Monday, May 27, 2019

Field Day 101

When I started at my last school, I was told that I had inherited the position of planning field day. I was overwhelmed at first, but we have had some very fun field days! If you are in the position of planning field day, here are some of my favorite activities and tips from the past.


Our field days were typically a whole day. We also did field day with our entire elementary, so we tried to switch things up pretty often. Usually our last day was field day, and we had an early dismissal. Here is the general schedule we followed:

8:30 - 9:30 Outdoor Games
9:30 - 10:00 Snack break/Recess
10:00 - 11:00 Indoor Games/Minute to Win It
11:00 - 12:00 Staggered Lunches/Recess (Some games on your own in classrooms)
12:00 - 2:00 Outdoor Games & Activities

Obviously, if you have multiple grade levels, or larger class sizes, just make this a rotation, so different grade levels go to the activities at separate times.

Outdoor Games

In the morning, we usually started with either some group games or special outdoor games during a free recess. We set up stations around our playground. This way, students could have recess, but also enjoy some additional activities. We set up things like Frisbee tic-tac-toe and outdoor twister. I used a shower curtain to make a tic-tac-toe board, but that could also easily be drawn with chalk if there is a blacktop or sidewalk available. Then, students throw Frisbees to place their locations. For the twister, I cut a circle stencil and used spray paint in the grass. We also put out additional bonus supplies like chalk and bubbles that the students didn't usually have available at recess. Other fun things to add could be found at the dollar store, like foam airplanes or other catch games. When we were doing a water theme, we used inflatable inner tubes for human ring toss.


Every school has its own rules and stipulations about doing snacks, but we had lemonade and popsicles most years. This was pretty easy to make and serve, but was a fun treat for a day outside!

Indoor Games

We loved doing minute to win it games. Of course you can find so many ideas online, but some of our favorites were as listed below.

  • Cookie Face - Try to get a cookie from your forehead to your mouth without using your hands
  • Cup Stacking - Have students race to stack cups into a pyramid and then back down
  • Panty Hose Bowling - Put a tennis ball at the bottom of a pair of panty hose, students put the hose on their head and have to knock down a row of water bottles
  • Tissue Toss - See how fast students can empty out a box of tissues
  • Junk in the Trunk - Put empty tissue boxes with ping pong balls in them around students' waists - they have to wiggle around to get the balls out of the box
  • Feather Blow - Use straws to blow a feather across to a marked line
We also had backup plans for board games or a shortened list of relays if we had to be inside for the day in case of weather. 

Water Activities

If you choose to use water for your field day, there are so many fun games you can do with water and water balloons. We always let parents know ahead of time that we would be getting wet that day. Here are some that we played:

  • Water Passing - Students stand in lines and have solo cups. They have to pass the water from their cup to the next over their heads, without turning around.
  • Sponge Fill - A relay game with a bucket full of water at one end and an empty bucket in the front of their line. They take turns running down to fill their sponge, then empty the sponge into the empty bucket. 
  • Water Balloon Balance - Like an egg relay balancing on a spoon, but with small water balloons
  • Water Gear Relay - Students have to run down and back, passing goggles and floaties to the next runner to wear
  • Water Balloon Baseball - Take turns hitting water balloons with a wiffle ball bat
  • Water Balloon Toss - Students pass the water balloon back and forth taking a step back each time
Outdoor Activities

We also liked just playing relays each year. This is a great option if you do not want any water activities. 
  • Beach Ball Pass - Students have to pass a beach ball down a line without using their hands
  • Three Legged Race
  • Sack Races
  • Shoe Race - Students put their shoes in a big pile and take turns running down and finding their shoes
  • Silly Walk Relays - Crab walk, bear crawl, running backwards
  • Clothes Relay - Students have clothing items they have to run down and put on, then take off to pass to the next runner
  • Human Knot - Students are in groups and have to all grab the hand of someone not next to them, then they try to untangle without letting go of hands
  • Tic Tac Toe Relay - Use hoola hoops as the tic-tac-toe board and students run down, place a ball or place holder, then run back and try to get three in a row before the other team
We also would do outdoor group games like playing with a parachute or kickball. One year, we were even able to rent an inflatable obstacle course! 


It can be fun to make the day a competition between classes! The winning class could get extra time at one of the popular games, like an inflatable. One year, we let the winning team silly string all of the teachers! We have also given out small prizes like flower leis.

Parent Volunteers

Be sure to ask for parent volunteers! This will make the day much less stressful. You will want to assign them to the different stations or have them run the games or races.  You will also want some who are preparing things like the snack or upcoming games or filling water balloons. It will be loud and exciting, and you will want to enjoy it with your students!

I hope that some of these ideas make planning your field day much easier! If you aren't already there, you are close to the end of the year. Enjoy this time with your kiddos and have fun!


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