Garden Games Modern Pentathlon

Get your family and friends together to compete in your very own sporting challenge, all in the privacy of your own back garden. Easy and cheap to organise, this will be an unforgettable day to entertain the kids over the summer holidays - which doesn’t involve a computer or phone!

The Treasure Trails Modern Pentathlon involves five slightly wacky events! Points are awarded per event, and the highest score from all five events wins the gold medal! Rather than competing as individuals, create teams of two people per team. Depending on how carried away you get, you could create a complete Garden Games party around the event, including some of the following ideas:

  • Create your own Garden Games torch.
  • Get teams to create their own team flags ahead of the event and then hold an opening ceremony with teams marching into the garden to the tune of Chariots of Fire.
  • Prepare sports-themed party food.
  • Create your own gold, silver and bronze medal ribbons for the prize giving.

Scoring System

  • Rank each team from first to last in the different events. Award the winning team of each event five points, second place four points, etc.
  • The team that scores the most points after all five events will win gold!

Event 1: The paper aeroplane javelin

Whose paper aeroplane can fly the furthest? Using a piece of A4 paper, each player makes a paper aeroplane and then launches it from the throwing line in the hope of winning gold for their team!

Garden Games committee rules

  • The paper planes must look like aeroplanes and cannot just be scrunched up into balls and thrown.
  • The distance is measured from the throwing line to the point where the paper plane first touches down.
  • The plane that flies the furthest will win the most points. Only one plane per team will score points for that team.

Event 2: Synchronised garden swimming

Teams create a mock synchronised swimming routine on the lawn to compete for victory! The routine is done to music, and points will be awarded by an official judicator for style, synchronisation, humour, and timeliness!

Garden Games committee rules

  • Give the teams 5-10 minutes to find a quiet place to create a one-minute synchronised routine to the sound of Ravel’s Bolero.
  • The routine needs to see both players walking around pretending to swim in the mock pool in perfect synchronisation. They can use any or as many swimming strokes as they want. Lots of smiles and the odd trick will add to the overall effect.
  • Players are not allowed to talk to each other during the performance.
  • Players are not allowed to go outside of the perimeter area during the performance.
  • The judge’s decision is final!

Event 3: Egg and Spoon Steeplechase

This should really be an official event at the Olympics! A running race with the added dimension of balance and dexterity and a few obstacles to cross.


Create an interesting route around the garden with a start and finish line as far apart as you think your participants can handle! Include a number of obstacles to spice up the route, such as:

  • A cardboard box to jump over.
  • Some cones or sticks to weave through.
  • A rope held between two chairs that the participants need to go under whilst still carrying their egg.

Garden Games committee rules

  • This event is a race between the teams to see who can complete the course in the fastest time.
  • Spice the race up by making it a relay, passing the egg from one player to the next.
  • Either time the teams to see who is the fastest, or allow them to all go off at once for an eggs-tra special mess.
  • Each time the egg is dropped, a 10-second penalty is added to the team’s time.
  • Players are not allowed to touch the egg with their hands - doing so incurs a 10-second penalty.

Event 4: Balloon target shooting

Place balloons worth different points around the garden, and then use darts to shoot at them to seek glory!


Get a bag of balloons, pieces of paper on which you will write the number of the points on and three darts together. Count out as many pieces of paper as there are balloons. Roughly split the amount into thirds, then write on the pieces of paper as follows:

  • Numbers between 1 to 10 on a third of the pieces of paper, 10 to 20 on another third and then 20 to 40 on the last third.
  • Those between 1 to10 will go inside the balloons which are closest to the players and easiest to hit. 10 to 20 in the middle distance and 20 to 40 being the furthest away to the players and the most difficult to hit.

Fold the pieces of paper and place them inside the balloons before they are blown up. Keep the different categories of balloons separate from each other, so you know which are the easy, medium and difficult ones. Blow up the balloons, and when you are ready to play the game, take the balloons and secure them to the grass.

Garden Games committee rules

  • Each balloon is worth a number of points ranging from 1 to 40. Players do not know the precise value of a balloon until it has been hit.
  • Teams take it in turns to shoot using three darts. Each player shoots a total of three darts which contribute to their team’s total score. If you have enough balloons, have more than one round.
  • The team with the highest number of combined points wins.

Additional notes

  • Please make sure that all players and yourself are standing behind a throwing line when play commences.
  • Do not place any of the balloons close to where damage could occur from a stray dart!

Event 5: The three-legged sprint

Just as the 100m sprint is the blue ribbon event of any great sporting event, the three-legged sprint should be the same for your Garden Games. Get each team to stand side by side with their partners, then go along and tie their inside legs together.

After the teams have practised, line them up and then blow the start whistle to see who can be the first to the finish line! Ensure that the course has a marker which the teams have to run around to watch some tricky cornering manoeuvres!

Garden Games Committee Rules

  • Both players’ feet must stay in contact with the ground. You are not allowed to carry your partner.
  • Any team hindering the progress of another team will be disqualified and placed last!