7 Competitive Sports Day Races!

The sports day (field day) season is fast approaching and PE coordinators and teachers are starting to wrack their brains for fun, exciting and engaging races and activities for their little athletes. The debate always comes up in Sports Day / Field Day planning: competitive or non-competitive? For this article our team have chosen 7 competitive themed races to make your planning a little bit easier.

1. The Tunnel Adventure Race (or obstacle race)

The race starts with a line of children behind a hoop. Inside the hoop should be 8-12 bean bags. The person at the front passes the bean bag under-over to the person at the back who then runs down the tunnel adventure track. The first challenge is crawling through a play tunnel. Next up is a climbing obstacle where the student has to climb up and over a gymnastics horse. Then they enter the swamp of spots, where they must step across the spots on the floor. Finally they move across the balance beam and deposit their bean bag in the basket. They then return back down the course completing the course all the way back to the front of the line. This is repeated until all of the bean bags have gone. The team which finishes first is the winning team.

More challenging if:

- extra obstacles are added.

Equipment: Bean bags, Hoops, Tunnels, Gymnastics Horse and/or bench, Spots and basket.

2. The Hoop Pass Race

Each team starts by holding hands in a circle. A hoop is inserted into the circle between two hands - this is the starting point. On the shout of GO students have to work as a team to pass the hoop around the circle without the chain of hands breaking. If the chain breaks the hoop goes back to the starting point and no point is scored. Each time the hoop is successful passed around the circle back to the starting point the team scores a point. The team with the most points at the end wins.

More challenging if:

- the size of the hoop is reduced.

- more hoops are added to the circle.

Equipment: Hoops

3. The Ball Roll Race

The race starts with a line of children behind a line or a spot. The team starts the race by creating a team tunnel with their legs. The person at the back of the line starts with a ball. On the shout of GO the student with the ball has to run down the track towards their cone, around it and back to their line. Once they get to the line they must roll the ball through the tunnel to the person at the back and join the front of the tunnel line. This is repeated until everyone in the team has been once.

More challenging if:

- the ball has to be rolled from a rolling line which is away from the human tunnel.

- students have to throw and catch 10 times at the cone before returning.

Equipment: A ball for each team and cones.

4. The pin knock over race

Each team has 12 bowling pins spread out behind a line in random positions. Students start on a line about 15-30 metres away from the throwing line. Students are allowed to take one bean bag or ball at a time and run up to the throwing line. Their aim is to knock over as many bowling pins as possible. Once they have thrown the object, they can return to the starting line to pick up a new bean bag or ball. The game is played for a set time and the teams with the most pins knocked over at the end win.

More challenging if:

- the pins are moved further away from the throwing line.

- more pins are included.

- the size/weight of the throwing object is changed.

- the thrower is blindfolded.

Equipment: Bowling pins and bean bags / balls.

5. The water race (warning: students might get wet!)

Each team starts in a line behind their water bucket. The person at the front has to dunk the sponge ball into the water and pass it backwards over their head. Once the ball is with the student at the back of the line they must run with the wet ball down to their measuring container. The student squeezes as much water as possible into the measuring container and then runs back to their bucket, where the process is repeated. The team with the most water in their measuring container at the end is crowned the winner.

More challenging if:

- the sponge ball is thrown and caught along the line.

Equipment: Bucket of water, sponge balls and a measuring container.

6. The space hopper race

The race starts with a line of children behind a line or a spot. The student at the front of the line starts with the space hopper. On the shout of GO the student with the space hopper has to bounce down the track towards their cone, around it and back to their line. Once they get to the line they give the space hopper to the next person. This is repeated until everyone in the team has been once.

More challenging if:

- a slalom of cones is added.

- the students have to carry items (such as bean bags) with them and place in a bucket.

Equipment: Space hoppers and cones.

7. The cone flip race (following the water bottle flip trend - sorry!)

Each student selects an item to flip and can only run with one item at a time. All students run up to the cone flipping line (at the same time) and have to flip their object until it lands correctly on the floor. Each time it is successfully flipped they have to run back to the start line and collect a new cone or bottle. The team with the most successfully flipped objects at the end is the winner.

More challenging if:

- cones of different sizes are used.

- water bottles of different sizes are used.

- water bottles with different amounts of water in are used.

Equipment: Cones and/or water bottles.

Important tips for sports days / field days:

- Make the schedule and scoring system simple.

- Award points to all teams in all positions for each race.

- Have a fair play / sportsmanship award.

- Vary the difficulty of the race for different ages.

- Don't worry about the parents! You will never win with the competitive / non-competitive debate.

- You can never have enough water readily available.

- Have a teachers race! Students love watching their teachers having a go too!

Most importantly: Make it fun and memorable for the students!

We would love to hear from you about what works at your school and where you stand on the competitive/non-competitive stance.

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