How to host your own Mini Olympics

5th August

How to host your own Mini Olympics

Found in: Activities Olympic Games - RIO 2016

Plan your own Mini Olympics for the Elderly in Nursing Homes and Long Term Care Facilities.
What a spectacular event and what a great opportunity to make your facility buzz with excitement!
This is one of many free samples.
Golden Carers has 1000s of activities and resources for senior care.

In a few weeks the Summer Olympics Games will start in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What a spectacular event and what a great opportunity to make your facility buzz with excitement!

The Games will showcase the World’s top athletes competing for national pride as well as Brazil’s cultural diversity, its history, and its music with a spirit of solidarity and friendship.

Allow the thrill of the RIO Olympic Games transform your facility for a few days. A little planning and lots of preparation is needed so gather as many 'helpers' as possible to enable you to get off to a good start.

It goes without saying that the games on your Program should be according to the capabilities and resilience of your participants. Start preparations a couple of weeks before the event and make it a family friendly Olympics!

Now is the time to start planning your own in-house Olympics. Watching favorite sports on TV can be enthralling but getting involved is even more fun. In the true spirit of the Olympic Games, plan your own mini Olympics! Plan daily sports events related to the games.

Here are some ideas for you to build on:

  • Make flags, torches, ribbons, Olympic rings, medals and other decorations. Decorations are important; they add to the atmosphere and excitement of the event.
  • Choose a Mascot - let your residents decide what sort of mascot they would like: a teddy bear, a scarecrow, a budgie, or a child that often visits your facility.
  • Have a think tank to choose popular sports for the in-house ‘competition’.
  • Vote for residents to be involved in a ‘Pass the Torch’ activity inside the facility.
  • Designate a couple of residents to keep a tally of your country’s medals.
  • Make medals for the winners (you can make your own).
  • Involve as many people as possible: residents, their relatives, volunteers and staff.
  • Cook something Brazilian.
  • Ask European and Asian residents whether they have costumes or other artifacts from their countries for display during the Olympic festivities.
  • Invite school children for the 'Opening Ceremony' and let them parade in front of residents to the sound of brass band marching music.
  • Invitations are a good idea to entice introverted residents out of their bedrooms (you can make your own invitations).
  • Choose the person or persons who are going to judge the games.

5 Olympic Games for Staff

Facilities that cultivate an atmosphere of teamwork are bound to offer better care to their residents. Invite nurses, gardeners, and kitchen staff, and engage them in the festivities to boost the fun and laughter. Ask residents to judge the games!

Hug-a-Balloon Relay

Ask 8 willing staff members to participate in a “Hug-a-Balloon Relay” race:

  • Divide staff members into 2 groups, with 1 group at each end of designated race area.
  • 2 people from each team stand facing each other with a balloon pressed between them.
  • They hold hand or hug each other to keep the balloon in place and move sideways to the finish line.
  • The next group then continues the relay back to the starting point.
  • The team that arrives back to the starting point first is the winner!

Backwards Race

Ask two staff members to race each other in a “Backwards Race”.

  • Trace the ‘track’ in a zigzag or wave form with tape or marker (make sure it is not Permanent Marker!)
  • Whomever finishes the track first is the winner!

Tug of War

Amuse your residents by lining up two groups of staff to play a Tug of War.

Egg Race

Have a couple of staff members participate in an 'Egg Race'. The game is simply running or walking fast, carrying a boiled egg on a spoon to a specified location. Only one hand is allowed to hold the spoon. Whoever finishes the race first with the egg still on the spoon is the winner.

Balloon between the Knees Race

Find some willing staff to have this race, it is quite hilarious. Blow up a balloon to a size slightly smaller than a soccer ball. Place it between the knees and try to walk or run to a specified location.

5 Olympic Games for Residents

Make sure competition is not the focus of games; participation and fun should be the main feature.

Balloon Volleyball

  • Set up a mock volleyball court (indoor or outdoor)
  • Place two groups of two players on either side of the court
  • The objective is not to drop the balloon on the ground.
  • Each game lasts 2 to 3 minutes and then change players.
  • The group with the least balloon drops is the winner.

Discus Throwing

  • Make them out of paper plates: glue two paper plates together and decorate as you wish.
  • Mark an area a few metres from four seated participants.
  • Throw a die to establish who starts the game.
  • Each participant throws one or two discus (depending on skills).
  • Each discus falling inside specified area is worth one point.
  • Full instructions here: Discus Throw Game

Bean Bag Toss

  • Five buckets in the colours of the Olympic rings (Red, blue, green, yellow and black).
  • Twenty-five small bean bags; five of each colour corresponding to buckets
  • Five residents are given five bags each to toss into corresponding buckets.
  • Related Activity: Bean Bag Toss & Bucket Game

Basket Ball Game

  • You will need a light rubber ball and laundry or waste paper basket.
  • Hang basket at a height suitable to participants.
  • 2 groups compete to see how many times they can throw the ball in the basket.
  • Full instructions here: Basket Ball Game

Paper Planes Game

  • Make colorful paper planes in a craft session.
  • Hold a competition to see which can fly the farthest! This is a great game for reminiscing.
  • Full Instructions here: Paper Planes Reminiscing Game

... And Even More Game Ideas

Here are some wonderful Olympic Games activity ideas shared on the Golden Carers Facebook Group - Join here.

  • Javelin Toss (with pool noodles or paper towel roll)
  • Balloon Tennis (with fly swats or pool noodles)
  • Stacking Competitions (with dominoes, blocks etc)
  • Sailing (make paper boats and use a straw to see who can blow the farthest distance along a table)
  • Wheel Chair Race
  • Shuffleboard
  • Quoits
  • Plane Flying
  • Carpet Bowls
  • Ten Pin Bowling
  • Putt Putt Golf
  • Magnetic Darts
  • Table Tennis
  • Swimming (participants wear shower caps, throw a dice and step or wheel the number of spaces forward)
  • Shooting (with nerf guns and a bullseye on a whiteboard)
  • Floor Bobs

Ideas for Olympic Craft

Olive crowns

Olive crowns made from olive tree leaves were awarded to winners when the Olympics first began in 776 BC! Make some Olympic paper crowns (unless you have access to olive trees!) to offer the audience.

Full instructions here: Olympic Crowns Craft Activity

Olympic Rings

There are several ways to make the rings:

  • You may use pool noodles by joining them together.
  • You may glue slightly inflated balloons together with the Olympic colors.
  • Alternatively, make smaller rings with paper plates.

Related Activity: Paper Olympic Rings

Olympic Ribbon Wands

Great for cheering and exercise gross motor skills. They are inexpensive and fun to make.

Full instructions here: Olympic Ribbon Wands

Additional instructions:

  • Start each event with the authentic sound of a pistol! Blow up a brown paper bag, twist the opening tight and pop it with your hand or bang it on a wall for a realistic sound.
  • If you have invited children, divide them into two groups and have a 'Tug of War'. Reward them with refreshments and doughnuts!
  • Before the games, ask all potential winners to choose a favorite song to play if they win. Make a list and get the songs ready. They may choose the anthem from the country they came from or one from a country they have visited or an ABBA song!
  • It goes without saying that all winners are presented with medals.
  • Designate a person to take photos.
  • The food served should have an international flavour but of course you should start with Brazilian food.
  • Remember that the important thing is to have fun. Don't put too much emphasis on competition. Everyone is a winner for participating.


We'd love to hear your feedback!
How will you be celebrating the Olympic Games?


Talita 26th Aug 2016
Thank you so much for your feedback Villan! I'm so happy to hear the Olympic activities worked so well for you!
Villan 24th Aug 2016
I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Golden Carers website creator. We had a blast in our Mini-Olympic games for the past 2 weeks. Both our Residents and Staff enjoyed thouroughly the program we prepared. Residents and their immediate families were also involved. Most of the ideas presented in your website were excellent and have given us the opportunity to facilitate the activities which had provided friendly competitions among our Resident and Staff alike. We received lots of praises from our Resident, co-workers and the Management.
Solange 25th Aug 2016
Thank you all for the feedback, it is very much appreciated. Best wishes!
NIU. S 23rd Jul 2016
Thank you for these brilliant ideas.
Talita 26th Aug 2016
Thanks Niu!
Christine 13th Jul 2016
Terrific ideas, and I have enough lead up time to plan!
Talita 26th Aug 2016
Thanks Christine!
Talita 11th Jul 2016
Thanks for your feedback Susan & Tina!
Susan 6th Jul 2016
Thankyou for all these wonderful ideas. August is going to be a great month for activities.
Tina 5th Jul 2016
Wonderful inspiring ideas Thank you!
Joy 25th Jul 2016
Sounds fantastic will be using a few of these ideas go Aussies


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