While I myself was never a big fan of sports day when I was at school, both of my kids love it. As my husband is a big fan too, I thought we’d have a go at running a family sports day at home. It was a great way to entertain the kids and is also a great option if you home educate. Here’s how we got on.
How We Planned 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 competition. 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.
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Who Should You Invite to Your Family Sports Day?
We didn’t invite anyone to our sports day at home and just did it with the four of us but you could definitely have even more fun if you had more children, and indeed willing adults, involved in the races. If you had a big mix of ages you might need to split races or do different things for different age groups. Having teams including both older and younger children could work well.
It could also work really well for home educators meet up and would be fairly easy to set up in a local park.
Food at Your Family Sports Day
You’ll definitely want to provide plenty to drink for you sports participants and some snacks to keep them going can be a good idea too, just not enough to give them indigestion! 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.
Family Sports Day Kit
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.
If you want to keep track of scores then a whiteboard can be handy to act as a leaderboard or you can just use a large sheet of paper.
We started off with an egg and spoon race. We had a plastic egg and spoon set* 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 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.
Balancing Race Ideas
- Sack races require people to coordinate and balance and are trickier than kids realise, you can recreate them at home with a recycling sack or an old pillow case or even buy sacks designed for the job*.
- The traditional three legged race is great fun, as we were working in parent and child teams we didn’t think it would work for us but If you have two children working together you could.
- If you have some wood to create a balance beam in your garden then you can create a fun balancing race, particularly for younger children. We’ve got a gymnastics balance beam* so used that.
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. Think the dog was acting as the kid’s mascot.
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.
Other Strength Competiton Ideas for a Family Sports Day
- We have an old tyre in our garden and I think something along the lines of “how long can you hold the tyre for” would work well, you could do that with anything heavy.
- My kids love lifting each other up so it might be fun to see how long they can lift each other up for although hard to make it entirely fair if they are different sizes.
- You could test upper body strength if you have something they could hang from and then time how long they can last
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.
Other Funny Family Sports Day Activities
- You could also try races that involve putting on as many clothes as you can in a set amount of time
- You could do a running race but while wearing fancy dress
- You could use straws to blow lightweight balls (like ping pong balls) as far as you can.
- Try to eat a bar of Chocolate using a knife and fork
If you have some sports equipment already you can easily set up some skill races. As you can see, we have an archery set* and went with that, our children are quite evenly matched so it was a close event.
Other Skill Game Ideas for Family Sports Day
- How many times can you bounce a tennis ball on a tennis bat
- If you’re playing in teams, how many times can you throw a ball to each other before someone drops it
- 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 in 5 tries
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.
Elements to Include in Obstacle Courses at your Home Sports Day
- 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
Family Sports Day Prizes and Winners
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. If your child is inspired by your sports day, you can find some more kids sports ideas here.
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