Some days, what our family really needs is a good distraction from the news. With weekend days wide open and normal activities canceled, now is the perfect time to host your own at-home family “Olympics.”
You can make this family indoor activity as simple or complex as you want. Break out the craft supplies to make paper torches and medals, spend some time learning about different countries to “represent” in the games, divide family members into teams and get started with as many of the games below that sound doable and fun for your crew. You might even support local businesses by getting some international takeout for a victory feast at the end of the day.
Don’t feel limited to the usual games either. Throw in some intellectual rather than physical games if you want and make sure to include something every member of the family is good at.
Let the games begin with these 20 game ideas for an “At-Home Olympics”
1. Find countries on a map
Challenge your kids’ geography skills as one team tries to stump the other with finding different countries on a map.
2. Race to tie your shoes
Choose a skill your child has been working on and turn it into a game—for example, have a race to see who can tie their shoes the fastest or who can pump the highest on a swing in 30 seconds. Any simple skill can be turned into a game!
3. Spelling bee
Have an Olympics-themed spelling bee as part of the games, with words like badminton, archery, equestrian, gymnastics, anthem, compete and representative.
4. Clean up race
Set up a race to see who can clean their room the fastest or who can pick up a bucket of dumped Legos in the shortest time.
5. Name that country
Find some fun facts about different nations and cultures and quiz each other.
6. Throwing competition
Choose a ball or a frisbee and see who can throw the farthest.
Alternatively, play a competitive game of catch, where whichever team keeps the ball from hitting the ground the longest wins.
7. Cartwheel contest
Make sure to include some sports where your kid probably has the advantage, like a cartwheel contest. See how many cartwheels you can do in a row or set up some subjective judging like in the real Olympics.
Have a little gymnast on your hands? Include somersaults and balance beam “routines,” or encourage them to come up with their own floor routine to music.
Basketball can be an indoor or outdoor sport if you have a little hoop and a ball.
Don’t have a basketball set? All you really need is a bucket (or laundry basket for the little kids) and a ball. See who can make 10 baskets the fastest or compete to see who can make the most shots in 2 minutes.
Three-legged races, pillowcase races, jumping races, galloping races—mix it up and include as many as you like!
10. Long jump
Practice jumping as far as you can, marking where each person lands.
11. Paper plane throwing contest
Each team creates a paper airplane and then throws them to see whose goes the furthest.
12. Tug of war
You know the rules for this one! Make sure an adult on each team stands at the back, which minimizes the chance of kids slipping and falling.
13. Stacking contest
Who can stack the highest? Use blocks, rocks, whatever you have on hand.
14. Water bucket relay
You can’t have the summer Olympics without some water sports!
Fill a few buckets with water and place them at one end of the yard. One member of your team stands by the buckets and the other stands across the yard. Race to see how quickly you can transport all of the buckets.
15. Hula hooping contest
Try to get this one on video if you can as it’s sure to get silly. See who can hula hoop the longest. Consider adding style points for fun tricks!
16. Sailboat racing
Use a water table, blow up pool, or bathtub for an at-home sailboat race. Talk about what materials float and what holds up in the water and let your kids lead the way in designing a sailboat. See which one crosses the water the fastest or which one stays afloat the longest.
17. Jump rope contest
Who can jump rope the longest? Who can jump rope backward the longest? This is a fun and super simple “event” for an at-home Olympics.
18. Cycling race
Race balance bikes, tricycles or bikes around the perimeter of the backyard. Want to give your kids a leg up in the race? Try riding one of their little bikes instead of your own—it’s harder than it looks!
No soccer goal at home? Not a problem!
If you don’t have a real goal, use some chalk to mark off a big rectangle on the fence in your yard. Play an actual game of soccer or have a goal-kicking contest depending on the age and skill level of your kids.
20. Balance challenge
See who can walk the farthest with a book or beanbag balanced on their head. Who can walk the fastest balancing a ball on a spoon? Who wins a race hopping on one foot? There are so many fun (and funny) ways to compete on balance!
No matter what sports you choose to include, hosting an at-home family Olympics is the perfect way to turn a day at home into something your kids are likely to remember forever. It’s also an excellent chance to work on skills like teamwork and good sportsmanship.
Take pictures of the day and make a scrapbook. It just might become a repeat event in your family!