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Bring the fun of the Olympic games to your backyard

Olympic themed birthday party

Can’t make it to London this summer? Celebrate the Olympics alongisde your rookie-athlete’s birthday by turning your backyard into an epic Olympic village. Look no further than your shed for the fixins – these summer games inspired activities are quick and easy to assemble. Now sit back and watch that pack of athletes conquer the backyard.


Welcome each kid at an “athelete registration booth” where they will get a numbered pinny safety-pinned to their shirt. Then have a warm up session – explain the games they’ll be competing in, do a few jumping jacks, stretches, and throw back a shot of Gatorade. Blast the official song of the Summer 2012 Olympics as the athletes set off to the games.


Tree targets

Hang some weighted paper plates (tape some pennies onto the back) from tree branches at different levels with kitchen string. Paint a bull’s eye (or print your own target template from familyfun.com) onto each plate. Have athletes throw cardstock paper airplanes to see if they can hit the targets. The person with the most hits wins.

Frisbee Discus

Have the thrower stand inside a hula hoop or designated circle (Olympic rules say it has to be a diameter of 2.5 metres, but small atheletes will probably be ok with a smaller area). Their feet can’t touch the rim. The person with the furthest throw wins!

Pass-the-torch hot potato

Athletes gather in a circle and pass an Olympic torch (a paper towel roll stuffed with red and yellow tissue paper flames) to each other while music plays (We Are the Champions, Eye of the Tiger) the player who is holding the torch while the music stops is out. Play until only one player is left.

Hula hoop hurdles

Turn dollar store hula hoops into hurdles! Cut each hoop in half and stick the ends into your lawn (you might need to burrow a small hole first with a stick or knife). Set up a few in a couple feet apart from each other. Have athletes jump over the hurdles and see if they can get to the end of the “course” without hitting the hoop. If you don’t want to mess up your lawn, lay them on the grass so kids can jump through them like tires.

Volleyball hover

Using balloons of the Olympic colours, have athletes compete in teams or one against one to keep the balloon up longest. If their balloon touches the floor or if the athlete holds onto it, they’re out. It’ll be more challenging if you add more balloons, or if it’s windy out.


All that competition will work up a serious appetite. Let athletes refuel with eats as festive as they are tasty.

Torch treats

Make bite sized snacks triumphant enough for a gold medalist by putting them into construction paper cones like the Olympic torch. Simply cut out a circle of yellow paper, cut a slit down the middle, then fold into a cone shape and tape it shut. Fill with firey coloured treats like Cheetos, buttered popcorn, cheese and crackers, or fuzzy peaches. Line cones with red or orange tissue paper into the cone before filling for big flames.

Rolo Medals

Unwrap Rolos and re-wrap with gold foil, tin foil, or leave bare for gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Olympic Ring Dip Bowls

Hollow out round loaves of bread and fill with dip for veggies and place in the formation of the Olympics rings.

Torch Cone-Cakes

To make torch cone-cakes, prepare a cake mix as directed on the package and pour evenly into flat bottomed ice cream cones. Fill each about half full. Bake 20 – 30 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely. Spread the tops with frosting and cover in flame coloured sprinkles. For some more dramatic flames, stick some spiky peach slices on top! They’ll look sizzling on a platter with a candle in each one.


After the games and refueling commence, cap off the party with a medal ceremony. Tally up each athelete’s score and give out medals to the winners, or you can make everyone can a winner, if you want. Check out alphamom‘s foil wrapped cookie medal idea for an easy DIY medal. Photo op: get each kid to standing on a table cloth covered stepping stool of a different height wearing their medal.

Photos by bcgovphotosquiltsaladvastateparksstaffmookieluvthe realjonesnowlovefromtheoven via Flickr. 

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