You don’t need to be an avid Olympics enthusiast to have a great time with these simple winter backyard games. Aside from being fun, a backyard Olympic Games session will give your kids a good workout and a chance to practice gross motor skills, balance and eye-hand coordination. Plus, you’re all getting fresh air and playing outside!
We currently have snow but these events can be tweaked for those of you who don’t. Half the fun was just coming up with the events – maybe you can come up with some of your own as well?
Let the Games begin!
1. Snowball Shooting
Decide on a number of snowballs that each of you will shoot and start rolling. If the snow is not wet enough, just grab clumps of snow and break them up in smaller pieces. Then have your child pick out a tree or another suitable target and take turns firing away.
2. 100m Snow
This one is pretty obvious, just decide where to race and measure 100 meters. Running in the snow is hard work but, oh so much fun!
3. Balance Beam
A round log and a flat piece of wood is all you need for this event. Put the board on top of the log, then try to stand up and balance on the board as long as possible. Figuring out a good technique that will help you find your center of balance takes both problem-solving skills and some time but the Big Naturalist was certainly up for the challenge. This event seriously kept her mesmerized for half an hour. The result? The Big Naturalist – 11 seconds. Me – 0 (my boots were really slick but she didn’t buy that excuse). For younger kids, you may want to try to find an object that is easier to balance on, like a fallen log.
4. Snow Jump
Like long jump but with snow. Just make sure the ground underneath the snow is not icy, since that could make for some bad (and painful) landings. Don’t ask how I know this.
5. Sled Race
Add some excitement to your normal sledding routine by using a timer to see who can go down the fastest. Or, as a variation, see who can go the farthest. No sled? No problem. Try making one from a cardboard box.
Bonus event: The winter Olympics are full of obscure sports that involve going down a hill. See how many you and your kids can come up with. Try rolling, skipping, scooting, running etc. Or have a snow shovel race, like the kids at How Wee Learn!
Think it’s too cold? No motivation? Check out Yes, kids CAN play outside when it’s cold for some handy tips on how to stay warm and have fun outside in the winter. For more Olympic Games inspiration, hop on over to Active Kids Active Family and read about Five Ways to Enjoy the Olympics as a Family. Does anybody in the family have a birthday coming up? Why not make it an Olympics-themed one, like John at moosefish did for his son?
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