Of all the canceled activities, elementary students are probably most disappointed to be missing out on field day. Whether your school has races and ribbons, goes wet and wild, or rents blow-up slides and bouncy houses, field day is a time-honored and beloved tradition. While tug-of-war may be out of the question, there are actually plenty of field day activities kids can do at home. Check out our ideas for recreating field day in your own backyard:
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1. Bubble Station
Fill up a plastic kiddie pool with bubble solution. Provide a variety of wands (commercially produced or DIY—hula hoops, wire hangers, and pipe cleaners work well). For DIY bubble solution, mix six cups of water, one cup of dish soap, and half a cup of light corn syrup. Then let the kids make bubbles!
2. Ring Toss
There are tons of ways to do this carnival game at home. If you have small orange cones, use glow-in-the-dark necklaces for perfect size rings. You can also cut the middle out of paper plates and toss them onto a ruler stuck into the ground.
3. Ping Pong Shake
This activity is hilarious. Start with an empty tissue box. Cut two slits in the backside of the box and thread a belt or scarf through it. Secure it around the child’s waist with the box in the back. Fill the box with ping pong balls and challenge the child to shake them out.
4. Water Balloon Toss
You’ll need pairs of two to play, so match up parent-child or siblings. Fill up a bucket of water balloons. Partners stand across from each other, close together. One partner tosses the water balloon to the other person. On each subsequent turn, partners take a step back. Continue tossing until it breaks! How far can you go?
5. Obstacle Course
This one takes a little more effort, but kids will love a backyard obstacle course. Some of our favorite materials are PVC pipes (for DIY hurdles or limbo bars), pool noodles (bent to make a tunnel), long wooden boards (AKA balance beams), and hula hoops (for agility).
6. Sidewalk Chalk
If you’re not already on the sidewalk chalk bandwagon, now’s the time. Set up a bucket full of sidewalk chalk in your driveway and let the kids go to town. For a more organized activity, try this one with painter’s tape.
In the absence of potato sacks, you can easily recreate a sack race with pillowcases! Larger families can try a three-legged race. Teams of two race together with their inside legs tied together (use a scarf or the like). The old egg and spoon race works too, as you likely have those items at home.
8. Cup Stacking
For this game, you’ll need 21 plastic cups. To build the pyramid, start by placing six cups in a row close together. The next layer gets five and so on until you’re left with one at the top. Kids can compete against each other or a timer to see how fast they can stack.
Grab some old white t-shirts and let the kids in on this classic field day activity. Just follow the directions in the video. Wearing their new tie-dye tops will also help your at-home field day feel a little more special.
10. Pirate’s Treasure
If you have a sandbox, this is a great activity. Bury coins or small prizes for kids to dig up. A kiddie pool or large bin will also do in a pinch.
11. Bean Bag Challenges
There are all kinds of activities kids can try with a bean bag. Can they balance it on their head? Throw it up and catch it behind their back? Toss it into a target?
12. Track and Field Games
Families can challenge each other to a 100-meter dash or a throwing event. We recommend using a pool noodle as a javelin and a frisbee as a discus.
13. Scavenger Hunt
Check out our amazing list of scavenger hunts and pick one for your field day… or make up your own!
14. Slip and Slide
With some heavy-duty plastic sheeting from the hardware store, you can create your own slip and slide at home. Use landscaping anchor pins to secure it and then turn on the hose to wet the slide. For extra slipperiness, add a little baby soap!
15. Face Painting
Order a kit and then turn those kids into unicorns and superheroes. Not very artistic? Add some stencils to your cart.
Field day usually ends with a treat, so make sure the at-home version does, too. Popsicles are a great choice. Pick some up at the grocery store or make your own. We love this recipe for rainbow popsicles!
What are your ideas for field day at home? Share in the comments below!
Plus, The Best Educational Outdoor Toys.