Brief DescriptionRelay races can be a fun part of any field day. Included: Fifteen great relay ideas!
Field day, relay, race, relay race, beach, chicken, balloon, Hula Hoop, hoop, jump rope, mummy, shoe, spoon
Following are the materials required to run all 15 relay races that are part of this lesson. Refer to each relay for specific requirements.
This lesson provides 15 ideas for relay races for your school's annual field day. The emphasis in these activities is more on fun than on skill.
The activities listed below can all be completed by small student teams. For additional activities see this week's field day lessons for individual students or whole-class/large group games.
NOTE: A handful of these activities are adapted from ideas published by other sources. Links are provided to those sources. We encourage you to refer to those sources for additional fun ideas.
A Day at the Beach. Give each group a beach chair and a beach bag containing a towel, sunglasses, and a magazine. (If you have only one beach chair and beach bag, then each team runs the relay as the other teams watch.) When the relay starts, the first player on each team picks up the beach chair and beach bag, carries it to the finish line, sets up the beach chair, lays out the towel, sits in the chair, puts on the sunglasses, and opens the magazine. After the student is "lying on the beach," he or she jumps up, packs up the towel, sunglasses and magazine, folds up the beach chair, and carries it all back to the team. The first beach bum hands off the beach chair and beach bag to the second team member, and the relay continues The team with the fastest time is the winning team. (See additional activities at Water Field Day from Mesa County (Colorado) Valley School District.)
Chicken Relay. Provide each team member with a tennis ball. When the relay begins, the first person on each team puts the tennis ball (think chicken egg) between his or her knees and waddles to a box that has been set up a fixed distance away. The student must get close enough to the box so when he or she releases their knees, the ball falls into the box (think nest). The student runs back to the team and tags the next person in line, who picks up the next egg and waddles off to deposit it in the nest The relay ends when the last person returns to the team. The first team to finish is the winning team. Notes: You could get away with using one ball per team instead of one ball per person; after students lay their "eggs," they pick up the egg from the box and carry it back to the next teammate in line. Larger balls might be appropriate for younger students. (See additional activities at Relays on the Minor Games Resource Page.)
Drop and Pop. Provide each team with balloons -- one balloon per team member. Inflate the balloons, so each is roughly the same size. Set up a chair for each team at a destination point. When the relay gets underway, the first member of the team carries a balloon to the chair, drops the balloon on the chair, and then sits on the balloon until it pops. When the balloon pops, the student runs back to his or her team and tags the next person in line. The relay continues until the last student in each team has made it back to the line. The first team to finish wins.
Hooping It Up. In this activity, teams of students join hands in a circle. One person has a hoop over his or her right arm. When the relay starts, the student with the hoop over an arm steps into and through the hoop so it rests on his or her left arm. Then the hoop is slid onto the right arm of the student to the left. That student repeats the process. The first team to pass the hoop around the circle without dropping hands wins. (See additional activities at Five Things To Do With a Hoop from Ayden Elementary School in Pitt County, North Carolina.)
If doing this activity with older students, you might have them complete the activity, then reverse direction and send the hoop back to the right arm of the student who began the activity .
Jumping Rope Relay. Hand a jump rope to the first member of each team. When the relay begins, that student has 60 seconds to jump rope as many times as possible. Teammates holler the number of each jump. Each student jumps for 60 seconds or until he or she trips. If the student misses a jump, the team stops counting and waits out the balance of the 60 seconds. At the end of 60 seconds, call out "Time's up, go!" Then the first student in line hands off the jump rope to the second student -- and the activity continues. When all team members have jumped, add up the total number of jumps the team made. The winning team is the team with the most total jumps. This game benefits from speed as long as the speed is paired with accuracy. Speed does not pay off if it results in a mistake.
Laundry Day Relay. Provide each relay team with a laundry basket full of clothes and some clothespins. (Every team's basket includes one laundry item -- any combination of pants, shirts, T-shirts, or socks -- and two clothespins per team member.) Extend a clothesline between two poles or trees. When the relay begins, the first member of each team grabs an item from the basket, runs to the clothesline, uses two clothespins to hang up the item, runs back to the team, tags the next person in line, and gets on the end of the line. When the next player is tagged, that student picks another item of clothing from the basket and heads for the clothesline. The relay continues until the last student hangs the last piece of clothing and returns to the end of the line. (See additional activities at Field of Fun Day from PE Central.)
If you have older students, after all items are hung, the team might repeat the activity, this time taking one item at a time off the clothesline and returning it to the basket.
Mummy Relay. Provide each relay team with a roll of toilet paper (of the same size). The instructions below are written for 5-member teams, but they easily can be adapted for larger or smaller teams. One member of each team serves as the "mummy." When the relay begins, that student stands with arms stretched out and legs spread apart. The second student grabs the toilet paper and wraps one leg of the "mummy" in toilet paper. When the wrapping is complete, the student passes the toilet paper to the next student in line, who wraps the other leg. The third student wraps an arm and the fourth student wraps the other arm. Then the fourth member of the team wraps the mummy's body and head. The winning team is the first team to use up its roll of toilet paper. Because the fastest job also might be the messiest mummy, students might vote to award a prize to the team that created the best-looking mummy; that will award a team that took care to do the job well. (See additional activities at Relay Races With a Difference from funandgames.org.)
Obstacle Course. Create an obstacle course comprised of resources you have available. The course might involve running around cones; crawling through tunnels or large cardboard boxes; running through a series of hoops (or making one step in each hoop stretched out on the ground); or jumping or climbing over sawhorses or jump ropes.
Over, Under, Over, Under. Provide the first student on each team with a beanbag. When the relay starts, the first student in line passes the beanbag over his or her head to the second student. Then that student passes the beanbag under (between) his or her legs to the third student. The third student passes over, the fourth student under, and so on. When the beanbag reaches the last student in line, that student runs to the front of the line and starts the over-under-over-under process again. The game is over when the student who started the relay returns to the head of the line. The first team to finish wins.
Quick-Change Relay. Provide each team with a suitcase of old clothes, containing a pair of oversized pants, an oversized shirt, and large shoes. (For more fun, you might include colorful boxer shorts, a hat, or even a belt.) When the relay begins, the first member of each team runs to the chosen spot with suitcase in hand, opens the suitcase, and puts on each of the clothing items over his or her own clothing. When that student is fully dressed, he or she undresses, packs up their suitcase, and runs back to the team. He or she then hands off the suitcase to the next student and the relay continues The relay ends when the last student returns to the team with the packed-up suitcase. The team that finishes fastest wins.
Real Three-Wheel Deal. This relay requires a tricycle. Set up a cone at a point about 50 feet from the students. (The distance might vary depending on grade level.) This relay is completed one team at a time. When you call "Go!" to start the relay, start recording time too. At that time, the first student on the team hops onto the tricycle, rides to the cone and around it, and then rides back to his or her team. Then the second member of the team hops on the trike and does the same thing. Stop timing the relay when the last member of the team has returned to his or her teammates. Announce the team's time and turn the tricycle over to the next team. When all teams have completed the relay, the team with the fastest time is declared the winner. Students must stay on the tricycle through the entire relay. If a student falls off, he or she must get back on; picking up the tricycle and running with it is not allowed. (See additional activities at Field of Fun Day from PE Central.)
Shoebox Slide. Provide each team with two shoeboxes. At the start of the race, the first member of each team puts one foot into each shoebox, slides his or her way to a cone set up at a destination point, and then slides back to the team. When that student returns to the team, he or she jumps out of the shoeboxes and the second student "puts them on." The relay continues until the last member returns to his or her team. The first team to finish is the winner.
Shoe-er Fun. At the start of this relay, every student takes off one shoe. Put all the students' shoes in one big pile. Line up the relay teams. When the relay begins, the first student on each team runs to the shoe pile, finds his or her shoe, and returns to the line. (You might include tying the shoe if all students have tie sneakers; if some students have Velcro sneakers, their teams would have an unfair advantage.) The relay continues until the last student on each team has returned to the line. The first team to finish is the winning team. Note: You will want to be sure at the start of the relay that there are no identical shoes in the pile. If there are, you might want to distinguish the duplicate shoes by placing a piece of masking tape with the owner's name on them.
Spoon Zoom. This simple relay requires each member of a relay team to carry a spoon to a set destination, and then carry it back to the team. The catch is that students must carry in the spoon some object -- such as a nickel, a cotton ball, or an egg -- without dropping it! If the contents drop out of the spoon, the student must stop, pick it up, put it back in the spoon immediately (before taking another step), and then continue. The first team to finish is the winning team.
Wet and Wild. Provide each team with a sponge and two buckets; one bucket full of water, the other empty. Place the full bucket at the head of the line and place the empty bucket at the end of the line. Give the sponge to the first student in line. That student dunks the sponge in the bucket of water and passes it over his or her head to the next student in line. The second student does the same thing, and so on. When the sponge reaches the last student, that student squeezes the water left in the sponge into the empty bucket and runs to the head of the line. Everyone else on the team takes a step back as the student who was at the end, and is now at the front, soaks the sponge and passes it back to the next student... As you can see, the benefit of really soaking the sponge is that more water might make its way into the empty bucket; the disadvantage is that the students in line are probably going to get wetter as the sponge is passed. Set a time limit (for example, 5 minutes). The team with the most water in the once empty bucket is the winning team.
AssessmentAll participants follow the rules and show good sportsmanship.
Lesson Plan Source
Originally published 05/30/2003
Last updated 06/02/2011