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Celebrate the Summer Games at Your Local Lets Move! Olympic Fun Day

by Kori Schulman

This post originally appeared on the Let's Move! blog on July 11, 2012.

First Lady Michelle Obama is leading the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 Olympic Games and she's calling on families around the country to support Team USA, not just by cheering on our athletes, but by getting active in their own communities.

Saturday, July 28this the first day of the competition in London. We're calling on families around the country to join us by participating in “Olympics-inspired” Meetups in your towns or neighborhoods.

Join your local Olympic Fun Day Meetup with family, friends and neighbors to play soccer, hold relay races, go for a bike ride--whatever gets you moving! See more ideas below.

At your Let's Move! Meetup, share photos and updates using the hashtag #LetsMoveDay. We'll highlight activities happening across the country on LetsMove.gov, Twitter and Facebook.

RSVP and start planning your local Let's Move! Olympic Fun Day Meetup here.

Want to attend a Meetup in your area? Follow these steps:

  • Go to Let'sMove!Meetup page and click on your town below the map
  • Click “RSVP” and select yes!
  • Share the Meetup on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #LetsMoveDay
  • Stay tuned for updates: Once you have RSVP'd, you'll get updates from Let's Move!

Want to organize a Meetup in your town? Follow these simple steps:

  • Go to Let'sMove!Meetup and click on your town below the map.
  • Suggest a location for your Meetup: Find a local park, community center or another space that will fit for your Meetup
  • Add the details: Let others know what to expect. Are you planning a hoola-hoop contest, a relay race or soccer game? See a list of more Meetup ideas and activities here, but feel free to get creative!
  • Talk about the Meetup! Start a conversation on the Meetup page and get the word out in your community. Use Facebook and Twitter to encourage others to join and plan their own Meetups.

Need some ideas to get started? Here are 10 Olympic inspired activities, and stay tuned as we continue to add ideas for your Let's Move! Olympic Fun Day:

  • The Summer Games contain more than 40 different Track & Field Athletics! Combine multiple activities into a relay race around the neighborhood or park you're using to stage your event. In addition to running, consider incorporating different types of movement, including skipping, jumping, and bear crawling. Set individual goals for time or distance, or compete as separate teams.
  • Did you know that the U.S. Women's Basketball team has won four gold medals in a row? Follow their lead and include a tournament in your neighborhood's Olympic Day event. Create teams of 2 or more players and mix it up with dribbling races or shooting contests.
  • Tennis can be played on many surfaces, including asphalt, clay, or even grass! This year's Olympic tennis competition will be held on the iconic grass courts at Wimbledon.While you won't find many grass courts in the U.S., tennis is a great way to get your community moving. A round robin tournament is a fun way to include people of all ages and skill levels in your town's event. (If your kids get inspired and want to improve their skills, find a court near you that offers lessons).
  • Lace up your sneakers for a game of Olympic football – known in the U.S. as SOCCER! This is an easy, familiar sport that is fun for all ages and ability levels. Create teams as small or as large as you want. (The official size is 11 players per team.)
  • Bump-Set-Spike! These are the fundamental techniques for playing volleyball, a popular sport that first made it into the Summer Olympics in 1964. Volleyball is typically played with six players per team, but you can play with as few as two. Set up a net on grass, sand, or a gym court and get moving!
  • Swimming is one of the most watched Olympic sports. You can organize races – or, depending on the ages of your participants, games with balls, diving rings, and other water toys -- at a beach, lake, or pool in your area. For important water safety info and to find a pool near you, visit swimtoday.org/.
  • Olympic cycling includes road events, track racing, BMX and mountain biking. Map out a safe cycling course, and take turns riding through it as individuals, or in teams. Consider riding on a paved pathway, or for a more rugged ride, try grass or dirt. Find a safe place to ride near you here.
  • Gymnasts produce some of the most awe-inspiring moments of the Summer Games. Even if your participants can't do a double back flip (on a balance beam), there are plenty of gymnastics events that are fun and safe. Check out the American Council on Exercise's ideas for fun stretches and movements that bring out the gymnast in everyone.
  • Go retro! Organize teams for a tug of war, which was an official Olympic sport until 1920. It was also part of the original Olympic Games, dating back to 500 BC. In the modern Olympics, the tug-of-war contest was between two teams of eight, and one team had to pull the other six feet along in order to win. If after 5 minutes no team had done this, the team which had pulled the most was declared the winner.
  • Make sure your littlest athletes feel involved. Think about including activities that are fun for all skill levels, like who can hula hoop for the longest, or who can do the most jumping jacks.
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