Relay Games for Kids

potato sack race

Relay games provide a great way for groups of kids to work together to accomplish a goal. They can be used as a way to break the ice when children don't know each other well and can be a fun pastime for a number of occasions.

Ten Kids' Relays

The following are examples of relay games that children will enjoy. Have the children work together in teams, handing off the race object to the next child or group of children as they complete their leg of the race. If there are concerns about the game being messy for the participants, the relay course can be set up outside.

1. Balloon Race

The object of this game is relatively simple. All the participants need to do is carry a partially-inflated balloon from the starting point to the finish line. The twist is that they have to work in pairs and are not allowed to use their hands. Instead, they must position the balloon in between their heads.

2. Bowling with Beanbags

This relay game for kids is played indoors on a gym floor. Set up four bowling pins in a large circle on the floor and place a beanbag beside each one. Place a fifth pin in the center. Divide participants into four teams. Have one person from each team stand beside each of the pins on the outside of the circle. When you give the signal, the participants run around the outside of the circle. When they get back to "their" bowling pin, each person throws his or her beanbag across the floor and attempts to knock the bowling pin in the center of the floor over. After throwing the beanbag, the person retrieves it and places it beside his or her team's bowling pin. Then the next person on the team gets a turn until all the participants have had the chance to try beanbag bowling.

3. Big Foot Race

For this relay game, divide the participants into teams and provide each team with a pair of large rubber boots. Hip waders work well for this purpose. If the boots are large enough so that the children don't have to remove their shoes before putting them on, the game will progress more quickly. Have the team members line up. After you give the starting signal, the first person puts on the boots and races down a set course and back. He or she must remove the boots before passing them to the next participant, who puts them on and runs the race. The winning team is the one where all members have completed the course.

4. Run Like a Monkey Race

This relay race is a very simple one to set up. Participants are divided into teams, and the first person to run the race reaches down and grabs his or her ankles. The object of the game is to run the race while in this position. The first team to complete the race wins.

5. Candy Relay Race

For the candy relay race, each team needs a bowl of jelly beans, lemon drops or other hard candy, an empty dish and a spoon. The object of the game is to transfer the candy from one dish to the other. The twist is that the participants must keep their hands behind their back and place the handle of the spoon in their mouth. For safety reasons, a plastic spoon may be used for this purpose.

6. Lemon Relay Race

3 legged race
Three-Legged Race

This game is very simple to set up and play. Give each team a lemon and a pencil. The participants use the pencil to push the lemon through a racecourse and back to the beginning. Then the next person on the team takes a turn pushing the lemon through the course.

7. Potato Sack Races

This hilarious picnic game involves hopping in a burlap potato sack. You'll need to establish a starting and finish line and divide kids into appropriate age groups. To turn the game into a relay, establish teams and have multiple start and finish lines in a row. As the first kid on your team crosses the finish line, he or she tags the next, who starts on his or her section of the race. The first child to hop across the "final" finish line wins for the whole team! You can purchase potato sacks at the S&S Worldwide website.

8. Obstacle Course Games

Tweens will have a blast creating their own obstacle course using what is already in the backyard. Obstacles might include: climbing up a slide, doing cartwheels, riding a tricycle, digging through the sand for a buried treasure. Doing both mental and physical challenges helps kids of all ages enjoy this game. Teams can be established for an obstacle course relay by having a variety of obstacles that team members take turns tackling. Have each team take a turn along the course and establish another person as the time keeper. The team with the fastest time wins.

9. Three-Legged Race

This is another very funny race where you tie the legs of two participants together and have them work together to race to the finish line. For a relay, this racing game has multiple players at the start and finish lines. Another similar race you could try is having players at the second starting point do something just a little different, or progressively harder. For example, the next set of racers could have one player standing and hold the legs of the teammate who will be racing on his or her hands. The next racers could have to do their three-legged race running backwards or have to be blindfolded.

10. Water Balloon Relay

There are multiple ways to have a water balloon relay on a hot day as a summer activity. A common way is to toss the balloons to players and the first team to have a certain number of intact balloons reach the finish line wins. To make it more interesting, keep players spaced at an equal distance, and start the process back at the first person each time a balloon breaks.

Staying Organized

Make sure to have some rules established for your games so that no one ends up in an argument or gets hurt. Match up teams fairly with regard to age and physical strength. Gather everyone before the race and make sure they understand the rules and how to hand off to the next player. You can even have a "preliminary" or a trial race just to make sure the young children understand. Let everyone know that cheating is not tolerated and will just take away from the fun.

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Relay Games for Kids