Relay Race Ideas for 3 – 6 Year Olds
Supplies: Large open area, yard is best, start line, half way point marker, additional items vary based on your theme and challenges
As adults we sometimes a simple race, task or challenge is a big deal at a party. I have seen first hand where the simple task of running from one end of the yard to the other and back to the start line proved to be a challenge for 4 and 5 year olds. That image convinced me to include a Simple Relay Race on the Birthday game list. We included Relay Race Basics, How to Come up with a Relay Race Theme and Adding Relay Race Obstacles and Actions to your party game.
While you can have a relay race anywhere, it is best to play this kid’s party game outside or in a very large space where you can have several teams compete at once.
The best part about a Relay Race is that each child gets to take a turn and play the game. The fun is in the participation and in my opinion you don’t need to give a prize to the winners (they can just be told they won) or you can give a small candy prize to the kids or have them be the first to get food first.
Relay Race – The Basics
Good news, setting up a Relay Race is simple and this game can be created in less than 10 minutes. Here is what you need to do.
a. Create a Start Line – This is where the teams stand to begin the game
b. Create a point or line that is a good distance from the Starting line. Each player must run or walk to this object or line, circle or touch it and then return to the Start Line.
c. Once the player returns to the Start Line that player must then tag the next player in line and they must perform the same task.
d. Once all team members have completed the task they are done. The first team to have all the team members complete the task is the winner, the second team is 2nd place, third – 3rd place and so on.
e. Before play begins be sure to:
– Divide the party guests into teams with the same number of players and if the numbers are uneven have one player go twice on those teams with fewer players.
– Clearly explain how to play the game and what the kids must do
– Last state How the get start and when the game ends (We recommend you have each team play until the finish whether they come in 1st or last in the Relay Race)
While this concept is extremely simple for adults it can be very tricky and frustrating for 3 and 4 years olds, but it is the basis from which you can build unique games based on your party theme.
Building a Themed Relay Race for your Child’s Birthday Party
So you have a party theme of Hello Kitty, Scooby Doo, Cars, Farm Animals, Princess, Pirates or some other theme and want to relate the Relay Race to your theme.
In most cases relating your Relay Race to your theme can be easy, but if not we recommend just adding a challenge to the game, These challenges work best for 5 and 6 years old but some can work for 4 years old too.
The best way to tie in a theme to the Relay Race is to share a simple story about why the your playing the game and how you helping or solving a problem the relates to your theme. Here are some examples:
– Lady Bug Party
Story – The other night there was a big storm and Lucy the Lady Bug got washed away from here home. Now we need to plant a garden so Lucy has a home.
Relay Action – So each team member will be given a flower (plastic flower or it could be a lollipop) and will have to run down to the Garden (end point) place your flower in the Lady Bug Garden and then run back, tag the next member of your team and then they plant their flower.
By adding a theme and fun purpose the kids tend to pay more attention to what is going on in the game.
Here are some other ideas to help come up with your own Themed Relay Race
– Feed the Animals / Treats – Hello Kitty, Scooby Doo, Farm Animals, Zoo
– Ran out of Gas or Need Oil (Use play items) – For a Cars – The Movie Party
– Drop off or Pick up a Shoe/Slipper or Involve a Toad – For a Princess Party
– Grab a Gold Coin from the Treasure – Pirate Party
Again just think of a simple action to add to the Relay Race that ties into your Party Theme for more fun.
Add Some Action to Your Relay Race
Not into themes or just can’t find the right one for your Birthday Party, well add an action or obstacle to your relay race.
Here are some fun examples:
– Use large boxes of cloth tunnels to crawl through on the way to and from the half way mark.
– At the half way point have them pop a ball or break a water balloon (if warm weather) before continuing.
– At the half way point have them hop on 1 foot 3 times.
– At the Half way point have them successful toss a ball, beanbag or sponge into a bucket
– Instead of running during the race have them sit on a bounce ball and bounce their way around the course
For young children ages the goal is to keep it simple and fun, so if you need to add a fun game to your child’s Birthday Party consider a Relay Race and adjust it to fit your age group and child’s interest.
Sarah – The Party Game Ideas Lady