Go for the Gold in Family Fun this Summer!

Go for the Gold - Olympic-Style Games for Families

A few years ago, I had some genetic testing done that uncovered something you might not suspect just by looking at me: I have one copy of the “Olympic Sprinter Gene.”

So as the games of the 31st Olympiad begin this week, I feel a stronger bond with those athletes than ever before, brimming as I am with untapped potential. 🙂


But this week also marks the start of “Family Fun Month.”

You probably thought August was all about getting ready for school, but there’s still plenty of time to make some great summer memories with your family.

Why not stage an Olympic tournament of your own? Go for the gold in the following fun, friendly competitions.

Our family has done this for years. Partly because we love quirky competitions. Partly because we have no TV and therefore miss most of the broadcast games.

Here are a few of our favorite events:

  • Push-up competitions:

    Our kids love these, probably because Dad usually awards some prize to the winner. Grab a stopwatch and see who can do the most pushups (or sit-ups or chin-ups or jumping jacks) in two minutes.

  • Slow bicycle races:

    This is harder than it sounds. If you want to go for the gold in this race, you can’t double back. Your feet must stay on the pedals at all times. And your wheels must keep rolling through the entire race. Ready. Set. Go! The LAST person to cross the finish line wins!

    Go for the Gold in Slow Bike Races...

  • Goldfish stacking:

    While many parents frown upon children who play with their food, that’s not always the case at our house. Our kids often compete to see who can build the tallest tower of snack crackers without toppling the stack. They race to see who can spell their name with carrot sticks or Cheetos the fastest. Or who can create the best heart shape out of a tortilla chip using only their teeth. Or who can balance a spoon on the end of their nose the longest. Note: If you don’t like your kids to play with their food, skip this event.

  • Cherry pit spitting:

    We stand behind a line and see who can propel their pit the farthest. My husband holds the family record with a distance of 39 feet. If there’s a “Long-Winded Gene,” he definitely has it!

    Go for the Gold in Cherry Pit Spitting.

  • Laser maze:

    Using yarn and painter’s tape, we transform our entryway into a crisscrossed labyrinth of strings, wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-floor. We then take turns trying to wiggle, squirm, jump, straddle, and crawl our way through — without touching any of the strings.

    Laser Maze

  • Distance flying:

    After everybody folds the best paper airplane they can, we compete to see whose can fly the farthest or stay airborne the longest.

  • Diving exhibitions:

    Front flips. Back flips. Jack-knifes. Cannonballs. We take turns at the pool and put on a show, capturing the competition on video, which the divers use to further refine their techniques.

I hope these ideas will inspire you to “go for the gold” this summer. Gather your family and give a few a try. Or invent a new contest of your own.

The best part? You won’t need an “Olympic Sprinter Gene” to shine at these events — and the memories you make will be golden.

Resources to help you dig a little deeper:

  • Want to put on your own Summer Games? You’ll find guidelines for dozens of games and contests, templates for printing invitations and awards certificates, Olympic themed coloring pages, and even a decorative pennant banner right here: Family Olympics Print Pack

    Family Olympic Print Pack

  • For more ideas for making fun family memories all year round, check out my book, Get Up & Go:

    Get Up & Go: Fun Ideas for Getting Fit as a Family

  • And for more information on DNA testing, check out 23 & Me:

    23 Pairs of Chromosomes. One Unique You. Get your DNA story at 23andMe.com.

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