Wacky Winter Olympics – Youth Group Style!

olympic rings

Go For The Gold!!!

Wacky Winter Olympics – Youth Group Style!

Winter 2014 – Sochi, Russia

Athletes from all over the world gather and compete in the most awesome and epic sports competition in the World!  Demonstrating human strength, skill, sportsmanship, and pride as they compete to bring home THE GOLD for their countries.

Winter 2014 – Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

High School Youth Group Members from all over the area gather and compete in the most awesome and epic WACKY sports competition in the Archdiocese of Miami.  Demonstrating human emotion (laughter mostly), skill to compete in ridiculous events, sportsmanship, and pride as they compete to EAT THE GOLD candy they win for their selected countries. 

Yep, that’s right….WACKY WINTER OLYMPICS 2014 is ON!!!

Whether you are a sports fan or not, it is hard not to get sucked into the spirit of The Games.  There are the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, the personal stories of triumph and determination, the history and explaination of the sports, the views and history of an area of the world we may never get to visit, of course the sport events themselves, and the opportunity to feel a little pride ourselves while watching our own country’s althletes compete!

It’s hard not to get excited about The Olympic Games, and so it’s hard for me not to drum up all kinds of excitement and get my High School Kidz pumped for the Wacky Winter Olympics I created for them!

I did this with both my High School and Middle School Groups. Both really enjoyed it and it is a perfect way to stir up a little fun and an active sports night without the need for your kidz to be ‘athletically inclined’.  I do a Super Bowl Sunday Fun Day every year where we play Football, Volleyball, Soccer, etc. but the ‘non sports kidz’ always tend to hang in the back and although they have a good time, it isn’t really ‘their thing’.  BUT- WITH WACKY WINTER OLYMPICS….THAT ISN’T A PROBLEM!  Since none of the sports actually ‘exist’ really, they are just loosely based on the real things, everyone comes to the games on an even playing field!!!

Below I have listed my sports, how I came up with them, how I prepared, and then how each was run.  There is LOTS of room for creativity here since it will be compltely based on your space/props etc.  I live in Ft. Lauderdale, where it is 86 Degrees on February 11th as I’m writing this.  I guess we are the only area in the USA right now who has no snow (how I would love to have a snowman building competition or something), but I was able to create our Wacky Winter Olympic Events with random crazy items found in my youth ministry closet!!!

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PREPARE!!!

I simply went into my youth ministry closet and tried to come up with ideas to match the winter olympic sports.  It’s amazing how creative you can get with a bunch of junk! ( ;   I have listed each sport below for you.  Will explain further below (individually by sport) how I was able to create them.    I also tried to create a bit of excitement by telling the teens to dress up in their favorite Winter Olympic Sport outfit.  I was trying to get them to show up in creative ways.  My ideas were:  Ice Skater = Skateboarder with a bag of ice   BobSled Competitor = Wear a nametag that says ‘Bob’ and pull a sled behind you.  Or…more traditionally…I was trying to encourage them to show up in a morph suit (aka. luge or speed skater or downhill skiier) or coat/hat etc (snowboarders), or glitter and sequins (figure skating…either girls in cute dance/cheer outfits or boys in a frilly or sequined top and sequined headband etc.)  I guess they didn’t think I was serious, only one of my kidz showed up with a Jamaica shirt on (Jamaican Bobsled Team).  Of course, I was decked out in sequin top, dance tights, skate skirt/skort, and my rollerblades which I had covered the wheels with aluminum foil with for ice skates.  Truly, I wish they had gotten more into the dress up part, but maybe you’ll have better luck!

Once all the kidz arrived, I had them break up into teams of 3 and decide which Country they would represent.  My kidz Countries were:  Puerto Rico, Italy, Columbia, Cuba, Ireland, Jamaica, & Brazil.  Perhaps you could decide this with your kidz the week before and have them arrive dressed in their country’s colors.

For Medals-  I purchased Gold Foil Wrapped Lindt Truffles and Silver Foil Wrapped York Peppermint Patties.  I had planned to purchase chocolate coins and attach red/white/blue ribbons to them, but I could not find them anywhere to purchase.  (I guess they only sell at hanukah time??)

Olympic Rings-  I took Hula Hoops and taped them together to hang from the ceiling as Olympic Rings.  We actually ended up taking them down and carrying them into the hall/other rooms etc. where the events were being held.

A stopwatch and whistle are also important to have for the authenticity of ‘starting’ and ‘finishing’ each event.

Winter Olympic Sport  –  Wacky Olympic Sport

Curling   –   Coconut Curling

Snowboarding   –   Snowboarder’s Balance Challenge

Luge / Bobsled   –   Hallway Luge / Bobsled

Downhill Moguls   –   Downhill / Downstairwell Moguls

Hockey   –  Beanie Bear Hallway Hockey

Cross Country Skiing   –   Cross Hallway Skiing

Cross Country Snow Shoe Race   –   Cross Hallway Snow Shoe Race

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CURLING–  For those of us in the South, this is an unusal and strange event which we only see once every four years during the Olympics.  There are not many curling rinks or clubs here in South Florida.  We pretty much refer to it as ‘shuffleboard on ice’.  BUT…I couldn’t resist the chance to make up my own crazy version.

Here’s what you’ll need-  Plastic Table Cloth Runner (I have a roll of clear here, but you can find this easily in Party City etc.)  Coconuts (I have an abundance of them in my backyard which had fallen off my many palm trees…#FlaLiving), Paint Brush Handles, Clear Plastic / Packaging Tape, Styrofoam Paper Plates, Blue Painters Tape, Dishwashing Soap, and two Dish Scrub Brushes with longer handles.

I used some plastic table cloth runner/roll to lay down the ‘ice’.  Then I taped off the ‘rink’ and the circle/target with the blue painters tape.  Use the dish washing soap and a bit of water to make the ‘ice’ slippery.  I taped the Coconuts to the styrofoam plates (FYI- Curling rocks are 90 pounds of solid granite with a handle so I was trying to create that look/feel), I taped the paint brush handles onto the top, and had the two scrub brushes ready for the ‘sweepers’.

Each country competed against 1 other country.  They get two chances / stones /coconuts to try to hit the center most circle/target at the end of the curling ice.  Once a winner is determined for the first two countries, the winner will then go on to semi-finals.  Continue in this manner until you have the Final with the last two countries who survived earlier rounds.

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SNOWBOARDER’S BALANCE CHALLENGE-  Snowboarding, and it’s success, lie at the athletes core and balance ability.  Whether you have ever actually snowboarded or not, this is a fun and ‘not as easy as it looks’ challenge.  For this very simple event, each Country chose 1 teammate to compete.  Each country selected the person they thought would have the best balance and be able to win them the ‘gold’. 

Here’s what you’ll need-  A skateboard without wheels, a pool noodle, and a stop watch.

Each competitor gets ready by putting one foot on the board (on the screw holes where the wheels would normally be attached).  The stop watch does not start until his/her second foot steps on the board on the opposite side over the screw holes.  The country whose athlete stayed on the board balanced the longest (without either side of the board touching the floor) won the medal!

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HALLWAY LUGE / BOBSLED-   With a lack of legitimate ‘sleds’ in South Florida, I had an original idea which I used with my Middle School kidz, but then modified for my High School Kidz.  Originally, I had just used large black garbage bags.  The ones we use here at church have a bottom which bunches in the center so I had the Middle School Kidz sit with their legs in a pike position and their feet tucked into the bottom corner which totally looked like a real bobsled sleigh.  But, as they were being pushed down the hallway, the carpet was shredding the garbage bag under them.  So…for High School…I modifed and this worked much better!

Here’s what you’ll need-  Two garbage bags (large), two tupperware/storage container lids (big enough for your kidz to sit on and durable enough to be pushed down the hallway) and some sports cones or any other type of thing you might want to use as lane makers and starting and finish line markers.

Each country selected two of their atletes to compete in this race.  Each picked one to ‘sit’ and the other to ‘push’.  Two countries raced at one time.  Winner of each race advanced to semi-final and then those winners to the final.  I had cones marking the start and finish line.  Pretty simple concept.  No need for time keeping here.

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DOWNHILL / DOWNSTAIRWELL MOGULS-  If you’re not familiar with the moguls, that is the downhill skiing event that is the most painful for my knees to watch! (;  The one where they hit bumps every couple feet on the way down.  As they go down the moguls, they traverse from right to left (shifting their feet/knee directions) and so…here is how I managed to do this SAFELY down a staircase with my kidz. 

Here’s what you’ll need-  Some sports cones (or anything else you can use for lane markers), balloons…not blown up, and a stop watch/whistle.

Each country selected their ‘mogul’ athlete to compete.  One at a time, they were instructed (by example by me first to avoid falls/injury) to jump (feet together) down each mogul (stair) switching direction of feet on each.  (right, left, right, left).  They were allowed to hold on to the staircase railing (safety first).  Once at the bottom of the mogul hill (stairs) they had to run across the hallway to pick up a balloon from the pile.  Run back up the staircase and touch the far wall.  Then, they would blow up their balloon, tie it, and sit on it to pop it.  Once it was popped, the stopwatch was stopped and their time recorded.  One country competed at a time (for safety again, didn’t want two kidz on stairs at once, unless your staircase is wider than mine here).  Best time wins!  Super fun…they don’t realize they are out of breath until they START to blow up the balloon!  (;  I love little tricks, don’t you?

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BEANIE BEAR HALLWAY HOCKEY-  You can’t hold a Wacky Winter Olympics without including some version of Hockey!  My Canadian Hockey Player Fiance would have killed me had I not included it! (:  But, as you are aware, hockey can be a pretty vicious sport, so I made sure to create a ‘safe way’ so that no one got injured.  Although, there was more sweat and muscle used in this event than all of the others combined. 

What you’ll need-  I used to tupperware type plastic storage buckets for goals/nets.  They are perfect as they are not too big or easy to get the ‘puck’ into.  I used two Roman Soldier Spears as Hockey Sticks (planks of 2 x 4’s used for our Easter Children’s Play) with the pointed side (spear side) being the ‘handle’ of the hockey stick and not the part that hits the puck since they had sharp edges.  For a puck, I used a Beanie Bear.  First Reason- Safe and will not hurt anyone or destroy the walls if it gets slapshotted into them.  Second Reason- It is HILARIOUS to watch them spear, slapshot, sling, hit, crush, mangle, etc. a cute little beanie bar.  REALLY HILARIOUS!

Each Country selected 1 athlete to compete.  Two countries at a time played.  First to score a goal advanced to the semi final.  Now, this might seem like an easy concept, but let me tell you…IT WAS NOT EASY!  Which, of course, added to the fun.  All the kidz were screaming for their countries.  Each game seemed to have the beanie puck ‘locked down’ at multiple times with the beanie bear pegged to the ground and them trying to muscle it loose to hit it.  They had a blast with this one!  Each country competed.  We held semi-finals.  Then final.

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CROSS HALLWAY SKIING-  This proved to be a ‘we thought it would be boring, but it’s really fun’ event for them.  Easy concept, two athletes from each country compete – one country at a time.  Fastest time to the end of the hallway/finish line wins the medal. 

What you’ll need-  I used the same two planks of wood (Roman Soldier Spears) that I had used for hockey sticks.  Sports Cones (or anything else you might want to use for starting and finishing line markers) and a stopwatch/whistle.

Each country selected two of it’s members.  They must stand on the skiis together, and work together to ski to the finish line.  This obviously works when they coordinate (right forward, left forward) and also if they are holding onto eachother, but I let them figure that out on their own.  (;

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CROSS HALLWAY SNOW SHOE RACE-  While they are already a part of the Arctic Winter Games and the Special Olympic Winter Games, Snowshoeing is not yet an official Winter Olympic Sport.  However, this event was hilarious and fun as well as a good challenge for my kidz.

Here’s what you’ll need-  We have these wood frame things that hang banners in our church for different events.  Reconciliation, First Communion, Retreats, etc.  But, for 99.9% of the year, they hang out in my Youth Ministry Closet collecting dust.  I got a ‘light bulb’ moment one day when I realized that if you tried to walk with them, it might be both awkward & fun!  Ding, ding, ding!  Of course, you might not have these in your closet of junk, but you could easily substitute with scuba flippers, boxes, tupperware storage box lids (you’d have to tape the kidz’ shoes to them) etc.  Multiple possibilities.  You will also need sports cones to mark lanes, starting and finishing lines, and a stopwatch/whistle.

Each country selected one athlete to compete.  Each country competed against one other country.  First one to the finish line won his/her heat and advanced to the semi-finals.  The best two countries from the semi-finals advanced to final.  And medal winner was selected after the Final Race.

And, there you go!

Not too difficult.  Super fun.  Lots of room for creativity at your own church/group level.  I had a ‘medal ceremony’ at the end where I handed out all the ‘edible medal’ candies.  And everyone had a BLAST!!!

Should you choose to use this with your group, please let me know how it goes.  If you created your own or modified any of these sports, please also let me know!  I’d love to add them to my event list for next time!!!

GOOD LUCK!
Jenn

 

 

Jenn D'Angelo-Lucovic

Jenn is a youth minister from South Florida who has been involved in youth ministry for 20+ years. She believes strongly that helping teens find God in their everyday world is not only necessary, but a much more effective way to connect with them. This means finding God in their day to day activities, their tv choices (yes, including reality tv), music choices, movies, technology, at school, in their social life, etc. With a professional background working in the Entertainment Biz as a Director, Choreographer, & Dancer, she embraces pop culture and uses it in her ministry in some unexpected and fun ways. She is excited to share the creative meetings and events she creates for the teens in her parish.


Jenn D'Angelo-Lucovic


Jenn is a youth minister from South Florida who has been involved in youth ministry for 20+ years. She believes strongly that helping teens find God in their everyday world is not only necessary, but a much more effective way to connect with them. This means finding God in their day to day activities, their tv choices (yes, including reality tv), music choices, movies, technology, at school, in their social life, etc. With a professional background working in the Entertainment Biz as a Director, Choreographer, & Dancer, she embraces pop culture and uses it in her ministry in some unexpected and fun ways. She is excited to share the creative meetings and events she creates for the teens in her parish.



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