The 2016 Olympics Games are underway. Most of us will not have the opportunity to travel to Brazil for the thrill of the Games; but we can watch via television and cheer on our Canadian Olympians. As you anticipate watching your favorite sports why not organize a neighborhood competition of your own? There are plenty of fun events you could host for your family and friends. Check out the listing below and pick out the ones you think you will try this summer.
Water Cup Racing
What’s better during the hot summer months than some good old water games? This one is patterned after the biathlon. Although a Winter Olympic sport, we have changed this up to be a summer thrill. In this version the competitors will be running a short distance and then grabbing a water gun. The target will be a plastic cup with a hole poked in the bottom and threaded onto a string. The string is then tied between two objects such as close line poles. The objective is to use the water gun to move the plastic cup from one end of the string to the other. This game is fun for kids and adults alike.
Not everyone is a runner; in fact some might think distance running is boring. However, our Canadian athletes love to run, whether long distance or short sprints. There are many running events during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games; make sure to tune in to some of the running events as our athletes run for gold.
In our version of running we are going to pattern it after the Mud Run. Hopefully you won’t get as muddy as the runners in Canada’s Mud Run – Canada’s Dirtiest Trail Run; but you will have fun. The set up for this race will be best in your garden, an empty patch that is not actively growing something. Till up the dirt to loosen it up. Spray it down with water to get it good and damp. Divide the group into two teams to work as a relay. Place a large empty bucket on one end. The teams will start on the end opposite the bucket. The object is to run carrying a cup of water and dump it in the bucket and return. The next player in line will do the same. Keep repeating until one team’s bucket is full. Water will obviously slosh out of the cups and make the ground even muddier. End the game by hosing each other’s feet off. This will definitely transform your nice quiet backyard into a fun running track; or should we say muddy track.
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Next up is our fantastic Canadian swimmers; we have a large team this year and let us cheer them on to victory in Brazil. Back home you may not have a swimming pool at your disposal, so a Slip’n slide may be the type of water fun for you. Slip’n Slides may be available for purchase at your local sporting goods store. A word of caution, only use equipment meant for children with children only and not adults. If there are adults in your group you can easily make a water slide for the whole family.
Probably the easiest way to make your water slide is to find a sloping spot in your yard. A hill may be too fast, but a nice slope should work well. Take a large roll of heavy plastic and roll it out. Tack it down to the ground using garden staples. Cover the staples with a sturdy piece of duct tape for avoid injuries. Turn the hose on and let it run down the plastic. Start sliding! For a cushion at the end, add an inflatable pool fill with water; this should slow down the ending and give you a soft landing. To set it up as a competition, use a stop watch and see who can get to the end the fastest.
Water Balloon Fight
With boxing in the lineup at the 2016 Olympic Games, our Canadian boxers, Mandy Bujold, Ariane Fortin and Arthur Biyarslanov, are sure to put on a great fight as they go for some medal action. Cheer them on by setting up a fight of your own – a water balloon fight. This activity is fun for the whole family. See who can get the wettest. This set up is easy. All you need are a couple of packages of water balloons and water. As you fill them with water and tie them off put them in a large tub for easy transport to your backyard playing field. Set some boundaries so the competitors can’t get out of the “ring”. Divide up into teams or play as individuals.
This sport is perfect for your whole neighborhood. Host a backyard barbecue and then divide into teams; maybe guys vs. gals. Don’t forget to watch the Olympic Beach Volleyball teams as they go for the gold. Cheer on the men’s teams comprised of Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk; and Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter. Don’t forget the women’s team as they battle for a spot on the podium: Heather Bansley and Sarah Pavan; and Jamie Broder, Kristina Valjas. If you have watched beach volleyball before you know some of the moves are fantastic and there is a lot of excitement on the sand court. Challenge yourself and your friends to try some of the spectacular moves and techniques to improve your game of backyard volleyball.
Recycled Bottle Bowling
Another fun game is bowling. Bowling is not an Olympic sport; however curling is part of the Winter Olympics. Curling uses a similar action; instead of sliding a rock at the target, you are rolling a ball toward some pins. To play this game collect ten recycled bottles; you can use the 2 liter bottles for smaller kids and 1 liter bottles for older kids and adults. Your paved driveway or sidewalk will make a great surface for this game. Determine the length you want and set up the “pins” at one end in the typical bowling shape; 10 pins in a triangular pattern in 4 rows; 1, 2, 3, 4. The teams go to the opposite end and roll a ball toward the pins. You can determine the scoring based on your group.
Canada has athletes competing in the pentathlon and the triathlon. Donna Vakalis and Melanie McCann are representing Canada in the pentathlon; be sure to watch as they compete in five events and go for gold. Amelie Kretz, Andrew Yorke, Kirsten Sweetland, Sarah-Anne Brault, and Tyler Mislawchuk make up Canada’s triathlon team. Watch as they bike, swim and run for a great finish.
To model after our Canadian athletes you can set up your pentathlon. This is five events or stations. You must complete one before advancing to the next. Develop clues based on your family, backyard and neighborhood. It could be something such as run around the big tree three times and look for the next clue near the tree trunk. The next clue or instruction might be to skip to the back door; there they would find the next clue. In keeping with our Olympic theme, each task might include physical exercises such as running, squats, jumping or pushups. At the last station have a hidden prize the contestants must search for. This game is flexible as you can make this as easy or difficult as necessary to fit the skills of your group.
Michelle Li and Martin Giuffre will be leading the Canadian team in badminton. Make sure to catch one of the matches on television. While watching the match plan your own backyard badminton tournament. Invite your friends over for a backyard cookout and a friendly badminton match. Set it up as a single or double elimination. Play singles or doubles or both. Have some simple, inexpensive prizes to give to the winners. This is a perfect event for a summer evening.
So there you have it; a wonderful lineup of summer activities to play along with the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. You never know, you may have an up and coming athlete right in your midst. Maybe you have some thoughts and ideas for other backyard games or variations of the games listed here. We’d love to hear from you.