If you’re looking to detach your kids from the iPad or TV screen, you’ll need something super-fun like relay races to lure them away. With childhood obesity rates at nearly epidemic levels, kids need more physical activities to make up for all the time they spend sitting in front of screens. Active games provide mental stimulation as well as physical exercise.
Why You Should Hold Relay Races for Kids
- Relay races are a great way to get kids moving while incorporating both a sense of competition as well as teaching cooperation. To run a relay race kids are in teams, which means kids will need to work together to win.
- They make great party games: Whether indoor or outdoor, relay games add structured fun to birthday or holiday parties.
- They’re inexpensive: Although you may want to add props to party games, the truth is you can hold a relay race with nothing more than a couple of sticks.
- They include everyone. Most people picture relay races for kids, but adults can participate, too. This means that they work for family reunions and company picnics to keep everyone involved.
1. Indoor Relay Race Ideas
If you need relay race ideas for a party during cold or rainy weather, you can devise relay games that require more skills than just speed. Here are a few ideas for indoor relays:
Baby Doll Relay: Participants race to undress and change a baby doll, with each team member tagged to perform one step of changing the baby. You’ll need a baby doll, clothes, diapers, etc. for this one. This is also one of the fun relay races for adults at a baby shower.
Balloon Pop Relay: If you have some room to work with, you can hold a balloon pop relay. Blow the balloons up ahead of time. Remember that the more inflated the balloon is, the easier it will be to pop. Divide into teams, with a balloon for each child. One by one, each child must run across the room and pop their balloon by sitting on it. Then, they need to run back and tag the next team member to do the same. The team that gets all their balloons popped first wins.
Spelling Relay: Some relay race ideas are educational as well as fun. Using alphabet blocks, magnetic letters, or just squares of paper with letters drawn on, the players are told an age-appropriate word to spell. Each member of the team has to take one letter to the board to spell that word. If one of the team members uses the wrong letter, a fellow team members must use one turn to remove it. The first team that spells the word correctly wins.
Mummy Relay: After splitting off into teams, one member volunteers as the mummy. The other team members take turns with a roll of toilet paper, wrapping each leg, each arm, the torso, and then the head. The first team to run out of paper wins. You can also reward the team with the best-wrapped mummy. Similar relay race ideas include a “dress up” relay, where children race to don and then remove an oversized outfit.
Outdoor Relay Races
Relay race ideas for outdoor parties and field days give you a lot more leeway to get a little messy. Holding your relay games outside means you can play water relays and have space for kids to really run. Here’re some relay race games that work best outdoors.
The Paper Chase Relay: Split into teams and give each player two sheets of newspaper. Each player must travel from A to B and back to A by stepping only on one of their sheets of newspaper. For example, player one puts down newsprint and steps on it. Then leaning forward, they place the next piece down and step on that, and so on until she reaches point B and turns around to tag the next player.
Sports Ball Relay: For kids into team sports, you can use relay race ideas that integrate sports. You’ll need a couple of balls and sticks and something to use as a turnaround point, like a traffic cone or a landscaping flag. Each player needs to move the ball using their feet or stick down to the turnaround point and back to tag the next player. Players must pass the ball by foot or stick to the next in line. The team that finishes first, wins.
Funny Walks Relay: Some relay race ideas are as much fun to watch as they are to play. Each member of the race team has to run or walk to and from the turnaround point while holding a tennis ball between their knees. When they finish, they tag the next player in line. Adults and kids alike enjoy themselves. You can vary the level of challenge by using a larger or smaller ball, like a soccer ball or golf ball.
Water Bucket Relay Race: In hot weather, a relay race that uses water is the perfect way for kids to have fun and cool down. After dividing into teams, each player sits or stands in a line facing a full bucket of water. Each team has a plastic cup. The first player fills the cup from the bucket of water. They pass it to the player behind them — but over their head. The cup is then passed over to the next player until the last player dumps it into the empty bucket at the end of the line. The empty cup is then passed forward again and the next full cup of water goes down the line. The team that empties the full bucket first wins.
Relay race games are great for getting kids into active, cooperative play. They also make parties and get-togethers more special and create lasting memories. Good relay race ideas incorporate both exercise and skills; like dressing for small children, ball handling for sports, and even academic skills like spelling. Have fun adding relay races to parties or just weekend play.
Featured image: CC0 Public Domain Maj. John Ross via U.S. Air Force.