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Ten Family Relay Race Game Ideas

Karen lives in a suburb of Columbus, OH, and is a stay-at-home mom with five kids.

Team Huddle for Family Relay Races

Team Huddle for Family Relay Races

Getting Ready for Our Family Relay Races

Today, our schedule was pretty empty. I asked the kids what they wanted to do this evening as a family. The kids yelled in unison, “Family relays!”

Two years ago my husband was out of town for a trip. The kids and I came up with the first annual family relay races. My children were ages: five, five, four, four, and less than one at the time. We divided up into two teams. Each team had a five-year-old and a four-year-old. The baby cheered on both teams.

The kids are now two years older and today will be the third annual relays. To prepare for today’s festivities, I suggested the kids get a piece of paper and start brainstorming ideas. They later handed me a paper with ten relay race ideas.

I reviewed the ideas, modified them a bit, and assigned teams. The field was created. The props, snacks, and clothes were set aside. The camera is ready.

The kids put on their team uniforms, also known as swimsuits. We reviewed the rules:

  • Play fair
  • No crying
  • Have fun

We began the games with a group huddle and exclaimed, “Let the games begin!”

Dress Up Like Your Mom and Run

Dress Up Like Your Mom and Run

10 Fun Ideas for Family Relay Races

1. Dress Up Like Your Mom

In honor of Mother’s Day weekend, we opened the games with Dress Up Like Your Mom. I am a stay-at-home mom and am generally dressed in workout clothes. The relay entailed dressing up in a tank top, running shorts, and a pair of my gym shoes and running to a turnaround point and back. You must then undress (with or without your partner’s help) and then the partner must dress up in mom’s clothes. After they are completely dressed, they must run to the turnaround point and back. The winner completes the course first.

Apple Eating Contest

Apple Eating Contest

2. Apple-Eating Contest Relay

We like to include a few eating relays during the events. This year our first eating event involved how quickly can your team eat an apple. They pass the apple back and forth until the apple is deemed complete. The winner eats the apple the fastest.

Nothing like slipping in some healthy eating during games!

Time for a Three-Legged Race!

Time for a Three-Legged Race!

3. The Traditional Three-Legged Race Relay

For a traditional three-legged race, two of the legs are tied together. We chose to stick both legs in one sock. As a group, they must run, hobble, or drag their partner to the turnaround point and back. The winner completes the course first.

The three-legged race usually is one of the funniest to watch.

Can You Make The Other Team Laugh?

Can You Make The Other Team Laugh?

4. Make The Other Team Laugh

Each team will try to make the other team laugh. The goal is to keep a straight face. Teams are timed to see how long it takes until they can’t hold it in any longer and bust out laughing. The longer you can hold out, your team will win.

The crazier the better for this event!

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Can You Eat a Popsicle While Your Partner Holds It?

Can You Eat a Popsicle While Your Partner Holds It?

5. Popsicle-Eating Relay Race

Each team is given two popsicles. You must hold your partner’s popsicle while trying to eat the one they are holding for you. The team to eat both popsicles first, wins.

This race is a mess, but a blast to watch!

Sidewalk Chalk Drawings

Sidewalk Chalk Drawings

6. Chalk-Drawing Contest

Each team traces their partner's body outline with chalk on the sidewalk. The goal is to draw the most creative picture of your partner. Drawings are judged for creativity. The chalk-drawing event usually results in an ‘everyone wins’ vote!

Assuming no rain, those who pass by can enjoy the artwork for days.

Water Bucket Head Dump Relay Race

Water Bucket Head Dump Relay Race

7. Water Bucket Relay

Who doesn’t love getting wet on a hot day? My kids love the water. The water bucket event involved running to the turnaround point, dumping a bucket of water on your head and returning to your partner. Your partner does the same. The winning team completes the course first.

This is a fan and participant favorite!

Three Paper Plate Walk Relay Race

Three Paper Plate Walk Relay Race

8. Paper Plate Walk

Your partner must walk to the turnaround spot and back only stepping on three paper plates. The partner must quickly alternate paper plates under the feet. Both partners must take a turn. The winner completes the course and stays on the plates.

Have a few spare plates ready. Paper works better than Styrofoam.

Eat Popcorn Without Your Hands!

Eat Popcorn Without Your Hands!

9. Popcorn Eating Contest

One plate of popcorn is placed in front of each team. Teams will eat from their plate as quickly as possible, not using hands. The winner is determined by which team has eaten the most after one minute.

Be ready for some head bumping and some laughs.

Pushing Kids In Baby Cars Relay Race

Pushing Kids In Baby Cars Relay Race

10. Baby Car Relay

Pushing your partner in a baby car is not a challenge. Pushing your partner's baby car in the grass is. To make the game even sillier, kids are dressed in hats and gloves. Partners can be pushed or pulled to the turnaround point and back. The winning team completes the course first.

Pulling is easier, but we never let the kids onto this trick!

Family Outdoor Activity Success!

The kids had a blast. The two-year-old had fun watching and trying to participate. He even got pushed in the baby car races. My husband and I could not stop laughing between organizing the next event and watching the kids fall over. It is hard to take pictures when you are laughing!

Family relay races have become a family tradition. In a few years, my husband and I will not need to organize and assist in the games. We might be on a team.

The kids anxiously talked about doing the relays all day. They fondly talked about having done the relays all night.

I am anxious for the next time the course is set up, the huddle is formed, and “Let the games begin” is yelled!

Family relay races are an outdoor family activity that is here to stay!


Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on August 20, 2012:

Thanks, spangen. Our kids had so much fun doing the relays. I really enjoyed writing about it hoping that atleast one more family would have as much fun. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, spangen! I appreciate it!

spangen from Woodstock, Ontario on August 20, 2012:

You did an amazing presentation and what fun! You made me get up and make a great day with your ideas just to give it all a go. So many laughs. Would love to see more hubs from you!

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on August 15, 2012:

Allisa- We also did family relays at our vacation.

Our kids enjoyed pairing up with the younger kids and doing challenges and races together. My kids' favorite was the balloon pop. Each child ties a balloon around their ankle and you try NOT to have yours popped while you pop others. Check out my link for some cool pictures taken during the family activities on vacation. Thanks for reading and commenting, Allisa! Best of luck!

allisa anderson on August 15, 2012:

do you have any other ideas for ages 2 to teenage girls and boys that seams to be the problem at my houseTHE TEENAGERS

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 14, 2012:

Thanks, sofs! The kids had a blast!

Sophie on May 14, 2012:

Wow! that was some fun you had... you guys sound like a great team! Great Hub!

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 14, 2012:

Thanks, Cheds. They were just looking at the video again and teasing my daughter for her comment on the baby cars!

Heather Henley from Buckfield, Maine on May 14, 2012:

This is SO awesome! Your kids will always have fond memories to look back on.

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 13, 2012:

Thanks for reading, randomcreative. They had so much fun! I had trouble narrowing down which pictures to include!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 13, 2012:

Great job! This looks like so much fun. I love all of the photos. This is a great resource for parents and teachers.

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 13, 2012:

My family used to do this with the grandkids when they were younger. I remembered this and tried with my kids a few years ago. They absolutely loved it! Thanks for taking the time to read, Sharyn!

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on May 13, 2012:

Hi Karen ~ I really loved this! Great idea, presentation, photos and video. About seven years ago, my family had a summer time gathering with old neighbors that had since moved away. Yes, there were many kids involved too but us "ADULT KIDS" that grew up together many years ago also played fun kid games. We did relays, leg wrestling, carrying an egg on a spoon, hoola hoop, red light/green light, and more silly stuff. And of course everything was videotaped. Gosh, we had a blast!

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 13, 2012:

Thanks, Just Ask Susan. My daughter got a little crazy in the video! I am looking forward to the two year old getting to do more. This time, he did a lot of the eating games! Thanks for reading!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on May 13, 2012:

This looks like so much fun! I enjoyed reading about your day and how it was planned. The video at the end was wonderful.

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 13, 2012:

The relay is perfect for my group. It definitely does not work for every family dynamic. Thanks for commenting, Natashalh!

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 13, 2012:

Thanks, Rtalloni! They had so much fun! I love when the kids are just having a blast outside! Thanks for reading and commenting.

Natasha from Hawaii on May 13, 2012:

They all look like they're having so much fun! I've never done any sort of family relay, but my only sibling is a younger sister who's almost eight years my junior. However, during my 3rd and 4th grade summers, we had two Irish kids (two each summer) my age staying with us, so I wasn't totally deprived of same-age kid companionship. A family relay is a great idea when you have enough folks to do it.

RTalloni on May 12, 2012:

What a great bunch of kids--games, too! :)

Seriously, this is a great hub. We worked outside this afternoon and so enjoyed hearing the neighbors kids playing. I think their parents must've read your hub on these outdoor family activities!

Karen Lackey (author) from Ohio on May 12, 2012:

Thanks, angela_michelle. They had a blast!

Angela Michelle Schultz from United States on May 12, 2012:

What fun, and awesome ideas!! Great job. Your kids are super cute!

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