6 Fun Relay Race Ideas for Kids

July 21, 2017

Get your kids up and moving with these fun relay race variations.



In today's technology driven world, it can feel like an uphill battle to keep kids active and limit screen time. In fact, sometimes it can be a challenge in itself simply to get the kids playing outside -- something past generations never needed to worry about! Fear no more -- with these fun relay race ideas your kids will be out having fun in the sun in no time.

Relay races afford the opportunity for your kids to be creative while exercising in the great outdoors. "Outdoor play gives children the opportunity to run, jump, climb, skip, throw and catch a ball and use those outdoor voices!" says Amanda Mushro, a mom of two, parenting author and blogger at Questionable Choices in Parenting. "Play encourages creativity, physical, social and emotional development and encourages our children to take risks. Through play, children learn to share, take turns and negotiate within a group." The best part is, they don't even realize they're working on these skills.

Whether you're a parent or babysitter, teaching your children new ways to play is a concept that will pay off in their childhood and beyond. "Play is a very important part of a child's development, and it's up to us as parents to make sure they're getting lots of opportunities for fun play," explains Donna Bozzo, the creator of The Lady with the Alligator Purse and a family lifestyle expert. "Look to any schoolyard.

The currency of fitting in is play. By focusing on folding play into your family's life, you will make your children players in life, giving them the skills they need to fold into fun no matter the play." Once you have the ball rolling and have introduced the concept of relay races for kids, you can be sure your kids will be coming up with their own relay race ideas with their friends in the future.

  1. Waiter Relay
    Ages: Elementary and up
    Supplies: Trays or paper plates, empty cups, plastic food or golf balls
    Instructions: Each team has an identical tray full of items -- plates, cups, plastic food or golf balls -- explains Mushro. Players walk to their teammate while balancing items on their tray. If anything falls off, they return to the start. Kids will enjoy the challenge and humor of balancing the tray while they rush to the finish.
  2. Slip'n Slide Race
    Ages: All
    Supplies: Two Slip'n Slides
    Instructions: Place two Slip'n Slides side by side in the yard with half of each team lined up on either side of the slide. The first players run down the Slip'n Slide to their waiting teammate, who then makes the return journey in the opposite direction. Kids will love getting wet and wild with this relay. The first team to have all members complete a trip down the slide wins.
  3. Penguin Relay
    Ages: Preschool and up
    Supplies: A soft toy football
    Instructions: "Each player must hold the football between their ankles and waddle to their team member. If the football drops they must start over," explains Mushro. Kids will find the movement hysterically funny to watch and participate in.
  4. Spoon Egg Race
    Ages: Preschool and up
    Supplies: Eggs, spoons
    Instructions: Each player walks to their partner holding an egg in a spoon, then passes it to the next player. Older kids can use a smaller spoon and a raw egg, while younger kids should use a larger spoon or ladle and a hard-boiled egg, as they are still working on their balance and coordination. Kids will love the challenge and the (hopefully) occasional splat of the eggs!
  5. Glow-in-the-Dark Relay
    Ages: All
    Supplies: Glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark shirts and other objects that glow in the dark
    Instructions: Paint T-shirts with glow-in-the-dark paint and make bundles of glow sticks to act as a baton, suggests Bozzo. Your kids will have a blast running this relay at dusk. Members of each team race around a set course -- marked off with glow-in-the-dark objects or tiny lights -- handing off the baton when they reach the next team member.
  6. Balloon Pop
    Ages: Pre-k and up
    Supplies: Balloons
    Instructions: Have several inflated balloons in a pile 10 feet away from the start. Each player runs to the center, pops a balloon by sitting on it and returns to the start to tag their teammate. Get ready for fun, as nothing delights kids more than popping balloons.

Victoria Georgoff is a freelance writer and psychotherapist who enjoys writing about parenting, helping other parents and, of course, being a parent herself.

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