Summer Olympics -10yr- Spoon-n-Egg Race
Jennifer in Highland Park, Illinois, U.S.A.
For my daughter's 10th birthday, I wanted to do something fun yet economical. Since the summer Olympics begin in August this year, a Birthday Olympics seemed to be the perfect solution. Most importantly, my daughter was enthusiastic about the idea. I did find many useful suggestions from this website but hope that sharing my experience will also help others interested in a similar themed party. My daughter invited seven of her friends but these ideas could work just as well for a larger group.
INVITATIONS. Microsoft Publisher has some useful card templates and I found Olympic-themed clip art available online. I did a draft and let my daughter approve it before printing.
[Tip #1 In addition to the where, what, when details, be sure to include a note that guests should wear comfortable clothes and shoes for athletic activities; also include any note about plans in case of rain.]
I scheduled the party for two-hours in the afternoon estimating 90-minutes of activities and 30-minutes for cake, etc.
T-SHIRTS. As each guest reported to the Olympic Village (a.k.a. our home), they reached into a bag to pull out a slip of paper with a country's name. They were then given a t-shirt with the country's flag on the back and the Olympic rings and the country's name on the front. I purchased 100% cotton white t-shirts and used Avery iron-on transfers. The available on-line design software automatically reverses the images and words during printing or you must horizontally flip them.
[Tip #2 the iron-ons require both heat and pressure. To ensure that the image on one-side of the shirt is not destroyed while you're ironing on the other side, slip the t-shirt over a smooth, solid surface that won't transfer the heat. I used my pizza stone but I imagine that some cutting boards might work similarly well.]
[Tip #3 make one or two shirts extra in case guests are unhappy with their selected country; having a back-up gives you flexibility.]
GUESSING GAME & PRIZE. This has become a birthday party tradition for our family regardless of theme. We always have a prize such as a pop-corn tin or jelly bean dispenser. When guests arrive they must write their name and a guess on a slip of paper. This year I put almost three bags of M&M's into a clear, sealable glass jar and the kids guessed how many M&Ms were in the jar. The guest with the answer closest to the number takes the M&M jar (or whatever prize) home.
OLYMPIC EVENTS. When everyone had arrived, we walked over to the nearby park which has a field available for baseball and soccer practice.
[Tip #4 If you're using a public park, be sure to contact the Park District or school well in advance to find out if a permit or reservation is required.]
OLYMPIC TORCH RELAY. This was a good warm-up activity and got everyone into the Olympic spirit. Our torch was a paper towel roll wrapped in aluminum-foil with a colorful flame made on cardstock. The flame fell out during the relay which added some laughs you may want to secure with tape or glue. We took a group photo at the end of the relay.
Discus or Frisbee Throw. We used a 25 tape measure as a starting point. Kids stood behind and took turns throwing Frisbees. My son and husband marked the spot of the Frisbee that traveled the furthest with a stick. We did three rounds and I kept score. The stick was useful so that we could rank the winners from the three rounds into first, second and third.
Spoon & Egg Race. Instead of real eggs, I used plastic, colored Easter eggs and I put wrapped candies inside. The measuring tape was the staring point and the Frisbees from the previous game were set in a row on the opposite side of the field. Kids had to go around the Frisbees and return across the measuring tape.
Shot-put or Croquet Ball Throw. No spinning or turning as in real shot-put. Kids had to stand on the tape and throw overhand. My husband and son remained on the sidelines and then put a Frisbee on the ground to mark the spot where each croquet ball first hit the ground (distance from rolling didn't count).
Tag-Your-Tails. This is a game the kids play at school a lot. Each kid gets a scarf. One end goes in the waist band and the other hangs down by the knee. There is no IT everybody is trying to steal another person's scarf without having their own grabbed. The game ends by elimination. My husband, son and I formed the corners of the in-bounds area. As players were eliminated, we moved closer to narrow the size of the in-bounds area.
Three-legged race. Here the scarves or tails from the previous game were used to tie the legs together of the pairs. My husband had the kids put their feet immediately on the other side of the starting line so that no one would trip over the measuring tape.
Long Jump. Before this event, we packed up our gear and returned to our house for refreshing lemonade and bathroom break for the athletes. My son had used the measuring tape and sidewalk chalk to mark a long jump course. This wasn't your traditional track event there was no running and landing in a sandy pit. Instead kids had to jump (two feet at the same time; not a leap) from the starting point and were measured where the landed. We did three rounds and only the best score counted. Most kids improved with each try.
Limbo. This was an indoor event so we could have some accompanying music on the stereo. The measuring tape was used to monitor the height of the limbo stick (just a broom stick with the broom removed).
U.S. Presidents. I wanted to throw in a mental Olympic event. We have a game that features a poster featuring images of all the U.S. Presidents (except for the current one) but shows a number instead of the name. I gave the kids a list of 7 U.S. Presidents and asked them to write the identifying number next the name.
WRAP UP Cake, presents, ribbons & prize. While the cake was being eaten, I organized the ribbons. I ordered a dozen First-Place, Second-Place, and Third-Place ribbons (not medals) from Oriental Trading Company. I customized them with filing labels to indicate each event. While we didn't have twelve events, it was great to have extra ribbons so that I could modify as necessary. For instance, there were paired winners for the three-legged race and since the scores were so close for the U.S. Presidents, everyone got a ribbon. After ribbons were distributed to the countries, my husband announced the winner of the M&M guessing game. Guests took home their t-shirt, their ribbons and a Frisbee.
IN CASE OF RAIN We were fortunate that the weather was clear (though chilly) and it didn't rain. However, we were prepared to have different events indoors in the case of rain. These included thumb-wrestling, bean-bag toss, long jump (using a yoga sticky mat marked with a black Sharpie), belly balloon squish (a paired event where each team tries to break a balloon using only their bellies no hands), pin the laurels or medal on the Olympian (variation on the pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey) and a geography quiz. Best of success for your Olympic Birthday party!
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