Every four years, the Summer Olympics bursts onto the scene, creating two weeks worth of TV coverage on a variety of channels and Internet websites.
According to NBC, their coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics will encompass over 3,500 hours of viewership (between their group of channels and their website coverage), allowing the world to see all 302 medals be sought after, won and received by their recipients. Instead of just watching randomly through the two weeks, why not host a family party? Not only will this be a great excuse to get your friends together to play, but watching the Olympics themselves will help your kids see how hard work and sportsmanship pay off.
Every party needs a theme; while you can host parties based on specific sports competitions, below are a few ideas of how to get into the Olympic spirit.
• England: Since the Olympics are being held in London this summer, a British themed party would be fun! You can serve famous British fare: fish and chips, bangers and mash, or any array of British puddings. As far as drinks go, regular old beer (or ale, as they say) seems to be the way to go when toasting to Britain. You can decorate the house with British flags and ask your guests to wear their biggest, flashiest hats!
• USA! USA! USA! : Of course, there’s no better time to show your patriotism than when rooting for your home country in the Olympics. You can ask your guests to show up in their reds, whites and blues; and the menu is as easy as pie (literally!). You can serve traditional summer American fare of hamburgers, hotdogs and apple pie. And if you have your Fourth of July decorations saved, setting up is a breeze!
• All countries competing: Instead of narrowing the field to just a country or two, why not represent all the countries competing? You can make this as easy or as detailed as you like, ranging from delicacies from around the world, or simply using snacks (hummus for Greece, salsa and chips for Mexico, or pasta for Italy ). In going this route, you open up the possibilities for fun foods AND competitions. You can even pull names from hats and ask that every family attending represent a different country!
What’s an Olympics themed party without Olympic games? Playing some of the below can keep your guests entertained in between televised events; and, of course, the winners can all be presented with gold, silver or bronze chocolate medals!
• Archery: While I wouldn’t recommend breaking out the traditional sharp tipped bows and arrows, many stores carry suction cup sets that are perfect for family games in the back yard.
• Swim races: If you have a swimming pool in the back yard, holding swim races is a great Olympic event to replicate. For the younger crowd, they can have sprinkler races or baby pool games.
• Bean Bag shot put: A fun family version of the track and field game of shot put, you simply see who can throw the bag the furthest.
• Volleyball: This game is fun for all ages! While the Olympic version only has two players per team, you can make teams as big as you’d like for a more family friendly version of this competition.
• Running races: You can recreate essentially any of the track races that you see on TV, from the 100-meter dash to the relay race. Anyone can participate, and if you want you can separate teams by age range. If you want to make it fun for the younger kids, you can do three legged relays or potato sack races too!
• Table Tennis: Now, if you happen to have a regular tennis court handy, feel free to do this as well. It’s more common for people to have some form of ping pong/table tennis board to act out this event.
What to watch:
While it’s probably impossible to watch ALL of the events in the Olympics, there are a few events that seem to spark everyone’s competitive side.
• Swimming: With Michael Phelps returning, many people will be tuning in to see if he can have a repeat performance of his amazing run in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
• Gymnastics: Between the high-energy tumbling, the agile balance beam tricks, and the graceful floor routines, it’s hard to take your eyes off of the gymnastics competitions. Where your kids are concerned, it’s a great event to show off hard work and focus.
• Soccer: While soccer seems to most be popular amongst children in the USA, its popularity in the rest of the world is unprecedented. The Olympic soccer competition is intense, at the least, and watching our team step up against the world’s best players is always great to watch!
• Basketball: While we already have our professional teams on this one, it’s fun to see an “All-Star” team of American players compete. You also get to see some of your favorite NBA players compete with their home countries!
For more information on the Olympics or to view their schedule (and plan your party), make sure to check out NBC’s website.