No matter how small or large, young or old, in shape or out of shape families are, these games are for everyone. These Family Olympic games are specially designed so everyone can be a medalist in at least one event. The games will strengthen family members’ relationships and build inter-family relationships through fun competition.
Open with prayer and a Scripture verse, and light a candle to signify the beginning of the games. The administrators of the games double as the judges. At the conclusion of each event, present a medal to the first-, second-, and third-place winning families. See “Go for the Gold” at the end for a cheap and easy way to make medals.
6 Awesome Olympic-Style Games for Families
1. Game: Banner Bonanza
Goal: Each family creates a banner that reflects the most valuable characteristics of their family.
Supplies: For each family, fill a bag with craft glue (specified for use with felt); scissors; a 24X36-inch piece of white felt; 8X10-inch pieces of red, blue, green, yellow, and black felt; and a black permanent marker. You’ll also need Olympic-style music.
Advantage: Everyone wins!
The Game: Give each family a supply bag and 20 minutes to create a family banner. Using the felt squares, families must create a design with a specific section for each family member—similar to a family crest. Have family members each tell what they think is the most valuable characteristic of their family. Each family member can draw a picture or write a word to describe their characteristic in their section.
After the banners are made, play Olympic-style music and have families parade around in a circle to display their banners and imitate the Olympics Opening Ceremonies. Award each family member a gold medal for this event.
2. Game: Olympic Hula Hoop Hold-Up
Goal: Each family gets all its family members into a Hula-Hoop plastic hoop and races across the finish line.
Supplies: You’ll need one large Hula Hoop per family.
Advantage: Families with smaller people.
The Game: Designate the starting line and use a long piece of crepe paper to mark the finish line. All families line up behind the starting line and begin at the same time. Have all the people in each family get into their family’s Hula Hoop and race to the finish line. Award medals to the first three families to cross the finish line.
3. Game: Olympic Daddy Piggyback Race
Goal: Dads or the strongest family members race to carry each of their family members across the finish line.
Advantage: Families with younger or fewer children.
The Game: Have all the families line up behind the starting line. The father must carry one of his family members across the finish line with only his feet touching the ground, return for the next family member, and repeat the process until all the family members are across the finish line. Award medals for the first three families to have all their family members across the finish line.
4. Game: Olympic Lumberjack Log Toss
Goal: Families throw logs to achieve the longest combined distance.
Supplies: You’ll need logs cut into a variety of lengths (can be used as firewood for a hot dog roast after the games) and a bandanna for each family.
Advantage: The family with the most family members.
The Game: Have one family complete all their tosses before going on to the next family. Have the first family line up behind the starting line. The first family member selects an appropriate log and tosses it lumberjack style toward the finish line. Family members can build up extra momentum by taking a few steps before the toss, but their feet can’t cross the starting line. Next, the second family member chooses a log and throws his log from the point where the first log landed. Continue until everyone in the family has tossed. Flag the family’s final toss and have the next family compete. Award medals to the three families with the longest distances.
5. Game: 20-Meter Tunnel Olympic Relay
Goal: Family members line up and take turns crawling through each other’s legs in a race to cross the finish line.
Advantage: Families with older children.
The Game: All the families line up behind the starting line and begin at the same time. Have each family face the starting line and line up with family members about 3 feet from one another, stretching from the starting line toward the finish line. The person closest to the starting line crawls under the legs of all the other family members who are standing in line. Once the crawler has reached the end of the tunnel, she must stand up and become part of the tunnel. Then the person closest to the starting line does the same thing. Continue until one standing family member crosses the finish line and the tunneling family member crawls across the finish line. Award medals to the three families who finish first.
6. Game: Greased Pig Pass
Goal: Each family passes a “pig” from one family member to another to achieve the most transfers of the pig.
Supplies: You’ll need a watch with a second hand, cooking oil, water-filled elongated balloons, and a wading pool. Place the balloons in the wading pool and pour the cooking oil over them.
Advantage: Everyone is equally challenged.
The Game: Play this game one family at a time. Give each family 30 seconds to complete as many handoffs as possible. Count successful transfers from one person to the next. If the pig is popped or dropped, that pass is incomplete. Families pick up a new balloon and continue counting. Award medals to the three families with the most transfers.
BONUS: Go For the Gold
To make “Olympic” medals for this event, you’ll need tagboard; scissors; a single-hole punch; a black permanent marker; and gold, silver, and bronze spray paint. For each medal, you’ll need a 1/4-inch strand of ribbon cut in 24-inch lengths.
Cut a 4-inch diameter circle from the tagboard. Use this as a pattern to trace and cut out the circles. You’ll need three circles for each game, and a circle for each family member. Spray paint one circle for each family member gold for the “Banner Bonanza” event. With the remaining circles, spray paint one-third gold, one-third silver, and one-third bronze.
After the paint dries, punch a hole near the top of each medal and tie on a ribbon strand. Use a black permanent marker to write each event name in the center of the appropriate medals.
Heather Ward leads children in creative dance and music workshops in Colorado.
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