Bringing back the family Olympics

Column by Esther Macalady
Posted 7/15/20

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”  - Pierre de Coubertin revived Olympics 1894 …

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Bringing back the family Olympics


“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well.”  
- Pierre de Coubertin revived Olympics 1894

Let the games begin! Then have a backyard picnic. Children need to have many opportunities for physical activity. It is important to encourage running around and exercising at least one hour total every day. Vigorous exercise can help children be physically fit when many activities are being cancelled. Physical activity counteracts obesity dangers that make many children at risk for unhappiness and chronic illness. Besides limiting TV and computer game time, families can encourage bicycling, swimming, running, high energy games, and exercise instead. Here are a few backyard Olympic games to start.

Sponge Relays

Cut up kitchen sponges into four lengthwise strips. Lay four different colors side by side and tie tightly together through the middle with dental floss or some other strong string and knot so they will not come apart. They even look like fun.

Use these wet sponge balls for relays and tosses. Children can toss sponges in buckets farther and farther distances. They can toss at each other below the waist.


Can children flick their wrists and send the hula-hoop back to them? How many minutes can children keep the hoop going while putting both hands on the head, hopping, moving right and left, or with the eyes closed?

Hose the Beach ball

Use a hose on the jet setting to move a ball to the finish line. While the hose is out, can children jump over the jet water stream?

Pool noodle javelin

Who can throw a pool noodle the farthest? Measure with one person’s steps. Can someone catch the javelin?

Plastic Egg Race

Run to a spot and back with a plastic egg on a spoon. Can you walk very slowly, run, or go backwards?

Water Balloon Hockey

Gently guide a water balloon to a bucket turned on its side for a goal.  Turn around and bring it back.  How many times can you run the circuit back and forth going faster and faster before the balloon breaks?

Balance Beam

Make a line on the grass with painter’s tape. Walk forward, backward, on tippy toes, do front rolls, hop on one foot.

Throw Over

Gather all the bouncing balls you have and throw them one by one over the roof. How many can be caught?

When you are finished have the picnic food ready, turn on Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” found on YouTube really loud, and all carry out the food with a flourish and celebrate.

Esther Macalady is a retired schoolteacher in Golden. For more see and Through the Seasons.


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