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Introduction and Party Invitations

If your child has caught the excitement of the Olympics, here's how to channel it into some fun birthday games that will develop athletic skills, teamwork, and sportsmanship. And you won't have to spring for an Olympic-size stadium or swimming pool or take four years to organize events!

"The biggest goal of every Olympian is to encourage kids to use sports to foster short-term enjoyment and long-term health," says Sean O'Neill, who was a member of the U.S. Table Tennis Olympic Team at the Seoul and Barcelona Games.

"When we give clinics to kids, we try to do fun, safe activities that build hand-eye coordination and striking skills. These let the widest range of differently-enabled kids compete," adds O'Neill, who is now lead coach for the U.S. Paralympic Table Tennis Team.

"Kids can get frustrated if there's too much pressure placed on final outcome," he notes, adding that a mix of team and individual competitions is ideal. You can start the team-building process with these invitations.

Ticket Invitations

You will need:

  • Construction paper (light blue on one side, white on reverse)
  • Child-safe scissors and a ruler
  • Magic markers

Cut out 5" x 7" sections of construction paper and use the ruler and magic marker to make them look like a regular ticket to a sporting event. You can customize the title for the ticket in this way: "Billy's Olympic Birthday Games."

List the time, date, and some of the events you'll offer. In the area of your ticket that would normally show the seating assignment, write down the name of a country the guest will be playing for. The Olympic logo's rings actually represent the five major regions of the world: Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. You can form up to five regional teams if you don't want to use specific countries.