It can be hard to know what to do when planning your child’s birthday party or anticipating the next school holidays.
When it comes to birthday parties, there are many different activities you can incorporate into the day. Relay races for kids are a great way to keep everyone entertained and teach your child about working together with others.
Let’s take a look at our top 10 picks for the best relay races to try at the next birthday party you organize.
1. Relay Races for Kids: Spoon and Egg Race
The spoon and egg race may be the most well-known relay. In this race, the children are split into two teams, so they get to work together with their fellow teammates.
Each player gets a spoon, and each team receives an egg. This can be hard-boiled or plastic - it's up to you.
To play, a member from each team carries the egg on the spoon to a turnaround point, before bringing it back and passing it to another team member. This team member repeats this action.
If the egg is dropped, the player must stop, pick it up and be delayed. The team that passes the egg back and forth the fastest wins.
2. Dress-Up Relay Race
The dress-up relay race is similar to the spoon and egg race, except it uses dress-up clothes instead.
Place a box of dress-up clothes at a turnaround point that is a reasonable distance away from the starting line. When the race begins, the first team member will run to the turnaround point and put the dress-up clothes on.
They will then run back to the starting line and take the dress-up clothes off, handing them to the next team member.
Another way to play the dress-up relay race is to have the first team member put on only one item of clothing. As the race progresses, each team member adds to their dress-up ensemble with another article of clothing.
3. Hula Hoop Relay
The hula hoop relay race can be played with two or more teams, depending on how many children are playing.
The first team member of each group will loop a hula hoop around their arm, then join hands with the next team member. The rest of the team members will then join hands to form a circle.
The object of the game is to pass the hula hoop around all the team members without breaking the hand-held chain. This will require each team member to step through the hoop so that it can hang from the opposite arm.
Whichever team passes the hula hoop around their circle the fastest is the winner. You may also play this relay by having each group stand in a straight line.
4. Drop the Penny Relay
This next relay race requires a jar of pennies and an egg carton with the lid removed. Place the jar of pennies on the line of a turnaround point, and have each team line up on the starting line. Position the egg carton on the ground halfway between the starting line and the turnaround point.
The object of this race is for each team member to drop a penny into the egg carton so that each egg divot contains a penny. It's up to the rule maker of this relay to decide if team members get a second chance if they miss the first time.
You can also use beans or party trinkets in replacement of pennies.
5. Relay Races with Water
The next relay race on our list may get team members a little wet, so it’s a great activity if you’re playing it on a hot summer’s day.
Place a bucket full of water on the starting line, and an empty bucket at the turnaround point. Give each team member an empty cup.
The first team member will fill up their empty cup from the bucket of water at the starting line and race to the turnaround point, pouring the contents of their container into the empty bucket.
The game is over when the bucket that was full is now empty. The team with the most amount of water in their other bucket is the winner.
6. Three-Legged Relay Race
This is a great relay race to teach children how to work together in pairs. Divide all the children into pairs, making sure that they’re standing side by side.
Use scarves or bandannas to tie the inside legs together. Mark where the starting and finishing points are in the ground. Each three-legged team member must race from the starting line to the finish – but it’s more difficult than it looks.
If you don’t want to tie the children’s legs together, they can link arms as an alternative. You can also give them something that they must carry together to make it more of a challenge. This could be anything from a small bucket of water to a soccer ball.
7. Relay Race with Balloons
This next race is recommended for children that are over the age of four. Little ones may be frightened by popping balloons. Plus, there may be small fragments of balloons on the ground, which are a choking hazard.
Split the group of children into two teams and have each team form a single file line. Give the first team member of each team a blown-up balloon. The first team member must pass the balloon through their legs to the next team member.
The second team member then must pass the balloon over their head to the third team member, and so on.
Once the last team member has received the balloon, they run it to the front of the line again. The first team to do so wins the relay.
8. Crab Relay Race
Divide the group into two teams and teach the children how to walk on their feet and hands like a crab. Once they’ve learned how to do this, have them scuttle on the ground from the starting line to the turnaround point, and back again.
Once each team member makes it back, the next person to begin. Once the entire team has raced, the relay is over. The fastest team is the winner.
This relay is best done on a grassy surface, or indoors with mats. If the children are having trouble crawling like crabs, they can try impersonating another animal, like an elephant or a mouse.
9. Shoebox Slide Race
For this relay race, you'll need two shoeboxes without the lids. The first team member begins the race at the starting point by stepping into the shoeboxes and sliding their way to the turnaround point. Once they've made it back again, they pass the shoeboxes onto the next team member.
Once all team members have completed their part of the relay, the game is over. The first team to do so wins.
For a variation on this activity, you can place obstacles between the starting line and turnaround point to make it more difficult for each team member to race. This type of relay can be played both indoors and outdoors.
10. Wheelbarrow Relay
The last relay race on our list of top 10 relay races is another classic activity that's been around for a long time. Children have been enjoying a game like this for many generations.
Like the three-legged race, this is another relay that is great for teaching children how to work in pairs. Pair off your group of children and mark both the starting point and finishing line.
One player in each team must place their hands on the ground and use them to walk. The other team member must hold their partner at the ankles, and help to guide them.
Working together, each pair goes as fast as they can to reach the finish line. Once they have reached this point, they switch roles and race back to the starting point.
The Best Relay Races for Kids
From water to balloons and shoeboxes, there’s no end to the fun children can have when trying out these different relay races.
One of the best parts is, you don’t need a lot of equipment to enjoy them. If you can’t find a pair of shoeboxes anywhere, try using old tissue boxes.
Next time you plan a birthday party for your child or someone else’s, try incorporating a couple of our top picks for relay races.
You’ll have fun watching your children learn how to work together in pairs and as a team. They’ll also have fun playing and working together for the common good.