By: BJ Williston, SPARK Trainer and Curriculum Development Consultant
In my last blog, I covered tips for putting on a successful Field Day. This blog gives you some ideas for activities for your students to have fun and stay active.
Choose a good variety of activities. Try having some that challenge students’ speed, balance, strength, agility, accuracy, teamwork and problem-solving skills. Have a few that are non-competitive in nature, as well. Don’t forget that kids love water games, too, so you want to plan to include some of those, as well. (I’ll cover those in my next blog.)
Plan the location of your activities according to their needs (e.g. water games nearest to the hose, flying disc throw away from fences and roofs, scooter relay on the blacktop, etc.).
Here is a list of activities you may want to include, depending on the objectives of your Field Day:
When organizing races, have as many lanes as possible in order to keep kids active. So they don’t get too exhausted, change up the type of race every lap (i.e. Have students do a 3-legged race down and back, then switch to a wheelbarrow race, then with hooked elbows back-to-back, then repeat). Better yet, you can have the racers in a circle and designate the end line another, larger circle, say 20 steps out. They race out to the larger circle line and back like spokes on a wheel. This way, it is harder to tell who finishes first and racers are more focused on themselves, as opposed to their competition.
- 3-Legged: Partners are attached at the ankle and work together to move to the end line and back.
- Wheelbarrow: One player walks on their hands while the other player holds their feet in the air. When they get tired, switch roles. Continue down and back.
- Back-to-back: Partners hook elbows and one partner faces the end line while the other moves backward. Reverse roles on the way back.
- Leap Frog: One partner crouches down and the other does a straddle jump over them, pushing their hands onto their partner’s back as they jump over them. Then that partner crouches and the other jumps. Continue to the end line and back.
- Lily Pad Jump: (Two spot markers per pair.) Student A is the “frog” in one direction. Student B tosses the spot in front of the frog and the frog jumps to it. Student B grabs the spot the frog just left, and tosses it farther forward for the frog to jump to. Continue until they get to the other end line. Reverse roles on the way back.
- Beach Ball: Partners hold a ball between them in any way they can down and back. If the ball drops, they pick it up and continue where it dropped.
- Beanbag Hike: (One beanbag per pair.) One partner hikes the ball to the other partner through their legs, then runs toward the end line to receive a hike from their partner. Continue hiking and running to the end line and back, switching roles with each hike.
- Cooperative Band Walk: (One cooperative band per five students.) Groups of five hook together using the bands and work together to get to the end line and back. Try backward in the second round. Set up an obstacle course for them to move around.
- Dress-up Relay: (Need a full set of clothes including shoes, pants/skirt, top, jacket, hat, scarf, etc. and a box or tub to hold each set for every group of four.) Two players run to the dress-up box (located at the end line) and one helps the other get all the gear on, then they run back to the start line, and then to the end line and remove the clothes and put them back into the box. The next pair then takes a turn. Continue switching pairs, who also switch roles each round, until the signal.
- Locomotor Skill: Call a locomotor skill for students to use to travel to end line and back.
- Dribbling: (One ball per two students.) Player dribbles (basketball or soccer style) to end line and back.
- Potato Sack: (One sack per two students.) Player puts feet in sack and holds the sides to jump to end line and back.
- Spoon: Student places an egg on a spoon and runs to the end line and back.
- Hippity Hop: Student uses a spring ball to jump to the end line and back.
- Scooter Board: (One scooter per two students.) Players scoot themselves to the end line and back on their scooter board using the method called by the volunteer (e.g. on tummy, on knees, sitting, etc.).
Here, everyone in the group does the activity on a signal and they go as long as they can. When they are finished, they can take a break, cheer the others on, stretch, etc.
- Jump Rope: Individual or long-rope style.
- Hula Hoop: Start adding tricks like turns, dropping to knees, walking, one foot, eyes closed, etc. after a few minutes.
- Basketball-Style Dribbling: Start adding tricks like turns, between the legs, eyes closed, etc. after a few minutes.
Here, the goal is for teamwork and problem-solving to accomplish a common goal.
- OMNIKIN Games: Try the Boulder Runner or Corridor Challenges (click here for details on how to play).
- Houdini Hoops: (Need 1-2 hoops per 5-7 players.) Students join hands to form a circle, placing a hoop over one player’s wrist so it dangles like a bracelet. The object is to see how quickly they can move the hoop around their circle without letting go of their hands. Add a second hoop. Then have them go in opposite directions.
- Musical Hoops: (Need one hoop per player, scattered within the area, along with music and a player.) Players move any way they like when the music plays. After 20 seconds or so, music is stopped and players need to put one foot in a hoop. Start the music again and remove a few hoops. Each round there are fewer hoops so students need to share hoops with others. Play until players are squeezed into as few hoops as safety allows.
Catching and Throwing Events
These events can be competitive, but it’s better to have players try to beat their own records with each attempt.
- Fling It: (Need two fling it nets and a ball per pair.) Pairs toss a ball or beanbag back and forth, using the nets to catch it. Play Step Back, where all players stand in two parallel lines, facing their partners. When a catch is made, that partner steps back. The object is to see how far apart they can get.
- Javelin Throw for Distance: (One pool noodle per two students.) Players toss the pool noodle as far forward as they can, noting the line at which it landed. They retrieve the noodle and hand it to their partner. Partners then throw to see how far they can throw. Each player is trying to beat their own record.
- Any Ball Throw for Distance: Same as javelin throw but use a variety of tossables from rubber chickens, to beanbags, to footballs, or softballs.
- Flying Disc Throw for Accuracy: (One disc per player and 20 hoops of various colors placed at varying distances from throw line.) On signal, all players throw toward a hoop. They score one point if it lands in or touches a hoop in the front row, two for the middle row, and three for the far row. Retrieve on signal and repeat.
- Water Balloon Step Back: (Need one water balloon per pair.) Pairs are placed in two parallel lines, across from their partner. Partners toss the balloon back and forth, taking a step back (away from each other) on command. The object is to keep their balloon from popping.