Relay games are classic for large groups. They get everyone involved and give each child a moment to shine. You can play games anywhere, indoors or outdoors, on land or in the water. Although they take some time, relay games are relatively simple and are easy for everyone to understand. They have clear winners, usually, are fun for everyone involved.
In general, relay games require participants to run from one area to another and back again. Teams often do this in parallel with one another. Give your kids plenty of room to run or walk fast from one place to the other. Long hallways or open rooms work best for this indoors. If you are outdoors, sports fields or other open areas work well. If you are in a pool, make sure your kids’ paths do not cross through a busy area.
You may need to place a marker or small flag at each team’s locations so they know where to line up, on each side. If something needs to happen at each locations, such as putting on a costume or drinking a cup of juice, you need to place these items on a table or in a bucket near each marker.
Distribute your teams making them of relative speed and ability. You may want to line up children so they are next to a child of similar ability on the other team. That will make each leg exciting.
In addition to a small cone or other marking item, you will need a storage container at each location, for the items will be used at each stop. Large galvanized buckets or sand buckets work well for this. If children will be transporting an item, they will need a carrier, such as a spoon, a bucket, a blanket or other item. Each team will need one of these.
If any of your kids feel particularly nervous about competing, you can use them in other places. For instance, they can help to clean up a station before the team arrives again. For a more exciting, more important job, you can give them each a stopwatch, checkered flag and whistle. They can start each match and watch for the winner.
You can make relays more challenging for older kids by inhibiting their movement. For instance, moving through the water, either swimming or walking, would be challenging. You can also blindfold kids, giving them a sighted leader to guide them, or ask them to walk instead of run.
- running with balloons image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com