Family traditions are important for building strong family bonds and unity.
In order to build strong family bonds and unity in an active way, our family started an annual Family Olympics.
Every year, our family participates in several simple challenges and activities. We try to choose events encouraging individual competition so everyone can set personal records. We are all at different skill levels and try to avoid focusing on beating each other. We enjoy this activity with our family, but have also considered using the idea during family reunions or including friends in some of the challenges.
Planning the Event
We prepare for the Family Olympics during a family home evening. Everyone offers ideas for activities the family will compete in. This tradition can be adapted for every age and skill level. We try to pick different activities where everyone has an opportunity to excel.
Some of our competition ideas include.
- How fast can I run a lap? You can use a nearby track or make up your own course in your yard or around your neighborhood.
- How high can I jump? Stand next to a wall and jump with both feet at the same time to reach as high as you can on the wall. You can even give each person a piece of masking tape to “slap” on the wall to mark their jump.
- How far can I jump? Extend a tape measure on the ground. Use a stick or line to mark the starting point. Standing behind the line, jump with both feet together as far as you can without falling or taking a step. Measure to the heel closest to the starting line.
- How many times can I jump rope in a row? There are lots of options, but we use double-dutch ropes. We give each person 3 tries, but if they make it past 50 on any of the tries it counts as their official score and their turn is over.
- How fast can I eat 6 saltines crackers? Most people cannot eat 6 saltines crackers in one minute because the cracker dries up the saliva in your mouth. You cannot use any drinks or fluids to wash down the crackers or pre-soak them. Time how long it takes to eat 6 crackers. Add a twist by seeing how long it takes to eat 6 saltines crackers and then whistle.
- How far can I throw a paper airplane? Give everyone 10-15 minutes to create 3 paper airplanes. Identify the launch point, launching direction, and any out of bounds areas. Consider using a balcony, deck, or hillside. This could be done inside or outside depending on the weather.
- How many free throws can I make on a basketball court? Shoot 10 free throws in a row and count how many you actually make.
The Family Olympics is an opportunity to challenge our abilities. The event can take less than an hour or could be spread out over the entire day. Depending on the amount of time available, you could include fun family games and a BBQ. We usually compete in our Family Olympics once a year in the fall, but it could done more often.
Keep track of everyone’s performance.
We record the scores for each event so everyone can compete against their personal records in future Family Olympics. One idea is to use a small dry erase board to list previous records and then write down the new scores so everyone can see their performance.
Have an awards ceremony.
At the end of the competition, have your own awards ceremony. Gathering around a campfire is a fun way to celebrate your accomplishments. Everyone should win a prize and be recognized for their accomplishments. Candy bars are a simple and fun reward, but more creative ideas include repurposing old trophies or medals. You could also create your own awards out of cardboard or Legos.
This fun family tradition will get your family active together. It is an opportunity to learn how to cheer on our brothers and sisters and build strong family bonds. Be sure to share your ideas for Family Olympic events in the comments.