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How a trip to the dollar store can bring Olympic fun to your backyard

Get kids cheering for Team USA by creating your own Olympic fun in your backyard. All it takes is a trip to the dollar store.
/ Source: TODAY Contributor

With the excitement of the Olympic Games in Rio, your kids may be inspired to try some of the Olympic events for themselves. If you have future Olympians ready to play, a few inexpensive items from the dollar store can put you on the road to Rio for your very own backyard Olympics.

Gold medal with a sweet surprise

Sure Michael Phelps, your Olympic medals are pretty sweet, but maybe not as sweet as these gold medals that hold delicious cookies inside. Just wrap the sweet treats in gold wrapping paper and attach a red, white, and blue ribbon to the wrapping paper with tape.

This gold medal has a sweet surprise inside: a cookie!Amanda Mushro

Your Olympic athlete’s action shot

Amazing pictures of Olympic athletes going for the gold will grace the covers of newspapers and magazines for weeks following the Olympic Games. You can create a front-page-worthy picture of your future Olympians using sidewalk chalk from the dollar store. Just draw a scene from their favorite event, have them lay down on the drawing, and take their picture from above.

RELATED: 23 Olympic-inspired outfits that your kids will love

A perfect dive! Create this Olympic action shot with sidewalk chalk and your future Olympian.Amanda Mushro
The key to getting Olympic "action shots" of your kids is photographing the image from above.Amanda Mushro

Pool noodle horse and obstacle course

Fun fact: the equestrian events in the Olympics are the only events where men and women compete against each other. Another fun fact: these adorable horses are made from pool noodles, craft foam, and googly eyes, with a dollar-store dog leash attached for the reins. You can create an equestrian obstacle course in your backyard with items you already own, or take your riders out for a trot around the neighborhood with their horses.

Equestrian fans will love these pool noodle horses.Amanda Mushro

Backyard balance beam

Go for the gold and get the entire family feeling like Team USA gymnasts with their own backyard balance-beam routine. Using colorful duct tape, create a balance beam on the grass — this way you don’t have to worry anyone will fall off. Then have a few judges score the performances. Perfect 10s all around!

It's a perfect 10 for this balance beam routine.Amanda Mushro

Pool noodle bow and arrow

Create your own archery set with a pool noodle and some string. Using a serrated knife, cut a piece of the pool noodle to 28 inches. Tie the string to a pencil, drop it through the noodle, and finish by tying the string to both ends of the noodle. Create arrows from the leftover pieces of the noodle by cutting the pieces in half and making points at one end. You can make targets in the backyard, or see who can shoot their arrow the furthest.

It only takes a few minutes to make a bow and arrow out of a pool noodle and some string.Amanda Mushro

RELATED: Squad goals: USA gymnasts earn admiration from toddlers, teens

Straw javelin

A few bowls from the dollar store and a pack of straws create the perfect playing field for a javelin toss. Use tape to assign a point value to each bowl.

Create this javelin event with just a few simple items.Amanda Mushro

Pool races

You don’t need an Olympic-sized pool for your swimmers to feel like they are part of Team USA. Create lanes in the pool with dollar-store painter’s tape. Grab a few colorful rafts to make those pool races and relays even more fun.

Turn any pool into an Olympic pool with dollar store tape.Amanda Mushro

Glow-stick high jump

Here’s the perfect reason to jump on those couch cushions. Using glow-stick bracelets and string, create a high-jump bar and attach to the floor using tape. Pile up couch cushions and pillows for the perfect mat to catch the jumper. After each jump, you can raise the height of the bar by adding more glow stick bracelets to the sides of your high-jump bar.

Finally, a reason to jump on those couch cushions!Amanda Mushro


If you’re feeling brave, why not try fencing with your athletes? Consider using these dollar-store swords that are covered in soft foam. But, as every Olympic mom knows, having a referee to watch each match is probably a good idea.

Pool noodle fencing.Amanda Mushro

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Super-easy Olympic torch

Begin your closing ceremonies with this DIY Olympic torch. All you need is a flashlight wrapped in aluminum foil, with red and orange tissue paper taped to the top to create a torch that will make your backyard Olympics shine a little brighter.

Make this easy torch for the closing ceremony of your backyard Olympics.Amanda Mushro