Backyard Olympics -10yr- One Country per Team
Doris in Gilbert, AZ USA
Invitation: With the 2010 Winter Olympics just finishing, my daughter wanted an Olympic Birthday theme.
We printed invitations with the Olympic rings on top, and an Olympic torch on the bottom. They read: CALLING ALL COMPETITORS! Join us in celebrating Tori's 10th birthday at the Backyard Olympic Games! Date: Opening ceremonies commence: 2:00 p.m. Closing ceremonies conclude: 6:30 p.m. Hosting Country: (our address). Come ready to compete! We bought bronze-colored stationery (Staples) and rolled it up into torch-shaped cones. We sealed them with gold notary seals (Staples). We rolled up the printed invitations, placed one inside each torch, and stuffed gold-colored transparent cellophane wrap (Dollar Tree) and metallic red and blue shredded wrap (Dollar Tree) into the top of the torch for the flame. They turned out great, and created excitement for the party!
Decorations: My husband made a banner with an old twin bed sheet, spray painted with the words Welcome Athletes! He hung this at the entrance to our backyard using a few very tall ladders. We placed 2 balloon bouquets on either side of the entrance one with the 5 Olympic colors (Party City), the other with a mylar flag balloon and red, white, and blue balloons (Dollar Tree).
We set up the cake table on our back patio in front of a window, and put American-themed window clings on the window (Dollar Tree.) We used red, white, and blue colors for the tablecloth, cake plates/napkins, and forks (Party City), and placed 2 mylar flag balloons on the table with a balloon weight (Dollar Tree). The gift and food tables were all covered in Olympic-colored plastic tablecloths - green, blue, red, black, and yellow (Party City). We set up 5 different events around our backyard. Each event was marked with a large sign (hammered into the ground) that we made using foam board and a giant black permanent marker (Hobby Lobby), wooden stakes (Home Depot), and an air gun stapler. Each event also had a clipboard (Dollar Tree), a whistle (Hobby Lobby), and a stopwatch or a measuring tape for the judge.
Pre-event activities: As the girls arrived, my adult helpers led them in stretching exercises, and they also danced to CD's we played on our karaoke/stereo that was set up on the patio. After everyone had arrived, the girls all gathered around, we announced the team captains, then divided them up into 5 teams of 4 (had the captains/teams decided ahead of time to make sure they were equitable as far as age, skill level, etc.) Each team was assigned their country, also determined ahead of time. We passed out paper bags to each team with their supplies: colored bandanas American flag for Team USA, green for Jamaica, blue for Honduras, red for Switzerland, and yellow for Bolivia (Hobby Lobby); corresponding colored water bottles with crazy straws (Party City); one rectangular-shaped foam sheet and a thin wooden dowel (Hobby Lobby), and a Sharpie.
After we helped them put on their bandanas, they wrote their names on their water bottles with the Sharpies and filled them with Gatorade I had made in a 5-gallon jug. Then, they found a spot in the yard to sit with their team and make their flags. Each team was given a paper plate and paintbrushes, and we walked around and squirted the paint colors they needed onto their paper plate. (Acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby). They painted their flags, using the sample flags I had printed off a website (Wikipedia). An adult hot glued their dowels onto their flags. This all took about 15 minutes.
Activities: Next, the girls/teams lined up at the entrance to our backyard, behind the welcome banner, and the birthday girl was given a lighted tiki torch to lead them. We put on a CD with the Olympic theme song (downloaded from the internet), and the girls paraded around the entire backyard. The team captains carried the flags, and each team walked together. The adults clapped and cheered for each team as they passed by, and lots of pictures were taken. Then, they all stopped while we played the American National Anthem (downloaded from the internet.) When it was done, the games began.
Events: Each team went to one of the 5 events, and the judge at each event provided instructions.
The Discus Throw: each girl got to throw Frisbees for 2 minutes into hula hoops, each hoop worth a pre-determined number of points. The other girls fetched the frisbees. Each girl's total points were added up, and then these totals were added to determine the team total. (This was the most difficult event for the girls not a lot of points were scored.)
The Bubble Gum Bubble Blow: each girl chewed 2 pieces of bubble gum, then attempted to blow a big bubble. Each girl's biggest bubble was measured and recorded (in centimeters), and then these measurements were added up to determine the team total.
The Croquet Ball Shot Put: each girl threw the ball 3 times. The ground was marked with spray paint ahead of time to help make the measuring easier. Each throw was recorded, and then the furthest of the 3 was used in the team total.
The Balloon Punch: each girl was timed while punching a large punching balloon (Party City). They got 2 tries, and the better of their 2 times was used in the team total.
Party Snacks: We had a refueling station set up in the middle of the yard for the kids to visit and grab a snack during event changes - granola bars, fruit snacks, string cheese, go-gurts. Each rotation was 10 minutes long, and we used the microphone to indicate when it was time to switch to the next event. Because some events took a little less than 10 minutes to complete, the judges kept their group entertained if they ended early (i.e. trivia, etc.)
Food: Once each team had completed every event, they gathered to eat. The food was simple: hot dogs/hamburgers, individually bagged chips, fresh fruit, and veggies w/dip. They served themselves, and could choose between water bottles and Gatorade for their drinks. While they ate, we tallied all of the event scores and made a list of the winners.
Award ceremony: After everyone had finished eating, we gathered for the awards/medal ceremony. We used the microphone to announce the winners. First, the 5th place team was announced, and each member received Honorable Mention ribbons ($.50 each from a local trophy shop.) We played their country's national anthem (downloaded from the internet), then everyone clapped and we took their team picture.
Next, the 4th place team was announced, and each member received Special Mention ribbons. We played their country's national anthem, then everyone clapped and we took their team picture. Then, we proceeded to announce the 3rd place team. Each received a bronze medal, we played their anthem, and took their team picture. We did the same with the 2nd and 1st place teams. After concluding the team awards, we presented gold, silver, and bronze medals to the top 3 individual winners of each event. As it turned out, 3 of the girls did not receive either a team or individual medal, so we called these 3 up and gave them medals for best sportsmanship/team spirit. (We did this very carefully, as if it was planned and not just because they hadn't won any medals.)
We made the medals ahead of time using 2-inch wood circles. (First, my husband drilled small holes in each circle, near the top. Then, we spray painted them gold, silver, or bronze. Next, we used pliers to open and insert small gold jewelry rings into the holes - all these items were from Hobby Lobby. We clipped on red, white, and blue lanyards - $.50 each from a local trophy shop.)
Cake: We sang happy birthday, and ate cake and ice cream. Originally, we were going to make an Olympic ring cake, but ran out of time. Instead, we ordered one from Costco the American Flag. It said, Happy 10th Birthday Tori. You are pure GOLD! We used wavy candles in the Olympic colors. Then gifts were opened. We had 2 chairs set up one for the birthday girl, and one for whomever gave her each present. We took a picture of the birthday girl and each friend, to use for the thank you cards later.
Favors: After gifts, the girls spent the next 20 minutes or so playing in the backyard, jumping on the trampoline, doing the obstacle course again, etc. while they waited to get picked up. Each girl departed with her bandana, water bottle, and ribbon and/or medals. They all had a great time!
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