I thought that the kids might find this all a bit cheesy, but they were really into it. They planted their flags in the dirt, lined up by teams, and began to cheer.
First up was a three-legged race. The kids found this to be really difficult!
Carrying water balloons on flat wooden spoons isn't exactly a piece of cake, either.
The "discus" throw had the big kids really excited, and they gave lessons to the younger ones.
No water day would be complete without playing "fill the bucket with the sponge."
They absolutely loved trying to be fancy ladies at finishing school, carrying around the soppy sponges on their heads. This event was a team relay race.
They were more than ready to race on the slip 'n' slide, though, and they couldn't get enough of this one.
Then we got a bit more strategic. We laid out our own rules for Capture the Flag ...
but instead of having tails to grab, each team had to defend a lone bandanna - and its' two protectors guarded it with cans of shaving cream. Whenever anyone got sprayed, s/he had to sit down and count to ten before running again. We really had fun with this one! We played for three points.
What water day would be complete without water balloons? We ended our events with an old-fashioned water balloon fight. The kids took out more than 50 balloons in 2 minutes flat.
Group pictures and a picnic lunch followed.
While the kids ate, the adults compared notes on the day. I kept score for each event, wherever possible, and we determined a winning team that way; but we also gave small trophies for those kids showing excellent character throughout the day. We gave away Spirit Awards (for encouraging teammates), a Good Listening award, a Strategic Planning award, and a Team Helpfulness award. The kids were so excited to earn these!
We passed out the winning team's medals and our character trophies at our closing ceremony. At this time we also 'doused' our cauldron and closed the games, all to patriotic music.
After our closing ceremony we celebrated the day with these Olympic Torch Cupcakes.
Now my kids are really excited to learn more about the Olympic Games and what's happening. We followed the torch's webcam yesterday and will watch the real Opening Ceremonies tonight.
**All pictures in this post were taken by my friend Susan B. Thanks, Susan!
How are you celebrating this year's Olympics?
* Shared at I Can Teach My Child.