Okay, be ready for some fun. While the USA team arrives in Rio, you and your kiddos can go for the gold right here at home.
With most non-school summer school folders they are full of projects – this folder is full of activities that will get kids moving and shaking all the way to the medal podium. I scattered in a few craft projects for quiet time, but overall, active, heart-pumping, fun through kid-friendly Olympic style games fill this weeks non-school summer school days.
Everything started with a note of encouragement that created excitement even the hubby couldn’t hide. In order to award medals, there had to be medals to award, so project number one was medal making.
Project 1: Making Medals
Use craft paper, markers, glue, and yarn to create your gold, silver and bronze medals. Set them aside to dry while you host your opening ceremonies and participate in your first events.
Once you have your medals drying, it is time to go over rules and explain the games. I left game instructions for the judge in their folders. You can use these olympic event ideas or look up other minute-to-win-it family fun night games that fit your theme. A simple Pinterest search will give you tons of options. I chose these three because I had the materials, they were on theme, and they could be adapted for my two and five year old.
Game 1: Balance Beam
You will need a 2×4 and some bricks. I actually used two bowls, but anything will work as long as the items are the same height. Please do not try to fit these materials into the folder. Ha! A supply corner was necessary for this weeks activities.
Without falling off, have your older kids plan a routine with a spin or a jump before their anticipated dismount. Smaller kids can simply walk across balancing themselves and even they can give a big jump dismount that will please the judges.
The littles may still find this challenging. When my two year old experienced some difficulty we practiced our teamwork skills. My five year old stepped up as the best teammate and brother and offered a hand – both were awarded gold medals for their efforts and teamwork.
Game 2: Long Jump
The fun didn’t stop with our dismounts. In fact, the balance beam just pumped everyone up for the next challenge. I anticipated one event a day, but after they got started, they wanted to try each event. The long jump is very simple and could be completed with no materials at all, however, we used sidewalk chalk to draw our runway, jump line, and pit. Have kids run as fast as they can, jump off their dominate foot, and land with both feet together. Measure from the back of their foot. There was a determined spirit in the air for this event. Graham ran through the pit, down the sidewalk, up the hill, and . . . well, he must have thought he was running the mens 100m. When we tried to get him to jump, he started break dancing. We used this as a great example of how not everyone has the same skills and that we need to appreciate our own talents and those of others. Everyone deserves a cheering squad whether they run through the pit or stick a gold medal long jump landing!
Rowan took to the air and earned himself another gold for best overall jump. I’m told he invited friends to jump later in the afternoon and the neighborhood kids all took their shot at a gold medal.
Game 3: Balloon Tennis
Our next, and last, event will not be found in Rio, but it should be. We watched a bit of table tennis and badminton from the 2012 Summer Games and decided balloon tennis was even more difficult. Maybe they will add it as a game in the next summer games? It requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination and the element of surprise makes strategy difficult. Then there is the fact that Graham loves balloons and just wanted to kick it around, throw it in the air, sit on it, and place it in his mouth and run around the house.
To begin, take two paper plates and glue them together. Use tape to adhere the craft stick as the handle. Make your court with masking or painters tape and construction cones, blow up your balloons, and try to hit it back and forth without it touching the ground on your side.
Once the games had ended, we shook hands and congratulated our athletes. As the boys hydrated, Daddy set up the podiums and loaded the bubble guns for the closing ceremonies. An earlier project helped us decorate for the closing ceremony. We couldn’t afford to bring in a pop star to perform, but, we sang and danced a little to Justin Timberlake’s new song, Can’t Fight the Feeling then played the National Anthem while proudly awarding our homemade medals to our Olympians.
Just like Rio, we encountered some problems. No, our drinking water is clean and we have a few mosquito bites, but no Zika outbreaks. Our problems were in maintenance of our bubble machines. You see, they were not tested prior to closing ceremonies. A rookie mistake. Guess whose gun malfunctioned?
Thankfully, the spirit of teamwork was in the air and sharing came without begging – it was, dare I say it, easy. Moments later we captured both Olympians with a smile.
They had a blast and are very excited about the USA teams and cheering them on as they participate in their Olympic events and go for the gold. I have to admit, I was excited for the games to begin before pulling these folders together – after, I wished I had planned a few more games so the fun could continue in our house as we watch the games from afar. Go USA!