Wow — the London Summer Games start this week (here’s a schedule). I grew up watching the Olympics with my parents, catching events when we could depending upon the TV schedule. Now, of course, you can just stream an instant replay whenever you want. Cool!
I find my kids get just as excited over “their” events (gymnastics, swimming) as I do over mine (pretty much everything). Naturally, this got the wheels turning for an Olympics theme party!
Summer Olympic Decor
Print out a huge “Let the X Family 2012 Summer Games Begin!” banner and hang it. Buy inexpensive plates in Olympics colors. You can also order personalized banners with your choice of lettering and a picture.
Lots of banners and streamers will make a great Olympic atmosphere. Hang streamers from the party table and across chairs or benches. If you’re holding your party at a park location, make sure you remove all your streamers when the party is over, and be very careful when hanging from greenery so nothing gets disturbed.
Pick up some shiny copper colored paper from Amazon or Party City and roll it into a cone shape, and tape. Stuff the top with yellow and orange cellophane, crumpled up. Dab the inside edges with glue to keep the cellophane in place. Voila – a cool Olympic torch! This would also make a cool craft for a kid’s party.
Another decor idea is to cut rectangles from card stock and have your child decorate each as a different country’s flag. Here’s a list of participating countries. For any of you don’t know the flags, Google an image and have your child copy it with her mad art skills.
When all the flags are done, use a hole punch to make a hole in the top left corner of each flag. String the flags along yarn. Hang up.
Download the Olympics five ring logo and center it at the top of a text document. Underneath, type:
Calling all competitors!
The (X family’s) 2012 Summer Games are here!
Games commence on (date) at (time) at (address).
Closing ceremonies are at (time).
Bring lots of energy — we can’t wait to see you at our Olympic Games party!
You can add an image of your child’s favorite competitor if you like. Another idea: Photoshop or Gimp your child’s head onto an Olympian’s body!
Olympians need good, wholesome foods to keep going. Serve fruit, raisin boxes, whole wheat crackers with cheese, turkey dogs, and veggies with dip if you think your guests will eat them. (My kids do, if the dip is awesome enough.)
I never advocate soda at children’s parties — you probably know that by now. Instead, serve chilled mini bottles of water. The 4-oz. size is cute and kids love the novelty size. Yes, it’s more expensive that way, generally. But I personally would make the exception this one time.
Juice, even 100% fruit juice, is filled with sugar due to its concentration. But you can still make a healthy version by adding seltzer to juice, putting in fruit pieces and serving “Olympic punch.” We’ve done it and it’s the yum, trust me.
Of course, kids want fun foods too. Dress up open face peanut butter sandwiches with raisins for eyes and a mouth. Serve fruit leather in limited quantities or in take-home bags. Mulitgrain chips can be delicious. Around here we love pita chips with dip, practically any chip snack from Trader Joe’s and the Sun Chips variety box.
You can also make Olympic cookies. Use an oatmeal cookie recipe. Bake per directions and cool completely. Draw the Olympic rings on each cookie with squeezable frosting.
To cool off hot competitors, serve Gogurts. Or freeze your own yogurt pops using any variety of yogurt you’d like. Place ice cream/craft sticks into the yogurt and freeze.
This is a party that really should be held outdoors. If you don’t have the space, find a local park that has plenty of room for your “events.”
Here are a few fun event ideas for your guests:
- Pick up plastic whistles at your local dollar store. For each event, make one guest the coach and have her wear the whistle. She can blow the whistle to begin and end the event and to call “time out.”
- Give each coach a clip board to mark the event score. You only need one clip board for this. Type up a text doc with the events and a space for the first, second and third place winners. Make check boxes for when the events have been completed. Pass the clip board around to the new coach for each event.
- Before the party, make some cool Olympic medals for the winners, or buy some in bulk. Here’s a great tutorial.
- Make your events fun and even silly! Have a competitive crab walk, Frisbee toss at a goal, backward walk race or one-legged walk race. Get some giggles with a cotton ball race: competitors must carry a was of cotton on a spoon without the cotton dropping out or floating away. Other ideas: ring toss around empty drink bottles using cheap plastic rings from the dollar store; a beanbag toss; an egg toss using teams of two.
Gifts, Medals and Awards
Let’s face it: everyone wants to win something. Have a few medals on-hand for guests who haven’t won or placed in an event. “Best Friend at the Party,” “Coolest Party Outfit,” etc. can earn guests a medal to take home.
And be sure to have goody bags. This way, everyone goes home with something. Olympic temporary tattoos and stickers, mini bags of trail mix and small toys, like friendship bracelets, pool toys or squirt guns, are fun summer picks.
Let the games begin!