Let the Games Begin

By Debbie Koenig

Now that the Summer Olympic games in Rio are under way, I’ve hatched a crafty plan. I’m using the hoopla surrounding them to lure my wants-to-be-sedentary child into moving. I mean, who needs Minecraft when you’ve got gold medals?

I’m calling my plan The Kidlympics. That name is snazzy, I know. (You may borrow it if you like.) The basic idea: Divide participants into teams and have them compete in a handful of pint-size versions of real Olympic events. (I only have one child, so I’m recruiting his friends to join in.) And as referee, I’ll be moving around quite a bit myself.

Thanks to Pinterest and Google, I’ve come up with a list of contests I think we’ll enjoy. After a quick run to the party supply store to get medals for the kids and a whistle for me, I’m good to go.

First up: Hurdle races. I found simple instructions for DIY hurdles made with pool noodles and wooden skewers. Since I don’t intend to spend more than 20 minutes setting up the entire Kidlympics, the course will have three hurdles in each lane.

Next: Discus throw. This one might be tricky, because we’ll be Kidlympicsing in a public park that tends to get crowded. But we’ll use Frisbees rather than metal disks weighing several pounds, so if a spectator gets bonked, we won’t need an ambulance.

Our third event will be the long jump, with masking tape markers on the grass.

I’m a huge gymnastics fan (my first girl crush: Olga Korbut) so next up will be a cartwheel contest — who can do the most consecutively?

Then I’ll grab the masking tape again, to lay down a pretend balance beam (yes, I am calling a simple line of masking tape a balance beam). Whoever can create the most elaborate routine without falling off, wins.

After that comes the most grueling event, the marathon. But, y’know, they’re kids, so I won’t expect them to run 26.2 miles. Twice around the perimeter of the park ought to do.

By now I suspect everyone will be nice and sweaty, so a cooling event comes last: water balloon relay races. Think about how tricky it’ll be to hand off a water balloon while running at full speed. I expect lots of laughing and lots of wet kids.

For a hot minute I thought about building some kind of three-tiered platform for the medals ceremony, but you know what? No. I’m just not that kind of mom.

How much of this will actually come to pass remains to be seen — my planning may prove to be as inadequate as Rio’s. But even if my son and I do nothing more than a handful of footraces against each other three or four days this week, I’ll count that as a win. Bronze rather than gold, perhaps, but I’ll take it.

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