Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Indoor Fun Family Olympic Games

While we gear up to watch the Olympics in twelve days, why not have your own "family" Olympics around the house ?   Intersperse these "games" throughout the coming weeks to get the family up and moving between events, help your kids with their math skills, and just raise the spirit of the games to a whole new level amongst family members.

By allowing the kids to help with tallying the score, they get practice with adding and counting.  If you want to make this a part of the experience I recommend keeping a small chalkboard or dry erase board - or tablet and pen with the remote.  Do the adding nice and slow together. 


To every one's physical benefit, these activities will keep you and the kids moving moderately while still being engaged in Olympics coverage and create a few laughs too.  In order to keep the spirit of sportsmanship the fore running experience, have the whole family compete against itself by just trying to see how many points you can earn over the course of one evening of coverage as a family.  All of these games have a way to earn points toward the family running total.  Then, the next time you are watching, see if you can beat your previous night's score.

  1. Family Room Half Pipe:  Which family member can tag opposite walls in the room the largest number of times during a commercial?  Go one at a time and give the adults obstacles to weave between to slow them down a little and even out the contest (winner gives his/her number of tags as the point value for the contest to the running family total).
  2. The Contest of the Cranes: Who can stand on one leg the longest? Just stand up and hold one leg up high.  Use your timer and whoever is left in crane stance the longest gets to give their points to the family total (one point to the family for every ten seconds the winner was able to stand one legged)
  3. The Wiggle Worm: Who can continue to make the silliest movements and faces? Whole family votes on who was silliest simply by laughing at the competitor.  The number of commercials that play while the family continues sustained laughter is the number of points the family earns.  Take turns until everyone has had a chance to keep the laughter flowing. 
  4. The Crab Walk: With Tummy toward the ceiling and hands and feet on the ground as your "legs", crab crawl down the hall, or do laps around the dining table.  Move around the table or up and down the hallway sideways.  The family member that can make no part of his or her body touch the ground except hands and feet for an entire commercial while moving non stop earns the family points for the number of "laps" he or she completed.
  5. Egg and Spoon Relay:  Get out those plastic Easter eggs from Easter and fill the smaller end with a few coins or marbles (something to add a little weight).  Each family member gets a spoon.  Try to move as many eggs from one end of the house to the other in a relay fashion passing the eggs from spoon to spoon without ever touching the eggs with anything other than your spoons.  Time is up when the commercials are over.  The number of eggs you move without them splitting open and spilling their contents is the number of points the family gets toward their running total.
  6. Balloon Bounce:  (singles version) Blow up a balloon for each family member (two or more for those who need an extra challenge) and see who can keep their balloon in the air the longest.  This will be challenging for little ones with only one balloon, but if older kids have to keep two or more balloons in the air it increases the challenge (and evens the odds a bit).  The minute a balloon hits the floor that person is out. The last one standing gets to give their number of bounces as points for the family total. 
    Or do the whole family team version (particularly good for young families that have children still learning to count).  For this, everyone works together to keep the same balloons from hitting the floor.   The family score is the number of bounces you count together. 
  7. And he Wins by a Nose!:  Roll a ball such as a tennis ball, soft ball, or other ball of a moderately small size across the room only using your nose to make the ball move.  How many "laps" can each person do in the span of one commercial?  The one with the most laps in a single commercial gets to contribute their lap number as points toward the running family total.
  8. Mushroom Heads: balance the couch cushions on your heads.  Whoever keeps a cushion on their head (without touching it with hands) for the longest time while walking around the room gets to contribute the number of commercials for which the cushion was balanced on his or her head to the family's running total score.
  9. Card Toss:  Get out your biggest mixing bowl and give everyone a different set of cards.  The youngest kids get to be closer to the bowl than the older ones, but spread out around the bowl fairly evenly otherwise.  At the beginning of a commercial toss the cards one by one into the bowl for the duration of the commercial.  If every one's decks are different you can still determine an individual "winner" if you wish, or just apply the total number of cards to the family point total.
  10. Sock Ball Toss:  Get a few baseball caps out and use these as "catchers". See how many times  you can toss a sock ball (two rolled up socks) from one family member to the next without the ball hitting the ground in the span of only one commercial.  If the sock ball hits the ground start over at zero again.  At the end of the commercial the number of catches gets added to the family score.
For more ideas for zany games you can do at home go to Minute to Win It.  Good Luck and Go for the Gold!  For a schedule of Olympics coverage,

These activities can really be done while watching any event real-time on TV (Oscars Night would work too for example).  Anytime you have something you want to watch but won't be able to fast forward through the commercials, this is a great way to shake things up and keep it interesting.
With a stop-watch in hand you can also adapt these activities for any rainy day when you just need a little movement.  Skip the part where you use a commercial and simply set your stop watch for 30-40 seconds or longer if you wish for each game you play.  Just be sure you use a consistent time to keep things "fair".


eddiescott said...

This sounds cool. My brother and I used to play a game called sock baseball during Dodgers games. During commercials, we would take rolled up socks and a kids souvenir bat and play pitcher/batter. It was loads of fun, however our mom wondered why some of our socks were all stretched out :)

I think the sock toss should be a good time (no surprise there). My daughter has pretty nice aiming skills, so she might give me a run for my money. All of us should be challenged by the halfpike. It is not even skilled like those events the boarders and bikers do, but it will at least leave us feeling more than patriotism!

Balance is Best said...

Sounds like fun and a mother's nightmare all at the same time. :-)

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