While I myself was never a big fan of sports day when I was at school, both of my kids love it. As it seems pretty likely that it won’t happen this year, I thought we’d have a go at running a family sports day at home, here’s how we got on.
How We Set up Our Family Sports Day
The controversial question is, how competitive do you want your sports day to be? A lot probably depends on the age of your children. If they are older, they are probably used to competition, if they are younger, perhaps not. If you have children with a large age gap a team based approach might be better.
At 7 and 9 we felt ours could cope with some completion. We were limited by the amount of equipment and space we had so we decided to do each race two at a time and then the winners from each pair raced each other to decide the over all winner. This meant that we had winners but no one was really left in last place.
With some races the winner was first to the finish line, in others we used a phone timer and the quickest person won.
What you Need for a Sports Day at Home
You can be fairly flexible with your races depending on what you have in the house. Things like swing ball, archery sets, goal posts, small bean bags, hula hoops, skipping ropes, trampolines etc can all be called in to service to create a sports day at home. Below I’ve given some suggestion for activities but you can also create races based on whatever sports equipment you have around the house.
We started off with an egg and spoon race. We had some plastic eggs from Easter so we used those, if you’re planning to use real eggs then I would suggest you hard boil them first, we dropped ours loads and I wouldn’t want to waste that many eggs, let alone clean them up!
We have a great little set of four beanbags, we’ve had them ages and they’ve had lots of use over the years. We used them to create a race that involved both balancing them our heads while running and throwing them into containers. If you don’t have any beanbags, you could use cushions for the balancing element and balls for the throwing.
We decided to give a traditional tug of war a go using a skipping rope. I opted out of this race and let the kids team up against their Dad.
If we do another sports day at home I plan to add a “weight lifting” element in. My kid’s are fascinated by strong man competitions so I think they’d really enjoy it.
Silly Games for Sports Day at Home
We wanted to keep things lighthearted so decided to do a game I’d seen online where you put a tennis ball inside an old pair of tights, put the tights on your head and then try and knock stuff (in our case, beer cans, don’t judge!) over with the ball.
You could also try races that involve putting on as many clothes as you can in a set amount of time, races that you do while wearing fancy dress or using straws to blow lightweight balls as far as you can.
If you have some sports equipment already you can set up some skill races, for example, how many goals can you score in two minutes, how long can you skip with a rope for without stopping, how many baskets can you shoot or who can score the most in darts or archery.
This was definitely the kids favourite part of our sports day at home. We decided to split into pairs and create obstacle courses for each other. The kids had great fun using their imaginations and challenging each other. Below are some of the features you could add to a course.
- Throwing – Either balls/beanbags into containers or rings around a hoop. You might just need to get one in or a certain number before you can move on
- Shooting – You could shoot an arrow, throw a dart or use a nerf gun to knock a can over
- Crawling – You can lay out a net or blanket and participants have to crawl under it or you could create a tunnel (chairs and a blanket) for them to crawl through
- Movement – Have a part of the course that has to be tacked while jumping, hopping, running or skipping
- Kicking – Boy Child is football mad so his course required scoring a goal, “chipping” the ball onto a surface and dribbling the ball round some cones
- Balancing – Carry a full cup of water from a to b without spilling it, balance a cushion on on your head, make participants balance along a narrow beam or stand on one leg for ten seconds
Ending Our Family Sports Day
While each race did have a winner, we didn’t actually keep track of who won most races over all. At the end, I gave out medals but rather than bronze, silver and gold, they were for things like “most enthusiastic” “most handsome participant” and “tripped over the most times”.
You can create medals out of the sort of thin foam you might have for crafting and ribbon or just some paper and string. Our school always does a family picnic on the field at the end of sports day so a garden picnic is a nice way to end a sports day at home.
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