How to hold a family sports day

It doesn’t have to be the middle of summer for you to hold a sports day. Why not turn your garden or a section of the local park into your very own sporting arena?

Playing outside is great for children’s personal, social and emotional development. Events like running races can help young children develop gross motor skills. The egg and spoon race can build fine motor skills. Exercise can boost your mood and burn off extra energy. Plus, having fun with family and friends improves wellbeing and self-esteem.

Before you get started on the activities, get creative in holding an opening ceremony. You could make masks or headdresses. Listen to a soundtrack of songs from different countries around the world. You could even make up a fun and easy dance routine to get into the spirit before you start.

Family sports day: a child playing in the woods

There are lots of sports day events that you can recreate at home. You’ve probably already got all the equipment you need.

  • Egg and spoon race. No sports day would be complete without this classic race. If you’re short on preparation time, you can use a small potato instead of a boiled egg.
  • Welly wanging. Take turns to throw a wellington boot as far as you can. After each turn, place a marker with the person’s name on it where the welly landed. When everyone has had a turn, compare the markers. Whoever has thrown their welly the furthest wins.
  • Obstacle course. You don’t need any fancy equipment to build an obstacle course, just a bit of imagination. These are some of our favourites:
    – A picnic or coffee table for crawling under;
    – An old duvet cover open both ends to create a tunnel to wriggle through;
    – A pile of hats at the half-way point. Balance two or three on your head for the rest of the race. If it falls off, you have to stop until it’s back on;
    – A zigzag of hula hoops to run through.
    Remember, anything goes as long as it’s safe.
  • Running races. You can use string or even shaving foam to mark out a race track on the grass. You could even tie a ribbon at the finish line.
  • There are lots more ways to use the race track you’ve created. You could hold a three-legged race or a wheelbarrow race. You could even try a sack race if you can find some hessian sacks.
  • At the end, you can hold a medal ceremony. Everyone gets a homemade medal and a round of applause for joining in!
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