Celebrate the Olympics—Backyard Style!

Have you bought all your red, white, and blue gear? Have you practiced your U-S-A cheer? Have you planned out your viewing schedule, making sure you know when all your favorite sports will be on TV?

Here at United Way we are getting pretty excited for the 2016 Olympic Games, but we want to do more than just cheer on Team USA—we want to be part of the games! Get off the couch and away from the TV while still enjoying the spirit of the games by hosting your own Backyard Olympics!

Check out these easy, affordable suggestions to create your own sports. Play against the whole family, or invite some friends and neighbors over for a bigger competition.

Set Up

There are a few things the Olympics wouldn’t be complete without—Torch Lighting and Medal Ceremonies. Invest in a Tiki Torch and light it to kick off your competition! Make sure you have enough medals for each event, as well as a scoreboard to keep track of the overall winners!

Track & Field

Use pool noodles and ground stakes to create hurdles. Make sure they get higher and higher to increase the challenge. Line them up and race through! Who can jump over the hurdles fastest?


Cut large circles out of foam board or cardboard boxes and paint them to look like targets. Line them up at different distances around the yard. Get out those water guns and see who can hit the furthest target!


Use two buckets and a wooden plank leftover from your latest renovation project to create a balance beam. Depending on the age of your competitors, see who can walk across the fastest without losing their balance. Or, if your kids are older, compete for who can do the coolest tricks!


You don’t need a pool to hold a swimming event for your backyard Olympics! Set out a large tarp on a flat part of your yard. Spray it down with the hose and add dish soap for extra slipperiness. Divide into teams and slip around on your bellies back and forth, just like they do during the relays!

From your own backyard Olympics to those happening down in Rio, 2016 is sure to be a year of exciting competition, impressive athletic accomplishments, and plenty of Gold Medals!