The Rio Olympics are in full swing and an Olympic Games party is a fun way to bring family and friends together to get behind the excitement of the Games.
My daughter Anika had a Olympic themed 7th birthday party this past spring...I guess it was a matter of time with both her parents being Olympians. It's become a tradition for Anika and me to plan and prepare her birthday parties together; I found that when she's involved in providing input, problem solving, and putting the work into the preparations, her excitement shifts 360 from it being all about her day, to wanting to share a fun experience with her friends.
(pic: Anika and I stenciled and painted wood discs for the medals)
In planning Anika's party, I quickly realize it was also such a great opportunity to discuss the real meaning behind the Olympic Games knowing the kids would be watching this summer.
- Pic 1: Torch relay (unity)
- Pic 2: Modified Olympic Oath (respecting self and others)
- Pic 3: Games and Competitions (trying your best even when it is challenging)
- Pic 4: Medal Ceremony (celebrating each individual)
More on the discussions around the Games in my blog "Two Views of the Olympic Games, Olympian and Parent"
In searching for ideas for the Olympic themed party I noticed there were a lot of fantastic ideas on Pinterest, but most of them were geared towards providing the "typical" kids party experience: junk food, sugary drinks, cheap dollar store plastic decorations and party gifts.
There were some, but not many, that tried to create an experience of being an Olympic athlete, such as:
- Being active
- Having fun challenging ourselves in a safe environment
- Using competition to try to improve on your own personal bests
- Working for things instead of expecting quick payoffs
- Re-fueling our bodies for energy to be able to focus and recover
Pic: Olympic DIY Snack Stadium or the "refuelling station": Left Column: Veggies in the 5 Olympic ring colours: blue corn (chips), black olives, red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, green sugar snack peas. Right Column: Fruit in the 5 Olympic ring colours: blueberries, blackberries, red cherries, yellow pineapple, green apple. Pepperoni sticks (track), Babybel cheese medals (numbers carved in wax), sandwiches, crackers, popcorn.
* Note: notice there's no pop or juice? Kids were perfectly happy to rehydrate with water and/or water with lemon, mint and frozen raspberries.
- warm up run around the block (torch relay)
- shot put competition with 400g weighted ball
- slackline balancing challenge
- soccer game (nets close in, short game)
- shuttle relay (pass baton/stick back and forth on teams). Variations: hopping with balloon in between knees, running, running over low hurdles (pic)
Other Olympic Themed Ideas:
- Craft: they made their own competition bibs with fabric paint, cups (stamp circles of Olympic rings), and material cut from old pillowcase
- Colouring pages: printed off Olympic-themed colouring pages
We started the party with the lighting of the torch in the backyard fire pit, and we ended the celebration with torch cupcakes to symbolize extinguishing of the torch and the end of the Games!
It was amazing to watch all the kids fully embrace the idea of an Olympic themed party. They were able experience a taste of what it would be like to be an Olympian. They all seemed proud with their efforts of the day, including eating from all of the colours of the Olympic rings to grow stronger, faster, and higher!
Posted by Jessica Zelinka on August 13th, 2016