Typically it is an outdoor, school-wide event in which students rotate through a series of fun games and activity stations.
The event can last from two hours to a whole day and, depending upon your space and staffing, students can participate all at once or come in shifts. A Field Day can be a community event as well.
Location and Set Up
Pick a location that is safe, accessible, and spacious. Establish a layout that will accommodate your activity stations.
- A large field or park is ideal, but with creativity a field day can work in smaller spaces as well.
- Try to have 3-10 activity stations; Consider space, time, and the number of participants.
- Make sure you have enough equipment for the number of participants at each station.
- Ideally most stations should be at least 50 feet x 20 feet, though many activities can be modified for smaller spaces.
- Use signs, cones, or chalk to separate and identify stations.
Creating Teams and Groups
- Decide in advance how you will split up participants. We suggest groups of 10-20.
- Create the same number of groups as you have stations and place each group at a different station.
- Each group should have at least one adult supervisor who rotates with it and each station should have one leader who remains stationary.
Each group should start at an assigned station and rotate through all of them.. Expect to dedicate 20-30 minutes to each station, depending on the size of the teams and the activities. Plan a rotation order and a system for queuing each rotation in advance.
- Rotation time should be based on the activity that is expected to take the longest. You can design the activities to all roughly fit in the same time period, or groups can repeat an activity or have a few minutes of free play while they wait to rotate.
- Remember to allot time for activity explanations and to rotate between stations.
- Each station should have a station leader who leads the activity for each group, keeps track of time so the activities finish on schedule, and knows where to send the group when it’s time to rotate.
Choose high-energy, inclusive activities that emphasize a variety of skills (e.g., speed, strategy, or teamwork) to play to various students' strengths.
- Use hoops or other markers to create a tic-tac-toe board at one end of the playing area.
- Designate a starting area and place participants into two teams of 1, 2, or 3 members
- Provide each team with three playing pieces of the same color (e.g. cones, beanbags, etc.).
- The first participant on each team races to the board, places a piece in a hoop, and returns to tag a teammate.
- Once all three pieces have been used, the following team member can move on of their pieces already on the board to try for 3 in a row.
- Play continues until one team achieves tic-tac-toe (three pieces in a row).
- Have the winning team reset the board for the next game.
- To add variety, have participants complete other locomotor movements to get to/from the board (e.g., hop, skip, gallop, crab walk).
- Set up an obstacle course with various stations (e.g. zigzag around cones, run sideways to another cone, jump rope five times, sprint to the line, crawl through teammates' legs, toss beanbags into a target, go through an agility ladder).
- Have participants move from station to station.
- Consider making multiple courses to promote more movement.
- Divide participants into teams.
- Walk the participants through each station to familiarize them with what they are to do.
- Start the first participant on each team.
- As a participant finishes, the next teammate takes off.
- The teams continue until all participants have completed the course; the goal is to complete it as quickly as possible.
- Each participant is given a scarf to hang from the back of their pants/shorts.
- Everyone is “It” and tries to take the scarf from other players.
- When a participant’s scarf is taken, they continue trying to get the scarf from other participants that still have one.
- The winner is the last participant with a scarf.
Volcanoes and Craters
- Divide participants into two teams.
- Scatter disc cones around the playing area, with points randomly up (volcanoes) or down (craters).
- For a set amount of time (e.g., two minutes), the teams compete to make all the cones volcanoes or craters.
- Each participant must run to and touch an out-of-bounds line before flipping another cone. Alternatively, they can do a jumping jack, run around the play area, do a push-up, etc., between flipping cones.
- At the end of the time, count the volcanoes and craters to determine the winning team, then reset and repeat.
- Have participants form a circle and hold on to the edges of the parachute.
- Designate a participant to be the leader and give the rest of the group instructions.
- The leader instructs participants to walk to the left, skip to the right, hold up high, crouch down low, shake the parachute gently, shake the parachute quickly, etc.
- Change leaders frequently.
- Alternate activities (teacher serves as leader):
- Have the participants hold the parachute way up high above their heads; teacher calls out two names of participants to run under the parachute, high five each other, and then run back out before the parachute comes down. Continue doing this until all the participants have taken their turn.
- Place soft balls on to the top of the parachute; wave the parachute up and down until all the balls fly off. Have participants run to collect them.
Giants, Wizards, Elves
- Split the class into two teams and designate two safety zones on either side of a playing area.
- Instruct each team to get into a huddle and quietly decide if they want to be giants, wizards, or elves.
- Explain that when the game begins, giants will put their hands up over their heads, wizards will put their hands out in front of them and wiggle their fingers, and elves will make pointy ears on their heads with their pointer fingers.
- Once teams have decided what they will be, they face each other in the center about a meter apart.
- The teacher counts to three, then the members of each team do the chosen action.
- Giants beat elves, elves beat wizards, and wizards beat giants.
- The team that wins chases the other team and tries to tag as many people as possible before the chased team gets to their safe zone.
- Participants who get tagged must join the other team.
- Play continues until everyone is on one team or until the teacher feels it’s necessary to move on.
Not in My House
- Divide participants into two even teams and place them on either side of a net/line.
- Teams cannot cross over the net/line.
- Each team is trying to “clean” their “house” by ensuring all balls are on the other team’s side (house).
- This is achieved by catching the balls as they come over and throwing them back as fast as possible.
- Play for a few minutes and then stop and review the cues to make sure appropriate throwing-and-catching skills are being used.