The Games in Rio kick off on August 5, to all the usual fanfare, fun, and patriotism. This year, why not get in on the action by planning an informal (low-investment!) neighborhood Olympics? All it takes is a little planning—and a lot of running, playing, and giggling! Here’s how to pull off a gold-medal day that’ll leave the whole crew tired and triumphant.

Host a Neighborhood Olympics!


You can email the neighbors, drop invites in their mailboxes, or even put up flyers (if you’re up for a big, public event!) a week or so ahead to get the word out. Pick a public park or big backyard with enough space for the crew, and have your kids help you sort of which “events” you’ll include, and where they will take place. Carnival classics are easy (and pretty safe for the uncoordinated—unlike, say, the high jump!), so consider relay races, beanbag sprints, tug-o-war, sack races, a neighborhood bike ride, and water balloon games.


You’ll need trophies of some kind, so ask some artsy kids to design ribbons or medals. Get creative: Can shiny bottle caps, quarters, and pennies be the base of your gold, silver, and medal ribbons? Or maybe your little craftsmen can make them from metallic card stock and ribbons or felt. If you really want to go the extra mile, check out this DIY Olympic torch from blogger AlphaMom, made from a paper plate, a toilet paper roll, and tissue paper.


You can have people pick their team assignments out of a hat, or you can ask the crew to line up from tallest to shortest, sending the bookends—tallest and shortest—to one team, the next-tallest and next-shortest to the other, and so on (this helps avoid a scenario where one team happens to get all the brawniest athletes). Colored wristbands, caps, bandanas, or knee socks will help distinguish one team from the other!


Let your amateur athletes go to town, and don’t forget to capture some action shots perfect for you Chatbooks! Your smartphone’s “burst” feature (on an iPhone, you just hold down the shutter button) captures 10 photos per second, so you can review your options and save the one that shows the winning shot, brilliant maneuver, or nail-biting finish that you’ll talk about for years to come. Just remember: You don’t have to wait four more years to do this again!

Host a Neighborhood Olympics!


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