Sports Day Activities for Primary School

primary school sports day field

Organising your Primary School Sports Day can be a daunting task. You need to organise activities and games that suit the age of children in your classes as well as create a fun and inclusive day that the teachers, parents and carers and children will all enjoy.

We have covered a whole range of different aspects of planning your Sports Day to make sure it goes without a hitch. Click the links below to be taken to the relevant section, or click here to view all the sports day games and equipment that you can buy now for next day delivery.

> Sports Day Games and Activities for Primary School

> Sports Days for Primary Schools: Key Stage 1

> Sports Days for Primary Schools: Key Stage 2

> Sports Day Planning Check List

> Tips for a Successful Sports Day

> Sports Day Activities for Secondary School

> Sports Day Activities for Adults

You may also be interested in: > Planning a School Fair or Fete

Organising Primary School Sports Day Games

key stage 1 primary school children sports day
Here is a full list of different ideas for school sports days, specifically designed to work well at primary school age - 5 - 11 years. Further down we have separated these into 'Key Stage 1' and 'Key Stage 2' specific games so you can tailor sports day to your needs. Or you can use some of the games adapted for a 'whole school' sports day. Whatever you do - just make sure you read our top tips for a successful sports day to make sure it all goes swimmingly.

Sports Days for Primary Schools: Key Stage 1

We have come up with a whole variety of different sports day games and activities more suitable for Key Stage 1 level of primary school - ages 5 - 7. Where plenty of games and activities can be adapted these are specific to this age group. Sports day games and activities for key stage 1 need to be shorter and more accessible for the very youngest in this age group. Prizes, awards or certificates should be available for all making sure that everyone feels they have achieved on the day. Most of these activities we have given ways to 'score' which could work well for teams - giving one team a prize as the overall winner after all the activities. For younger children you may just want to award individual prizes as you go along and a 'taking part' certificate or award for everyone at the end.

  • Obstacle Course for Young Children
  • Tin Can Alley - Throwing Game
  • Hot Summer Sports Days - Water Fun
  • Parachute Games

Obstacle Course

target practice using Tin Can Alley
To make an obstacle course suitable for younger pupils you can include as many or as few of the following activities. To make it varied, try at least one running, one throwing, one zig-zag and one hopping motion. To make it more fun for little ones, you could make everything fit a theme. A few examples of themes that work well with these sorts of activities;
  • Pirates
  • Under the Sea
  • Circus
  • In the Jungle

We would recommend a minimum of four parts to make it into a decent length course:
  • Hula Hoop Hop - place hoops on the ground and make the hop from one to the other. To make it slightly harder make sure there is a gap between them so they need to use them like stepping stones.

  • Tunnel - create a tunnel using a play tunnel or by placing chairs or benches next to each other with a blanket draped over the top.

  • Slalom - using cricket stumps, rounders posts or even slalom poles - see below - you can create a slalom section they need to weave in and out of.

  • Skipping Rope Thread - using a quoit or other medium size ring and a skipping rope, lay the rope along the ground and make each child thread the hoop or ring over the skipping rope to the end to get to the next obstacle.

  • Bucket Run - grabbing a bean bag from one place they need to run to a bucket placed a little distance away and drop the bean bag in.

  • Bean Bag Toss - again using a bucket and a bean bag - they need to throw a bean bag into a bucket. You would set different distances if you have different ages using the same course.

  • Chair Crawl - using chairs or hurdles if you have them, set up a zig zag pattern and the children need to crawl through each chair or hurdle in turn to get to the next apparatus.

  • Hop 'Til You Drop - create a series of cones or markers that the children need to hop between.

  • Low Tightrope Walk - so holding a 'circus' pole - a pool noodle, slalom pole or any other pole will do - make the children walk along a tightrope drawn in chalk or made with a line of tape. You could also use a painted line if you have them on your field already.

  • Tin Can Alley

    target practice using Tin Can Alley
    Each child throws three bean bags at the tins set up in a pyramid shape. The aim is to get the cans knocked over is as few throws as possible. For a team game, you could set up two games and the team to have all their players succeed in knocking all the cans down first wins or gets additional bonus points.

    Players: Teams or Individuals

    Scoring Points: For each can knocked down, the player gains 1 point. If all the cans are knocked down, the points can be tripled. You could add a ten point bonus for getting them all down in one or two throws. For team games, the team who has all players knock the cans over the quickest will core an extra bonus point or points.

    Hot Summer Sports Days - Water Fun

    water balloons on a sports day field
    There are a number of different games you can play that involve water - some wetter than others! Just make sure you inform all parents and guardians as to your wet sports plans just so they are prepared for a potentially soggy child come home time. For the really little ones, we would recommend getting parents to send a small towel and change of clothes in. All these are weather dependant of course. We would not advise playing water sports games on a chilly day!

    Water Balloon Passage:

    Aim: For each team to collect as many water balloons as possib le within a chosen time limit.
    All children form a 'tunnel' by standing in two lines facing each other with their hands up. There should be two buckets at each end - one empty and one with water balloons in. The child at the end of the tunnel closest to the empty bucket must run down the tunnel, collect a balloon and then run back down the tunnel and drop it into the bucket - then they run around the outside of the tunnel and join at the other end. Make sure the buckets aren't too close to the tunnel . You may need to move them as the children leave one end of the tunnel and join the other.
    Players: Teams or Individuals (if playing as individuals just form one tunnel)
    Scoring Points: You can have a time limit on the game - this can depend on how many children you have playing. Give one point per balloon safely deposited in the bucket at the end (without being broken!) If playing as individuals then you can score points or just give an award to everyone who completes the 'course'.
    Sponge Bob Race:

    Aim: Each team must collect as much water in one bucket, within a set time. You can also set a level on the bucket the team needs to reach to win - instead of using time.
    Place one bucket containing sponges at one end of the course (this can just be a straight line) and one with just water in. Children soak water up with one sponge and run down the course and squeeze it into the empty one.
    Why is it called 'Sponge Bob' - to make this more fun, find an old pair of shorts, shirt, tie, and a pair of black boots. Oversized clothes make this harder (and funnier)! Each child needs to dress up as 'Sponge Bob' to run the course. Get two sets and the next child in line can be getting dressed up while the other one is collecting water. As soon as the next player is dressed they take over while the current player has to undress and the next player gets dressed and so on.
    Players: Teams or Individuals (if playing as individuals just form one tunnel)
    Scoring Points: You can have a time limit on the game - this can depend on how many children you have playing. Give one point per balloon safely deposited in the bucket at the end (without being broken!) If playing as individuals then you can score points or just give an award to everyone who completes the 'course'.
    Once I Caught a Fish Alive!

    Aim: Just like the nursery rhyme, children need to catch the numbered fish in a paddling pool - in number order; 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
    You will need a 'rod' with a piece of string and a magnet tied to one end. You will then need a number of fish floating around in a paddling pool with iron or nickel paper clips on (so the magnet can pull them out). This can be a dry or a wet game. If you can't find plastic fish, try laminating fish or using plastic balls (you could tape fins on if you really want them to look like fish). Alternatively you could use an empty pool with paper fish. For that wet element you could have 'splashers' with small water pistols to shoot at the players to put them off.
    Players: Teams or Individuals. When playing as a team, the first player with catch fish '1', then the second fish '2' and so on.
    Scoring Points: Score five points each time they successfully fish out all 5 fish. You can then give them one point per fish once they have completed all five the first time round.
    Parachute Games

    playing parachute games
    Parachute games can add a fun element to your sports day that is much less competitive than other games. If you want something that will really involve everyone and perhaps help those a little less athletic join in, these are the perfect option.

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    Sports Days for Primary Schools: Key Stage 2

    In key stage 2 sports days you may want to incorporate some more tricky activities, races and games. Here are some great ideas that will challenge your 6 to 11 year old pupils;

    • Basketball or Netball Skills Game
    • Key Stage 2 Obstacle Course

    Basketball or Netball skills

    basketball and netball skills sports day games
    Shooting Hoops:

    Aim: To get as many balls through the hoop in 2/3/4 or 5 minutes
    (the time limit is entirely up to you).

    Players: Teams or Individuals

    Make sure all children in the team get at least one go. It is a good idea to have two netball posts or basketball stands out if you have a number of children.

    Scoring Points: Players gain 1 point for each ball that goes through the hoop.

    Distance Game:

    You can get players to take it in turns to shoot from a set line/distance from the hoop. Then move the marker further from the hoop. each time a player misses they are out - with the winner being the last man standing. You can use a skipping rope as the line or a set of line sdrawnon the ground with chalk - whichever is easiest.

    Relay Race Game:

    Play two teams against eachother with their own net each. Players need to shoot hoops and once they have scored one, run to the back of the queue. Depending on the number of players you could mak everyone go twice before declaring the winners as the team to have all players complete a hoop first.

    **Key Stage 1 Adaptation: lower the hoop height to make it easier to get the basket in.**

    Obstacle Course

    key stage 2 obstacle course games
    Using a range of your school sports equipment you can make an exciting obstacle course for older children.

    Here are some ideas for creating a varied and fun course which will offer a challenge to older children.

    • Hula hoops: Step inside hula-hoops laying on the ground and pull them up and over their heads
    • Cargo Net: Suspend a cargo net or parachute over two benches, or pin down either side with benches or weights along the floor. Make the children scramble through on their hands and knees - or for an extra challenge, if you can fix the net tightly they can pull themselves through on their backs!
    • Fast Feet: using an obstacle course ladder, they need to run in and out of each run along teh floor on their tiptoes as fast as they can possibly go.
    • Long school benches: Walk along the top or cross over the bench in a zig zag pattern to reach the other end
    • Skipping rope: Skip five times on the spot
    • Mini Hurdles: Run over the hurdles and run to the cone at the end of the course to tag the next team player.

    Players: Teams or Individuals

    Scoring Points: Teams gain point for everyone successfully through the course, if playing as individuals; gain one point if they make it through each part of the course dropping points if they skip a section.

    obstacle course agility ladder add to cart button

    Water Challenge

    water ballons in water challenge
    Each child takes a turn to collect a cup full of water, balance it on their head, take it around a series of cones and put the water in the bucket at the end. The bucket can have corresponding markers to cups.

    Players: Team Race

    Scoring Points: Players gain 1 point per cup in the bucket. Or, players can balance a water balloon on their head or on flat on their hand, and the team with the most (still full) balloons in the bucket at the end wins a total of twn points or one point per balloon.

    Target Toss

    showing target practice using Target Toss
    Players: Teams or Individuals

    Scoring Points: The points
    How far can you throw the dart/velco ball?

    Players: Teams or Individuals

    Scoring Points:
    Players gain 1 point per marker length.

    Hockey dribble

    image of hockey stick and ball

    Dribble the ball around the cones and run back along the length of the cones to tag the next team player.
    Players gain 1 point for each completed course.

    Standing long jump

    example of Standing Long Jump

    Each child takes a turn at a long jump. Add markers to the floor to measure how far they've jumped, gaining points for each marker reached.

    Ball Catch

    child catching a ball

    Using a tennis ball the children in the team form a circle at arms length from each other and throw the ball to the next child.
    1 point is gained per catch.

    Goal Challenge

    child kicking a football

    You can either use a football goal with dedicated targets, scoring points for each goal scored, or mark your own football goal with customised targets.
    1 point is gained per goal.

    Traditional Sports Day Races for Primary Schools

    There are a number of classic sports day races that must not be forgotten! These are all well suited to any age, and you can make the course length longer for older children or shorter for younger children to make it harder or easier for them.

    Egg and spoon race

    If the egg drops, pick it up and carry on.
    1 point per child round.

    child playing egg and spoon race

    Relay race

    Children run to the cone and back, pass the baton to the next child ready to take their turn.
    Players gain 1 point for each completed course.

    children playing in relay race

    Three legged race

    With their ankles tied together, 2 children work together to run the length of the course.
    1 point is gained per pair through the course.

    children playing in three legged race

    Sack race

    Children jump down the course in a sack - hoding onto the top edge as they jump. The first to the finish line wins. Traditionally set up in a straight line although you can make the course curved to make it longer or weave in and out of obstacles to make it harder.

    Sacks will need to be well suited for the age of child. You can get lighter weight sacks - such as those in this party sports day set. These would be suitable for key stage one children, as they are slightly smaller and therefore won't drown smaller children!

    More hard wearing heavy duty sacks are recommended for school use as you will be able to use them over and over again for many future sports days.
    Hessian sacks are the traditional material. There are some very colourful ones now available which can be used as colours for different teams.
    1 point is gained per child through the course.

    example of sacks for sack racing

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