A field day is a favorite year-end event for many schools. To make yours a success, you should plan a variety of activities that are both fun and age-appropriate for students. We’ve gathered some ideas for games ranging from standbys to a few perhaps lesser-known.
As with other carnival-type activities, remember that activities that are too challenging for young students can cause frustration, while older kids may lose interest in ones that don’t provide enough of a challenge. (We’ve suggested the appropriate age group for each activity, though some could be adjusted for the older or younger set.) As well, bear in mind safety considerations for some activities.
Have eight to 10 kids hold the edges of the parachute and toss light plastic or foam balls on top. Tell the children to start popping the balls up by making waves with the parachute. Add more balls throughout the game to see how many can stay in before any fall out. (grades K-2)
Balloon Pop Relay Race
You’ll need several inflated balloons and a chair. The object is for the children to take a balloon, run to place it on a chair, and sit on the balloon until it pops. (K-5)
Pool Noodle “Baseball”
Use cones or other markers to set up a goal. Cut pool noodles in half and have kids swing their noodle “bats” at a beach ball or other large, light ball with the object of getting the ball through the goal. (grades K-2)
Set up about 10 bubble plates or buckets and pour bubble solution into them. Place different wands into the buckets (or bubble guns if desired) for kids to make and pop bubbles. For this activity, be sure to caution the students about safety and not getting the solution in their eyes. (grades K-2)
Tug of War
It doesn’t get more old-school than this. Round up teams of students (and if you like, an adult or two on each team) and have them pull the opposite ends of the rope to see which team is the strongest. (grades K-5)
Golf Ball Bowling
Set up bowling pins and give participants three chances to knock down the pins with a golf ball. (grades 3-5)
Car Wash Relay
Fill a bucket with water and place a sponge in it. The object of the game is for the child to run with the sponge to a cup and squeeze as much water into it as he can. (grades 3-5)
Use feed sacks or pillow cases. Participants put both legs in their sack and jump to the finish line. (grades 3-5)
Hula-Hoop Ring Toss
Set up 15 to 20 cones, a mix of small, medium, and large, on a field or pavement. Have kids try to toss Hula-Hoops over the cones. (grades 3-5)
Water Balloon Toss
The key to a successful water balloon toss is making sure you have enough prefilled balloons. For the toss, partners stand about a foot apart and toss the balloon back and forth. After each successful toss, one partner takes a step back. Let the pairs continue to toss until their balloon bursts. (grades 3-5)
For this activity, you’ll need to ask for donations of large empty tissue boxes ahead of time. Cut the back side of the boxes to make two slits approximately 4 to 5 inches apart. Slide belts through the slits in each box, fill the boxes with table tennis balls, strap the belts around students’ waists, and challenge them to shake the balls out of the box. (grades 3-5)
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Special thanks to retired gym teacher Kathy Hibbard of Littleton, Mass., schools for contributing to this article.
Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.