Frozen Turkey Olympics
Health suggestions: Provide latex gloves for everyone; you can buy them about 100 for $8 from beauty supply stores like Sally. For some of the events, you donÕt have to unwrap the turkeys. Have hand sanitizer (like Purell) on hand for in-between events.
Exactly what it sounds like! Publicity tells young people to gather the biggest team they can find (hint that team size will be an advantage) for “Olympic-STYLE-Events,” but NO REAL ATHLETIC ABILITY NECESSARY. Members of the same team need to wear the same color t-shirt (assign team colors ahead of time). Students are responsible for gathering their own teams (parishes, youth groups, Confirmation classes, different schools, parents, families, retreat teams, athletic teams, youth leaders, etc.). Teams should be coed (at least one of the opposite sex). Each team is presented with their Frozen Turkey (get them donated thru grocery stores — usually they give away the “past the due date” turkeys leftover from Thanksgiving or Christmas. You might make a sign or announce that “no turkeys were harmed or violated in any way!” Also, expired turkeys don't send a “wasting food” message).
Teams participate in the following 6 events:
- Dressing the Turkey — Duct Tape and Spray Paint turkey in team color and team symbol on each kid's face (face paint). (Again, have rubber or latex gloves available…some kids are squeamish.) Have them run in a line holding hands across to where their team turkey is and then run back with the turkey. First entire team over the finish line wins.
- Turkey Shot-put (2 from each team)
- Turkey Toss (4 from each team…each holding a corner of a sheet…”flinging” the turkey)
- Turkey Relay (4-6 from each team…could be more if you have large teams)
- Turkey Bowling (2 from each team)
- Turkey-Tug-of-War (the whole team)
- For events 1-4 — assign a Gold (3 points), Silver (2 points), and Bronze. (1 point) for the first team back or for farthest overall throws (best turkey takes it for the team)
- For event 5 — use tape to mark lines with points and arrows on the ground (we tape large cut-apart trashbags to the ground so it's harder). These can be big points (300, 200, 100, 0) because you want this to be anybody's game.
- Event 6 — the top two teams will compete in the Turkey Tug-of-War for the difference in points between the 2 teams — plus ONE. Both top teams get to select a member from a team not moving on to the final event (see…there's strategy here!). The whole team pulls — and one person must be holding the team Frozen Turkey AND the rope (it will be partially thawed by now…this is great…and the kids will probably have named it…). Winning team takes all.
- I haven't had a winning team yet NOT take a victory lap — holding the team turkey and taking pictures with it. Blare the Chariots of Fire Theme on a boom box or outdoor stereo set-up for this!
- The most appropriate times to schedule the FROZEN TURKEY OLYMPICS is on a Saturday around Thanksgiving — or during the summer months (when the turkeys will THAW more quickly!).
- Once the event is over we hand out flyers inviting everyone back the next week to our regular youth ministry night where they can watch the video, see the pictures, and participate in whatever program we have going on that evening!
Event Result: ÒFTO is always a success! Kids talk about it until the next year! College students come home for this! They start forming “dream teams” in advance! If you have a budget — have t-shirts made for the winning team — in their team color! Ours say BIG TURKEY ON CAMPUS: “We Came. We Thawed. We Conquered.”
Idea from Colleen O'Dowd
Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Bullying Breakthrough; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.