Field day has always been a childhood favorite. Since we didn’t get to participate in field day at school, we decided to make an at-home mini field day with another family of our closest friends.
Taking into consideration that this version was better than my kids’ alternative of, well — none, I didn’t go too elaborate on the plans, and it worked out great. It is easy to make things into obstacles, challenges, or a game; even with the ages in our group ranging from age 9 to 13.
Look around your home and use what you have; there’s no need to spend a lot of money. No hulas? Arrange leftover string into a circle. No rope ladder? Arrange jump rope in a ladder formation, or get creative with flat cardboard and masking tape. Substitute what you do have to make it work.
My only big investment was a 5-in-1 fun combo set, which included the horseshoes, lawn darts, and even a volleyball net. I purchased this last year for at-home P.E. and reused it for this field day. We make use of it throughout the summer, so I didn’t mind spending money on it. Another option is just purchasing one of the items from the combo set, such as the horseshoes, for a new, fun (and less expensive) twist (see link below).
Everything else on my supply list came from repurposed items I gathered from around my house, or from the dollar store. I also tested out each challenge ahead of time to make sure it worked for our group of kids.
- Photo Booth Props/Background – A variety of these are at the dollar stores or get out the construction paper, scissors, and markers to make your own – let the kids join in.
- Blindfolds – Scarfs, bandannas, or even a long tube sock.
- Cones – Available at the dollar stores or check out your recycling for substitutes (boxes, plastic 2-liter bottles with added weight, etc).
- Stool – I used the kids’ bathroom stool.
- Rope ladder – I snagged the ladder off the kid’s playground, but something similar can be laid out with jump ropes, or tape on flat cardboard. The idea is just to give them more movement.
- Soccer Ball/Goal – Alternatives such as shooting a basketball or bouncing a rubber ball would work.
- Buckets – Available at the dollar stores. I used our car wash buckets.
- Sponges – Available at the dollar stores or use pool balls. Anything that will absorb water will work.
- Horseshoes – These are fun to have around all the time. See the link above for an inexpensive set.
- Water balls – These are the balls used in the pool, or use bean bags if you already have them.
- Paper Plates or Frisbees – I had a surplus of frisbees because a local restaurant serves the kid’s meals on them, but you could use paper plates, or pick up some frisbees at the dollar store.
- Parachute – I finally got to use a fitted sheet that never seems to stay on the bed. It worked great as a parachute.
- Small Ball or Beach Ball – This is for the parachute so any type of ball that is softer will work. We used a whiffle ball.
- Water Gun – We all probably have at least one of these, or pick up one at the dollar store.
- Disposable Cups – Or just use some plastic cups already in the kitchen cabinet.
- Eggs – If you are concerned about the mess you can always use hard-boiled eggs.
- Spoon – A metal kitchen spoon will work fine.
- Small Pool or Sprinkler – Good for quick cook-down breaks, or fun afterward.
- Popsicles – It’s always amazing to see how excited kids get over simple popsicles.
Let the kids enjoy taking pictures at the photo booth before getting started. This gives the adults time to finish setting up and gives a photo opportunity before the kids are wet and sweaty. They can also take more pictures after the events for a fun comparison.
#1 Station – Minefield: This is using the obstacle course (#2) with partners, but not including the frisbee toss. One partner is blindfolded, and the other partner talks them through the obstacles. This is a good lesson on partnership, and also shows the necessity for clear and precise directions.
#2 Station – Obstacle Course: Arrange these obstacles for the kids to run through individually until completion.
- Frisbee Toss – Use 4 to 6 frisbees to knock down 4 to 5 cones spread out before moving to the next obstacle.
- Hula Jump – Hula hoops (or rope arranged in circles) to jump in and out.
- Hurdle – Use a small stool or obstacle to jump over.
- Ladder Knee Highs – Rope ladder (or something similar) to quickly high-knee through.
- Weighted Lawn Dart Toss – A safe and weighted inexpensive version is available (see link below), or use another hula (or circled rope) and throw a dart/ball into it before moving on.
- Soccer Goal – Kick a soccer ball into the goal for a finale, or use any similar ball with a goal/hoop.
#3 Station – Bucket Fill-Up: (a favorite) Create two teams and have them line up behind buckets spaced out for each team. Fill the buckets at the starting line with equal amounts of water, then put a sponge in each of those buckets. Space two empty buckets with lines drawn (for a stopping point) on the inside of both a little lower than the water line on the first two buckets. Space these about 25 feet away from the starting line buckets. The teams will use the sponge in the bucket at the starting line to absorb the water and transfer it to the empty bucket on the other end. The player will run back to the starting line and hand the sponge to the next teammate to do the same. The players will continue relaying the sponge until the water reaches the stop line.
#4 Station – Horseshoes: Let each child throw individually and see who gets the most ringers.
#5 Station – Water Ball Toss: Label 5 frisbees (or paper plates) with points starting at 10 and ending with 50. Place the water balls in a cup of water and toss them (or bean bags) onto the frisbee (or plate) to earn points.
#6 Station – Parachute: Have each child hold onto the edge of a fitted sheet. Throw the ball in the center and let them move the sheet up and down to toss it around. The goal is to keep it inside the sheet, but it’s fun to bounce it out, too.
#7 Station – Water Gun Tower: Stack plastic cups into a pyramid and let each child have a turn using the water gun to see how many cups they spray down in 15 seconds.
#8 Station – Egg/Spoon Relay: Old-fashioned egg and spoon race – balancing the egg on a kitchen spoon to see which team finishes first.
More fun for after the events or spaced out during for breaks:
- Kiddie Pool Cool Down Station
- Freeze Pops
Finish off with a fun movie to kick off summer and wind-down. The kids should hopefully be tired by now!
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