Relay races are a fun activity for children, and they can happen almost anywhere, indoors or outdoors. They can be done with or without props and can be a great learning experience for children as they can learn skills like how to be a team player, how to communicate, how to accept defeat, how to strategize to win the game, etc.
Children can learn to be fit while finding a good way to spend their free time. Participating in these different kinds of relay races will also teach them to have a diverse set of skills and knowledge which would make them creative.
One additional benefit of relay races is that they will help children learn how to use their strengths to their advantage and how to make up for each other’s weaknesses.
Here are 40 interesting relay races that children can play and learn from!
Different Types of Relay Races for Children
These relay races will be more fun if there are a lot of children playing and if they can also be split into teams.
1. Just Simply Run
This is one of the most classic and fun relay races available wherein the children can be split into teams or play individually. In teams, they need to be positioned at different points in the field, and the first person needs to run and give the pass (which can be giving them a hi-fi, patting their back, holding their hand, etc.). The second person will do the same to the third, and so on, till the race is complete.
2. Leapfrog Race
The children will find it an interesting game to play, although it may be a bit tiring. Here the children simply have to jump like a leapfrog instead of running in the race. They have to jump from one place to another and give the pass to the next person to run. The jumping can be a bit exhausting, but it is worth the fun!
3. Rabbit Race
This is also a similar variation of the leapfrog race, except here, the children have to jump like a rabbit. The main difference is that the leapfrog jump is deeper, where they almost have to crouch and then jump, whereas, in this race, they have to put their fingers on their head to symbolize bunny ears and jump quickly. This is also easier compared to the leapfrog one.
4. Human Wheelbarrow Race
This is a hilarious game to play and will take a lot of muscle strength. This can be played with fewer players as well. One has to act as the wheelbarrow while the other holds their legs. The wheelbarrow can only move with hands which is going to be a bit difficult. Whichever team finishes first wins.
5. Hold Each Other Race
This will be a great way to improve team spirit as in this game, the children have to be made to stand with their backs facing each, and they have to lock their arms. They have to run to the end with their arms interlocked the whole time. A difficult variation of this game can be to make them sit with their backs to each other, then interlock arms and then ask them to stand up without letting go of one other and then complete the race. This game can increase the trust they have in each other!
6. Tied Legs Race
In this race, the legs of the children are tied, and they can only jump and participate in the race. The finish line doesn’t have to be far in case they fall. This race doesn’t have to be played in teams and can be played individually. Playing this game will increase their coordination and muscle strength, especially in the legs.
7. Tied to Another/ Three Legs Race Race
This is a famous race which needs to be played in pairs where the players have to stand side by side. They can hold each other by putting their arms around the other or by holding the waist of the other. This way, there can be more support. The right leg of the first person and the left leg of the second person will be tied. They have to coordinate and finish the race.
8. Crab Walk Race
Crabs are known for their unique walking style as they walk sideways. The first variation of this race is also done like that, and the relay race course shouldn’t have any obstacles so that no one falls or gets injured. The second variation is a bit more difficult as the person has to get in the crab position and finish the race. This can be done in teams or individual players.
9. Over Under Race
Here the children have to stand in a line, and then the first person will pass the ball or an object under the legs to the next person, and then that person goes and stands at the back. And so on, the game proceeds. Then after the first person comes to the front again, the ball or object is now passed over their head. The same process is followed where the first person needs to come to the front for the race to be over. The team who does this the fastest wins the race.
10. Tunnel Race
The children have to stand in lines with their legs apart. The first person needs to crawl under the human tunnel till he/she reaches the last person and then get up and join the tunnel. When the first person’s turn comes again, the game is over, and whichever team does this first will win.
11. Don’t Use Your Hands
In this game, the players have to run to the finish line and lie down on the ground, put their hands across their chest, and they have to get back up without using their hands. After they get up, they have to run back to the finish line. Whoever does this best will win. In the relay version, whichever team does this correctly with all the players wins.
12. Spider Race
This is a game that requires coordination and cooperation between the players. The children will need to be in pairs with their backs facing each other. They have to link their arms and run towards the line. After they touch that line, they have to run back to the start with the other person’s help. While running forward, only one person can see the goal, and while running backward, the same thing happens. Whichever team finishes first wins.
13. Foot-By-Foot Race
This is an interesting relay race where the children cannot run, but they can only put one foot in front of another and walk quickly. They need to balance themselves so that they can do this quickly. They can either play this in teams or individually. The first player or team that reaches the line and then gets back to the start wins.
14. Backward Race
This simple race can be a good activity to spend quality time with your children. The children can play this game individually, and it is pretty straightforward. However, if they play this for a long time, they might feel dizzy, so it is better to participate in this race for brief periods of time.
15. Hopping Race
This can be a game to increase balance because children have to hop using only one leg. To make it more interesting, they can be given an object to carry, and they can be allowed to place their legs on the floor/ shift legs only for a specified number of times. And if they exceed that number, they need to start again. This will help them improve their planning skills because before they start, they can decide at what distance they will switch legs or take a rest.
Relay Races Requiring Props
Although these relay races require specific props, feel free to improvise them or change the rules of the game to fit your convenience.
16. Egg and Spoon
This egg and a spoon game increase their concentration, hand-eye coordination, and balance. The children need to put the spoon in their mouth, and a fake egg or a real one can be placed on it. They need to run without the spoon/ egg falling from their mouths and finish the race. This is one of the classic relay races that can be played on almost any occasion, like birthday parties, school sports days, family gatherings, etc.
17. Pass Hula Hoops
Although you need to buy big hula hoops to play this game, it is absolutely worth it. Many different variations of this game are available. In one variation, the hoops can be placed in the middle of the ground, and the children have to race towards it, wear it from their head, drop it to the ground, and then run to the finish line.
18. Put the Penny
You can use simple empty egg cartons, and the children can be given coins/pennies to run and put in the carton. This can be played in teams or individually, wherein the team that gets the most number of coins in a specific time or number of races wins. Although this relay race requires props, you don’t have to invest much and can play this game with household articles.
19. Carry the Water Bucket Race
This race will increase balance, arm strength, and coordination. The children have to carry a bucket of water or two buckets as well, to the finish line or to the next person in the line. They need to ensure that the water doesn’t spill as the team/ individual with the greater level of water will win the race. However, one disadvantage is that this game shouldn’t be played indoors because it can make the floor slippery, which can lead to falls.
20. Potato Sack Race
This can be a fun race to play, but this should also be played outside only. All you need are sacks made of jute or any other material, and the children need to put their legs inside and basically jump with the potato sack and reach the finish line. This can be a fun game to play, but be careful because they might trip.
21. Hold the Balloon between the Legs and Race
Children can carry air-filled or water-filled balloons in between their legs or knees and then run to the finish line. If the balloon is dropped, then they have to start over and then go to the finish line. Overall, this can be a fun game to play, especially if you are using water balloons on a sunny day!
22. Hold the Balloon Between the Forehead/elbows Race
This game is a more complex version as it requires at least 2 people to play. Instead of carrying the balloon between their legs, they need to balance it between the heads/elbows of two children. They have to stand facing each other, and the balloon will be placed between their foreheads. and they have to move in a coordinated manner so that the balloon doesn’t drop.
23. Fill the Water Bucket Race
This relay race doesn’t require any special props except a sponge. The children will be given an empty bucket with a line marked till, which they have to fill the bucket. They will have another bucket full of water at the starting line. They have to dip the sponge given to them inside that and then carry it quickly to the empty bucket and squeeze it there to fill it. Whoever fills it first wins the game!
24. Mummy Wrap Race
This race requires toilet paper and a lot of it. The children can play this game during Halloween to make it more interesting. They have to wrap themselves in toilet paper so that they appear like an Egyptian mummy, and they have to run the race. Another variation can be to have the team cover up one person and have that mummied person finish the race. Out of the teams, whoever finishes first wins.
25. Wear Too Many Clothes Race
In this game, they need to wear too many layers of clothing, and this will, at some point, get difficult to run in as it will be heavy. They need to finish the race wearing all these clothes, and whoever finishes first will win. A relay version can be that when they reach the next person, they are allowed to remove one piece of clothing and then complete the second round more comfortably. They can have as many relays before they complete the game and declare the winner based on who has the fewest clothing.
26. Fake Pony Ride Race
To play this race, you need to have props ready. You can buy the ponies, which will be available on rods or wooden sticks, and the children have to put their legs over them on both sides and run the race. This will slow them down because of the length of the pony stick. They can also alternately carry the long sticks and run the race. This will be amazing to watch!
27. Pass the Torch
This is the classic relay race that has been played through generations. The children will need to be in teams of 4 or 5, and each team will be given a torch (or any object) to pass to the end. Each member has to be placed at specific points, and the first person will be given the torch, and he/she has to race towards the second and give the torch. The second person will give it to the third, and so on. The team that gets the torch to the finish line first wins.
28. Newspaper Race
If you have some newspapers, this game can be a good way to spend your time. There are 2 variations. In the first one, you will be given a couple of sheets, and you need to place the newspaper in front and then step on it and take it back after you keep the second sheet in front and move forward. In the other variation, you can keep newspapers in a straight line and make sure to run only on it, and if you step outside, you lose.
29. Dress up Race
This will be a fun game to watch and participate in. Fill two boxes with clothes and make two teams. The first member of the team should run to the box, put on a clothing item, and then run back to the line. After he/she reaches the start line, the next person will do the same, and this process is repeated until the players wear all the clothes. Whichever team empties the box first and reaches the finish line wins the race.
30. Broom Relay Race
This is a simple race that can be interesting. You can have the children run, but in the middle of the course, you can keep a broom between two chairs such that children can slide/crawl under that. They have to do it without touching the broom and then complete the race to the finish line. The team that finishes first without touching the broom wins.
31. Hip-Hop Ball Race
This can be a great game to play because they have to jump using the hip-hop ball while sitting on it. This game is best played on softer grounds like lawns so that even if they fall, they don’t sustain injuries. They should not get down from the ball, and they need to get to the finish line as fast as they can.
32. Pass the Ball
In this relay race, the children are split into two teams, and each team is given a bat and a ball. The players are made to stand in specific positions on the ground. The first player has to hit the ball and run to the second person while passing the ball and bat to that person. The second player will hit the ball and run with it to the third person and pass both to the next one. The players are allowed to hit the ball many times while they get it to the next person. The team that gets the ball across the finish line with the player wins.
33. Soccer Relay
This is a variation of the previous game wherein instead of hitting the ball with the bat, they need to pass the soccer ball using their legs to the next person. This game can be made more interesting by having cones in the middle and having them run around the hurdles while passing the ball. If the soccer ball sways away from the player, then the player has to restart from the nearest hurdle. This way, whichever team/player finishes first will win.
34. Obstacle Relay
This is the classic relay race that even professionals play. Since this is a relay race for children, you can have simple obstacles like skipping ropes, hula hoops, basketball hoops, balls, cones, spoons, eggs, etc. You can place them at different points in the race field, and as they reach that area, they have to take up and finish that hurdle till the next hurdle starts. This can be played individually to increase the fun. The hurdles can be like skipping 5 times and then running, passing the ball through the cone, putting on the hoops and removing it 5 times, etc.
35. Popcorn on The Head Relay Races
You will need big boxes of popcorn, and they need to have flat bases so that they can be balanced on the head. The first team member will run with the popcorn balanced on the head and reach the second person and give the box, and the second person will run and give it to the third, and so on. In the end, whichever team has the most popcorn wins the game. The winners get to eat the popcorn that remains, which can serve as motivation!
36. The Worm Race
This race can be played indoors only because the children have to crawl on the floor amidst the obstacles and reach the goal. The obstacles can be simple ones like pillows, bottles, shoes, etc., kept on the floor at different spots. They can also try squirming their way out of the obstacles. The person who clears all the obstacles first wins the race!
37. Keep the Balloon in The Air
This is a difficult race because the children have to hit the balloon and balance it with their heads in such a way that it doesn’t touch the ground. They cannot use any other body part to touch the balloon. However, to practice this balancing, they can try this with their hands at first. If they can successfully keep the balloon in the air by hitting it, they can proceed to hit it with the head.
38. Pretend to Be a Waiter
This can be another fun game to play because they can act as waiters in a restaurant and role play in this race. They will be given a plate with a ping pong ball to balance. They have to walk to the customer/ end line without dropping the ball, which they can pretend is the food. If they drop it, they have to go back to the start, get the food (ball) again and start the race. An easy level can be to hold the plate in their hands, and a difficult level can be to hold the plate on their shoulders while supporting it with their hand. Let’s see how many orders they can take!
39. Sort It Out Relay Race (socks)
This can be played if you have several sets of socks that look different. The children can be split into teams, and the pairs of socks can be mixed in two boxes such that the pairs are inside the same box. Each team will be given one box, and every player must run to the box as quickly as they can and sort out one pair of socks. Then, they have to run back to the start, and the next person can run. The first team to match all the pairs wins the game.
40. Paper Airplane Relay Race
Making paper airplanes and rockets and playing with them must be such a nostalgic memory for parents. They can teach their children to make airplanes using paper and how to make them fly. The children can be made to stand in lines if they are a team. The first person has to throw the rocket to where the second person is, and the second person has to run to where it lands and throw it to the third, and so on. The team where the last person has the rocket first wins!
Playing relay races can have several benefits for children in addition to being a fun pastime activity. They can learn teamwork, solve problems, become athletic, learn to work smart, etc.
Several relay races can be played without props, like the classic relay race, hopping, leapfrog race, bunny race, over and under race, human tunnel race, etc.
There are some that would be fun because it requires props. These are hula hoops races, balloon races, potato sack races, balancing spoon and egg races, obstacle courses, etc.
These are activities that can bring children together and reduce their screen time. These games can be made more interesting if some adults participate in them to motivate the children.
Overall, play these relay races with your family and spend some quality, productive time together!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Benefits to Children Playing Relay Races?
Definitely! In addition to having a good time, children implicitly learn several skills like team playing, following rules, problem-solving, strategizing, becoming athletic, hand-eye coordination, improving balance, learning how to help others, accepting defeat, etc. Therefore, these relay races can cognitively stimulate them while making them physically active.
What Are Some Relay Races that Can Be Played without Props?
Some relay races can be played without props, like the classic relay race, hopping race, rabbit race, leapfrog race, human wheelbarrow race, human tunnel race, over and under race, spider race, foot by foot race, etc. These games are more suited to be played in large, open spaces than indoor spaces.