This Saturday: Hold Your Own Playground Olympics
Ed. Note: As the First Lady leads the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she is calling on communities across the country to participate in an “Olympics-inspired” Meetup on July 28, 2012. You can learn more about Let's Move! Olympic Fun Day at: letsmove.gov/meetup.
Do you have Olympic fever?
This Saturday, July 28, as First Lady Michelle Obama leads the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 Olympic Games, she’s calling on families around the country to support Team USA, not just by cheering on our athletes, but also by organizing their own Let's Move! Olympic Fun Day events.
As the CEO of a national nonprofit dedicated to building playgrounds, I can’t help but be excited. After all, the Olympics encapsulates many of the elements that make outdoor play so critical: teamwork, skill development, challenge, and fitness, to name just a few.
I can’t think of any more fitting place to hold your own Olympics than at the playground. Here are five Olympic-inspired playground events:
- Slide shotput: Place a bucket at the bottom of a slide. Competitors must each “put” five tennis balls down the slide. The one who gets the most in the bucket wins the gold.
- Monkey relay: Divide into teams and hold relay races across the monkey bars. To discourage recklessness, competitors must balance something on their heads—may we suggest a stuffed monkey? If the monkey falls off, the contestant must start over.
- Synchronized swinging: Teams swing together for 30 seconds each. A panel of judges determines which team is the most synchronized.
- Long swing jump: This one is already a classic playground favorite—who can jump the farthest off the swing? (Safely!)
- Playground ping-pong: Teams of two volley a ping-pong ball across various pieces of playground equipment, like slides, swingsets, monkey bars, and jungle gyms. The team who can keep the ball going the longest wins. Particularly recommended for teens and tweens!
Darell Hammond is the Founder and CEO of KaBOOM!, a not-for-profit based in Washington, DC dedicated to saving play by making sure there is a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.