Our oldest daughter’s 6th birthday coincided with the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. My husband and I are BIG Olympics fans, and this was a great theme for a large group.
Torches – I made each invitee their own Olympic torch (the handle from a light saber with a bunch of glow sticks stuck in) and we cracked the glow sticks and delivered them just as it was getting dark one evening. Inside the “handle” was the printed invitation, rolled up. Sample invite info:
Congratulations! You have qualified for the Olympic Games! (otherwise known as Julia’s birthday party) <opening ceremonies, best time, awards ceremony, athlete fare>
I used our Olympic flag on the kids’ playhouse, with loads of red, yellow, green, blue and black balloons and streamers (the colors in the Olympic rings). I also used flags from various countries as banners and around the Games areas for decorations. I also had a helium balloon with the specific ‘event’ near each game area. We wrote “Welcome Athletes!” on the driveway in sidewalk chalk and had a huge banner made for the front door that also said, “Welcome Athletes!” The “cake” was cupcakes, each frosted with bright icing in one of the Olympic rings colors, then arranged into the Olympic rings design on a huge platter.
As the kids arrived, they picked a flag for the country they would represent and got a coloring sheet with that flag, its location on the world map highlighted to color and a phrase in that language like, “Hello, I am proud to represent the United States of America.” I just looked these up online and had 1 for each of 20 countries who really do participate in the Olympics.
Once everyone arrived, we fired up the iconic Olympics theme song on a CD and marched all around the yard for Opening Ceremonies. Of course the birthday girl led the way, proudly waving the flag.
Obviously, the possibilities for games are endless here. We did:
Track – sack races and a relay
Field – shot put with black water balloons
Swimming – I had them race little wind-up bathtub toys around a wading pool
Archery – I had a neighbor with expertise in this run this game
Field hockey (the little brothers enjoyed this most of all)
While we ate, of course EVERYONE was called up one-by-one to the podium to receive his or her gold medals on a ribbon (available at party stores). They also got to hold the Olympic flag (on the flagpole) while their country’s national anthem played (I had pre-loaded these onto a cd). Then they could take a shot at using their phrase in their “language” from the coloring sheets.
I took photos of each guest and used that in the thank-yous. Gift bags included another gold medal or two, candy flowers (I made gummy roses ahead of time and packaged them with a ribbon like a winner’s bouquet), granola bars, a pin from the 2004 Olympics Games (ordered online WELL ahead of time!) and a water bottle with a custom label that said, “I’m an Olympic Gold Medalist!” and his or her name (just printed those off the computer).
We had gyros (Greek inspiration since that was the host country) and treats in the olympic rings colors: kiwi, raisins, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries. We had bright blue punch (colored with pureed blueberries), carrot sticks and various pepper strips, too.
We used the photos of each guest/winner on the gold medal podium, holding the Olympics flag in a wood frame decorated with “Thanks for being a Winning Friend!”
If your child’s birthday is near an Olympics (or not!), I highly recommend this party theme. It was easy to plan and really fun for the kids.