Family Olympic Games

I hope you enjoyed my post sharing all the shenanigans of my family’s Olympic Games weekend. If you’re looking for more details on the games so you can play them too, this post is for you! Today I’m sharing some coordination tips and how to play this years’ games and some of our favorite Family Olympic games from past years too.

While my family is wonderful, it can be hard to get their attention and even harder to keep it. For my group, I’ve learned they like relay games best and their attention span lasts for about 3 games. (Especially when there’s copious amounts of beer involved!)

Through trial and error, I’ve determined 4-5 person teams are the ideal size. We’ve tried as few as 2 and as many as 6-7. Teams are drawn at random. I buy a different color fabric for each team, not a lot is needed, ¼ yd per color, and cut it into strips. I throw all the strips into a bag and have each person grab one without looking. Bonus: everyone loves wearing the fabric strips. They tie them around their heads, arms, ankles – you name it – showing team pride.

The first year I attempted to play myself, while also trying to instruct and regulate. I learned (to the detriment of my partner that year), it’s best for me to run the games and not actually play. This also allows me to take pictures.


Now, what you came here for…


The Games

Water Balloon Volleyball – It’s just like it sounds, playing volleyball with a water balloon. I’ve seen this done a few different ways on the internet, we adapted it to what worked best for us.

  • Supplies:
    • Water balloons (we used 9 inch balloons but only filled them about half way)
    • Towels (1 per 2 players)
    • Volleyball net
  • Set Up: Fill water balloons, we used about 10. Split up into 2 team, grab a partner and a towel.
  • Rules: Put the balloon into a couple’s towel and they launch it over the net. Other team tries to catch it using their towel and launch it back across the net. When a balloon isn’t caught (and busts in a wet explosion!) the other team gets a point. Play until all the balloons are gone. Team with the most points wins!

Extreme Tic-Tac-Toe – This one’s all over the internet right now. You’re simply racing to get tic-tac-toe.

  • Supplies:
    • 6 rags or bandanas (3 rags of 2 different colors)
    • Tape (I used painter’s tape)
  • Set Up: Create a tic-tac-toe grid on the ground
  • Rules: The 2 teams line up across the yard, maybe 20 feet from the tic-tac-toe board. The first 3 players on each team have a rag in hand. On “GO!” the first player for both teams race to the tic-tac-toe board and drops their rag into a spot, races back and tags the next team member, they do the same. If you need the fourth player to go, they will pick up and move a previously dropped rag. The game continues until 1 team gets tic-tac-toe.

Dress Up – This is my favorite game we’ve done yet! There’s a box per team with dress up items inside. They have to race putting on and talking off the items in the box. The first team fully dressed in all the items wins.

  • Supplies:
    • Various dress up items – you want 2 items more than the number of players on each team – ex. If you have 4 players, you want 6 items in each box. I included things worn, carried and some sort of shoe. I also tried to get larger sizes to accommodate everyone. Most items were things I had around the house, purchased from Goodwill or Dollar Tree. I gave each box a theme.
      • Irish: rain boots, green top hat, green underwear, glasses, flashing necklace, beer mug
      • Baker: chef hat, apron, oven mitt, rolling pin, clogs, fake moustache
      • Beach goer: swimsuit cover up shirt, mask, fins, kids turtle tube, shovel, fisherman hat
      • Rock star: wig, toy guitar, heels, chunky gold bracelet, sequin skirt, feather boa
    • Cardboard Boxes (one per team)
  • Set Up: Set boxes in a line, a few feet apart from one another. I put a picture on the outside of the box as a hint to what’s inside (shamrock, cupcake, fish, music note). All teams line up about 20 feet from boxes.
  • Rules: On “GO” the first player from each team runs to a box (first to the box claims it). They put on 3 items from inside the box and races back to their team. Players are to try to put items on properly to your best ability. They take the items off, the next team member puts those 3 items on, races to the box and adds a new item. Players continue going back and forth, swapping items and adding new ones until all items are on. The first team to have their last member fully dressed and return to their team wins!

Run. Slide. Drink. – For this game I repurposed the PVC pipes I used to build my son’s fort with the help of a few additional parts.

  • Supplies:
    • Slip’n’Slide – we used plastic sheeting found at Home Depot. It’s lasted us 3 Olympic Games and is still in good shape. You want something wide enough that 2 people can go down simultaneously.
    • PVC pipes and various connectors
    • Drill & bit
    • Hoses – We used 2 long hoses and 2 – 15 ft extensions
    • Hose Splitter
    • Sprinkler
    • Table
    • Cups
    • BEER! (or other drinks for minors and non-drinkers)
  • Set Up:
    • Create your limbo stick and hurdle. I used 7 ft long PVC pipes, at one end was a connector that allowed a hose to screw into it, the other an end cap to seal the water in. Along the pipe my husband drilled tons of tiny holes for the water to shoot out. We also used PVC we already had to create stands for the limbo stick and hurdle. For the limbo stick, my husband screwed in long screws on an angle into the stands at various heights so we could move the limbo stick up and down.
    • The course should be set up start line – limbo stick – hurdle – slip n slide – beer table.
    • Set up hoses. We had one long hose connected from the house to a oscillating sprinkler set up next to the slip n slide. The other long hose came from the spigot at the house to a hose splitter. From the splitter, we used the 15 ft hoses to connect one to the limbo stick, the other to the hurdle.
    • Set up table with beer poured into cups. We used different colored cups to signify what was in the cups (various beers and non-alcoholic options).
    • You want your tarp to be the last thing down and first thing up, it will do a number on your grass if left baking in the sun too long.
  • On “GO” the first person on each team runs under the limbo stick, jumps over the hurdle, slides down the slip n slide, runs to table, chugs drink. Once they finish their drink, they slam it down on the table and signal for the next team player to go. The team who’s final player finishes their drink first wins. NOTE: If the teams have an uneven number of players, they first player of the team with less members would go again.

Pass the Sponge – This is a cheap and easy game with soaking wet sponges flying around in the air.

  • Supplies (per team):
    • 2 buckets
    • 1 large sponge
    • Sharpie or other permanent marker
  • Set Up:
    • Fill one bucket per team with water. Put sponge in this bucket. With Sharpie, draw a “fill” line on the other buckets, making sure they’re all the same. I did it about a third the way up the bucket.
    • Have your teams line up next to each other, each in a single file line.
    • A bucket filled with water goes behind each team, the empty bucket with the fill line goes in front.
  • Rules: On “Go” the person at the back of the line grabs the sponge and passes it forward over everyone’s heads. Front person squeezes excess water into empty bucket, passes sponge backwards. Dunk sponge in water and repeat. First team to fill bucket to fill line wins!

Bigfoot walk – This game requires team members to walk in unison on wood planks to get across the finish line first. Only 3 team members can play this game at a time.

  • Supplies:
    • Wood planks (2 per team) – I believe ours were 4 in wide and 10 ft long
    • Long strips of fabric. Ours were about 2 inches wide and I tied multiple strips together to get them long enough. Each needs to be about 6 ft long. You need 6 per team.
    • 1/2 in conduit clamps (12 per team) and screws
  • Set Up: screw 3 sets of conduit clamps to each board. Each pair should be wide enough apart that a foot can fit in between. One pair towards the front of the boards, one towards the middle and one towards the back. String a fabric strip through each conduit set. Ideally the strip will go from the players hand, through a conduit camp, over the person’s foot, through the other conduit clamp and back up to their hand.
  • Rules: Teams line up side by side, players standing on boards with their feet in fabrics strips loops and fabric in hand. On “GO” teams work in unison to “walk.” First time to cross the finish line wins!


I hope you have a wonderful time organizing your own Olympic Games. Let me know if you recreated any of my games, have any questions, or if you’ve come up with a great new game I need to try at my family’s next Olympic Games. Go team!

One thought on “Family Olympic Games

  1. […] an eye out for my next post with full details on these games and some great games we’ve played...

Leave a Reply