Summer camp is all about fun and games—and you can create that same feeling at home for a birthday party, playdate, or just a good time on a summer’s day! And of course, summer is known for sporting events like Wimbledon and the Olympics. Why not host your own Olympic games for kids or your own version of camp Color Wars?

To do that, set up a series of contests—these can be actual sporting events or just activities, the sillier the better (think three-legged races, egg races, water balloon dodgeball!). You can even have “award ceremonies” where you crown guests with olympic wreaths or medals made out of paper or even cookies.

But you don’t have to splash out by hosting a whole event! If you’re just looking to have some family fun or keep the kids busy on a summer afternoon, there are so many things you can do with no, or very little, prep needed.

Everyone has their own list of classic games, from the simple (tag) to the strategic (Mafia or I Spy) to the skilled (like tennis or trivia games). You can make common playground games even more interesting by playing with one simple addition, like a hula hoop or a balloon.

Games are a great theme for a day or a whole week of fun and it can carry through from the activities to decor and even food. Check out our game-themed ideas below and let the games begin!


Hula Hoop Games
There are so many fun games you can play with a hula hoop, from races to ring tosses! If you’ve got a crowd of kids looking for fun, pass out some hula hoops and they’ll be busy for hours.


Decorated Hula Hoops and Frisbees
If you’re spending the day playing hula hoop or frisbee, make the games even more fun by decorating them first! It’s a fun craft on its own—and makes games even more interesting to watch. Paint frisbees to look like slices of fruit, and wrap hula hoops in colored washi tape. Now they’re as fun to look at as they are to play with!


Balloon Games
Blown-up balloons add fun twists to three-legged races or games of hot potato. And any ball sport, from baseball to dodgeball, gets a lot more refreshing if you substitute the ball with a water balloon! For our printable list of balloon games, click here.


Cup Games
Decorate paper cups with stickers, markers, or paint pens to give them a sporty theme—we decked out these green paper cups with golf balls on tees! Having fun decorating is one activity; then, grab a golf or ping pong ball and you’re set to play all sorts of cup and ball games: three cup monte, where you hide a ball under one of three cups and slide them around as everyone tries to keep tabs on where the ball is; cup toss, where each person holds a cup and throws a ball back and forth into each other’s cups trying to see how high they can get without falling; and a ball toss—seeing who can throw a ball to knock over a pyramid like the above—are just a few options!


Training and Award Ceremonies

Sports-Inspired Ballet Moves
Your in-house athletes can mix up their training with these ballet moves that are great prep for specific sports—whether it’s the swan stretch for swimming or plié jump for those who run track. Tiler Peck, the Principal Dancer for the New York City Ballet showed us her moves; for more, click here.


Cookie Medals
The sweet taste of victory is even sweeter when winners get “medals” made out of sugar cookies. Slice a slit in the cookie to run a ribbon through and decorate them so they’re extra special—write the winner’s name in frosting, use letter stamps to write messages, or go for the gold and cover them in edible luster dust. You can give them as awards (or favors) or spend a fun afternoon making them together! See more here—you’ll also find the vanilla sugar cookie recipe we used from One Girl Cookies. And if you don’t feel like baking, download our printable award ribbons here.


Paper Laurel Victory Crowns
For your award ceremonies, take a page from the ancient Greeks. At the first Olympics, winners were crowned with laurel leaves. Download our printable template for laurel vines and craft them into crowns—it’s simple enough that you can make one for every participant and make everyone a winner!


Game-Themed Food

Olympic Doughnut Rings
For a dessert spread that doubles as decor, turn five plain or glazed doughnuts into the Olympic Rings with the help of colored sanding sugar. For the how-to, click here.


Inner Tube Doughnuts
White and blue frosted mini donuts look just like inner tubes if you turn the table into a swimming pool, lake, or ocean with a blue paper tablecloth to resemble water and red and white string to be lanes. Draw or cut out photos of people and tape them to a toothpick to create cupcake toppers, turning it into a pool party, or just a pool-themed party like the one in my book, Celebrate Everything. This mini donut “pool party” is one of my favorite ideas from that chapter!


Golf Cake
With some green frosting, sixlet golf balls, and a crushed-graham-cracker sand trap, a sheet cake becomes a golf course. You can find the how-to for that here, or use your imagination to turn a cake into a baseball diamond or football field! For more golf-themed party ideas, there’s an entire chapter devoted to one in my book, Celebrate Everything.