Originally published on Savvy Auntie.
The London Olympics are now over, but that doesn’t mean the games end for the fun and fit Savvy Auntie. You can encourage the kids to keep moving and stage their very own Playground Summer Games!
In order to kick off the Playground Games, ask nieces and nephews to participate in the Playground Olympic Torch Relay. With some traffic cones, a kickball, and a few household items (e.g., a chair or rope), you can have the kids jumping, skipping, and laughing their way through your very own Torch Relay obstacle course.
Once the course is set, Auntie decides which niece or nephew will be the first Olympic Torch runner – he or she will “light” the torch by overturning one of the traffic cones and setting the kick ball on top. You can decide where the passes will be made, depending on how you set up the course. Remember to create a space for the Playground Olympic Cauldron – like a chair with a plastic bowl on top – for your final runner to “light.” You can add a little culture to this activity by setting up various country flags around the play area and playing some world music during the relay – be sure to play the Olympic theme when the cauldron is being lit! At the end of the day, you can start some interesting conversations about the flags and the countries they represent as well as the music that was played.
1. 3-Point Basketball
Have your nieces and nephews shoot some hoops! Whoever scores the most three-pointers in under one minute wins! The position on the court doesn’t matter, so nieces and nephews can shoot baskets from where they’re most comfortable standing – as long as they’re going for three-pointers. Auntie can decide to give extra points based on style and execution; for instance, if a nephew sinks five or more consecutive shots, he gets bonus points!
2. Frisbee Toss
Nieces and nephews can take turns seeing how far they can toss a Frisbee. The furthest toss wins the gold! The kids can try adding in variations for style (e.g., right-side, up, backhand, or forehand), and Auntie can award points to the most creative toss.
3. Synchronized Jump Rope
Give the kids a chance to work together. In teams of two, nieces and nephews can choreograph their own moves and even set the whole jump-roping event to music! You can set a time limit or give the kids the freedom to decide the performance length for themselves. The medal goes to the team with the most artistic and synchronized moves.
4. Jungle Gym Dash
Set up or map out an obstacle course all around the playground, and have nieces and nephews form teams for the race. You can display flags at one end of the course for the kids to retrieve if you plan to conduct this event in the form of a relay. The first team to the finish line gets the gold!
Nieces and nephews have the opportunity to show off some of their creativity in this event. Points mainly go for style, height, and swing dismount – the more fluid and graceful, the better. Auntie sets the time limit and decides whether to allow for “push-off” swings (in which Auntie helps get the swinging started with a push) or whether to have nieces and nephews start on their own.
Check out these five suggested Playground Events offered by Darell Hammond, Founder and CEO of KaBOOM! – a not-for-profit based in Washington, DC that is dedicated to “saving play by making sure there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.”