For parents of children born in the winter months, it can often be a challenge to come up with an interesting birthday party activity for an active group of six year-olds. But with a little creativity, and if you clear the furniture out of the living room for a day, you can host your own Olympic-themed birthday party for your son or daughter.
In the instructions below, we’ve assumed 11 kids will be invited to the party, for a total of 12. We have divided the kids into four teams of three, and offered six activities (so one team isn’t held up by another). With four teams, you will need to make sure you have at least three other adults to assist you during the party, acting as each “country’s” leader, and to run the events.
Create your own medal-shaped invitations with yellow craft paper or card stock, and some red or blue ribbon.
What you need: Yellow craft paper, X-Acto knife or scissors, 20-inch segments of red or blue ribbon (one segment per invitation), markers.
1. Cut out round circle, about 5-inches in diameter, to allow enough space for text.
2. With an X-Acto knife, or scissors, cut a narrow 1-inch slit near the edge of the circle. Thread ribbon through the slit, and then knot the two ends together, so it resembles a real medal.
3. On the front side of the invitation, invite the guests to the games, using your child’s age as the year. For example, if the child is turning six:
You’re invited to the XI Olympic Winter Games!
On the flip side, write the details of the event:
Opening Ceremony: Date, time.
Hosting Country: Your address and phone number.
“Let the Games Begin!”
Before mailing the invitations, add some pieces of sports equipment-shaped or star-shaped confetti in the envelope for a fun surprise for the recipient.
Break the guests into teams before the day of the event, and give each team a different country name. To be able to distinguish what team each child is on, you will want to pin a printout of the country’s flag to their back, like a race number, or create your own flag shirts, using plain white t-shirts and fabric markers. You will also want to create flags for each team to carry as they parade around to the Olympic theme song during the opening ceremonies. For the flags, print or draw each country’s flag on a piece of cardstock, and then staple it to a 2 or 3-foot wooden dowel.
The party will begin with an opening ceremony, a chance for all the kids to get together and parade around to music, before breaking out into teams. Each team will then rotate through each of six “events,” or stations, where every guest will compete to gain points for their team. You will need to have four stopwatches on hand, one for each team leader.
Balance beam: Run a long strip of duct tape down an 8-foot portion of carpeted hallway, or across a room. Each child be timed as they walk across the “beam.” The three times for each team will be added together; the team with the fastest time wins.
Golf ball on spoon relay: Each team will be timed walking a certain distance (maybe from one side of the room and back, or in a loop through a series of adjacent rooms) while holding a golf ball with a spoon. After one child completes the circuit, s/he will pass off the spoon to the next in a relay format. Again, the team with the fastest time wins.
Basketball toss: Mount an indoor hoop on a door and have each child make three free throws (with a soft ball, to avoid breaking windows). They earn one point for every basket.
Hula hoop competition: Give each child a hoop and count how long they can keep it going. Add the three times together; the team with the longest time wins.
Standing long jump: Stick a 2-foot segment of duct tape to a section of carpet. Have each child stand behind it, then jump as far as they can. Measure the distance with a measuring tape, and then add together the distance each team member jumped. The greatest distance wins.
Putt-putt: Set up a figure-eight course with cones and time each child as they putt a field hockey ball with a field hockey stick around the cones (you can also use a tennis ball and putter if you don’t have a field hockey stick; however, it may easier for young kids to use something bigger than a golf ball). Again, add up the three times for each team; the team with the fastest time wins.
If you have a picky eater, it might be best to serve traditional birthday party fare, like hot dogs, carrot and celery sticks, peanut butter and jelly, and a fruit salad. However, if you have a more adventuresome group of children, add a little international flair to the menu, based on the countries represented by the teams.
For drinks, serve the athletes Gatorade, or make your own thirst-quenching drink with ginger-ale, grape juice, and a splash of coconut water.
Italy: Spaghetti and meatballs
France: Croque monsieurs
Japan: Teriyaki chicken
United States: Mac and cheese
Greece: Lamb burgers
While the children refuel, tally up the scores for each event, naming first, second, and third place winners. Once the children are finished eating, hold an awards ceremony and call up each team by name to award each athlete with a medal (homemade, like the invitations, or purchase real metal medals). Once all the athletes have received a medal, then announce the first, second and third place winners of the events (in the spirit of fair play, where everyone wins).