Oh the lucky kids who have summer birthdays! Both of my sons were born during the dog days of summer and they had some wonderful parties. Relay races are a great way take advantage of the warm weather and wear the kids out. These are some of our family’s favorites:
Relay Race Basics
These relay races are best played outside. Relay races are played in teams. The teams should be equal in number, 2-8 players on each team. If you have more than 16 kids, form 3 or more teams. If you have an uneven number of children, the first and last child on the smaller, odd numbered team will need to go first and last so there are the same number of participants in each race.
Line each team up behind the start line, 3-5 feet apart. Try to keep parallel lines.
At “GO!” only the first player on each teams starts. He/she does the required task (see ideas below) and returns to his team. He then tags the hand of the second player and goes to the end of the line.
When everyone on the team has had a turn, the first player is now at the head of the line again and yells, “Done!”
Want a little team spirit? Think about each team wearing colorful bracelets, “bibs” or even goofy hats. The following relay races are appropriate for school age children.
Water Carrying Relay
- Small plastic bucket
Give the first player on each team one of the buckets. He may run or walk around the chair and back to the second player. When the first player is back at the head of the line see who has the most water left in the bucket.
Duffle Bag Relay
For each team:
- Small duffle or back pack filled with: large pair of sweat pants (remove strings), extra large sweatshirt (no strings), extra large pair of boots or shoes…or whatever strikes you fancy but it must be the same items in each duffle.
The first player on each team gets the duffle. At the word,”Go!” each player must open the suitcase and put the contents of the duffle over his or her clothing. He/she then travels to a designated spot (10-15 feet away), removes the clothing, repacks the suitcase and brings the suitcase back to the second player.
And so it goes.
Sand and Bucket Relay
For each team:
- Plastic Bucket
- Small sand shovel
- A sandy beach!
Place the plastic bucket about twenty feet from the starting line. On, “Go” The first place must scoop up a shovelful of sand, run to the bucket and dump shovelful of sand. Player one runs back to the starting line and hands shovel off to player number 2. First team whose bucket is filled with sand wins.
Each team needs:
- Access to garden hose
- 20-30 water balloons (many will break while filling)
- Large bucket or plastic bin
All teams start with a bin or bucket filled with 5-10 water balloons. The first player on each team holds a water balloon in his hands. When you say,”Go!” he passes it back to the player behind him, who then passes it to her next teammate.
When the water balloon reaches the last player, that player runs it to the front of his team’s line. The water balloon passing starts all over again. Inevitably the water balloons will break. When this happens, player one must start over with a new water balloon. The game continues until one team’s water balloons are broken. The team with the most remaining water balloons wins. On a hot day, use more water balloons!
Beach Ball Pass Relay
Each team needs:
- Beach ball, any size
The first player on the team holds the beach ball over her head. On “Go”, the first player passes the ball over her head to the player behind her, who then passes it to the player behind her.
When the beach ball reaches the last player, that player runs to the front of the line and shouts,”Done!”
If the teams are small, each team should pass the ball 3x or more times until the finish.