How to Host a Summer Olympics Birthday Party

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Looking for a fun and inexpensive birthday party idea? Have your guests wear swim suits and host your own Olympic Games right in the back yard!



  • Sack Race -Use crape paper for the finish line and make sacks out of inexpensive fabric.
  • Water Balloon on a Spoon Race – Challenge your athletes to be the first to cross the finish line without losing their water balloon.
  • Ring Toss – Use inflatable inner tubes as the rings you toss on to an orange cone.
  • Basketball Hoops - If you have one of those Little Tykes basketball hoops, have the athletes get three baskets before they could start the water obstacle course.
  • Water Obstacle Course - Use whatever outdoor water toys you own. We used a kiddie pool with a built-in slide, an inflatable slide into a second kiddie pool and ended the course with a triple slip n slide.
  • Triple Slip-n Slide – This basically became a free-for-all and was one of the most fun (and entertaining) activities. $30 well spent.
  • Water Balloon Toss – Everyone stands across from a partner. Toss the balloon back and forth. When the other person catches it, each person takes a step back. Continue until the balloon breaks. We had the adults do this too and everyone had a good time doing it.

Water Balloons Tips:
I filled 200 water balloons. My fingers were raw from tying them, but it was worth it.  We went through them really quickly, so I would probably do more (with help) next time.

You can transport the balloon in laundry baskets. If you do, put a towel in there to reduce the number of balloon casualties. Or you could use a box.

After the water balloon event, offer a prize to the kid who finds the most pieces of balloon in the yard. (Yes. I bribe my guests to do the clean-up and make them believe it is part of the party. Oooh, ah ah ahhh!)


  • Water balloons – 100/$1 at the Dollar Store
  • Small inner tubes – Dollar Store
  • Balloons for the mailbox and birthday chair
  • Orange Cones
  • Sacks for sack race
  • Large spoons for water balloon on a spoon race
  • Towels or blankets for the kids to sit and eat on
  • Medals for all the contestants – $3.99 at Party City
  • Slip N Slide ($30 well spent)
  • Inflatable pool/sprinklers, etc.
  • Basketball goal and balls
  • Music – download the Olympic theme song
  • Cake, food and drinks
  • Prizes and goody bags
  • Birthday Cake Central – we used a card table with a table-cloth on it. We happened to have an American flag, so we put that behind it and tied some balloons to the chair at the table. We put the cake on the table and the kids stood around it to sing.

Before you serve cake, get all your athletes together and give them their Olympic medals. Take a group picture in front of your American flag and then all your athletes can stand around the birthday girl or boy in their medals to sing happy birthday.

On a budget?  Consider doing the party in the afternoon and serve summer snacks instead of a meal.

Let the Games begin!

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5 Responses to How to Host a Summer Olympics Birthday Party

  1. Jennifer Friedman June 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    Ohhh…I sooo could have used your creativity a week or so ago!
    I love this idea, especially for the over 5 crowd! Now you know what next years party will be for our little athlete!
    Happy weekend!

  2. Karen June 22, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    We used to do this when I was a kid! (though we didn’t tie it in to Olympics which is a great theme!). One of my favs was dividing into two teams in a line. Everyone gets a jar or container. First person in line on each team dumps their container filled with water into the next persons jar going down the line. At the end of the line, one “captain” is designated to lie on the ground with a large jar on his/her forehead. The goal is to fill up your team’s captains jar the fastest! You can keep switching out the captain until the jar is full. It’s a great game for hot days!

    • heatherteen June 22, 2010 at 11:52 am #

      What an excellent game. I’ll file that away in my brain for next our next party!

  3. melissa July 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

    Great ideas! We did a water party last year for my son and found something called “tie-not” on Amazon (but I also just saw it at Walmart) and it makes tying balloons a breeze–no sore fingers!

    • Heather July 19, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

      Oooooh, good tip, Melissa! Thank you so much -

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