Relay races are a fun and engaging tradition in many families. However, unlike a regular race in which there’s a single winner, players compete together as a team. The players on the team must work together to finish the race as quickly as possible. In a traditional relay, the players take turns completing the race course. The team (or teams) whose players complete the race first wins. It can be kind of confusing if you’ve never seen a relay race. Here’s a great video of a 4X100M relay from the 2012 Olympics that may help you understand better.

Cooperation is key in relay races. Players must work together the best they can to complete the race as fast as possible. This makes it these races perfect for team-building activities and family gatherings. You can also mix your traditional running relays with creative relays if you and your family would enjoy a slower-paced game – all it takes is a bit of creativity. In this article, we’ll be discussing 15 of our favorite relay race ideas for your family (or friend) gatherings!

By the way, if you like outdoor games and races and want more entertaining ideas, make sure to check out our definitive guide on 106 yard games you can play.

Relay Race Ideas For Kids

A relay is a great way to teach kids the importance of teamwork while having some fun. They tend to be rather silly and not too competitive which makes these games perfect for the younger generations –  and we guarantee they’ll have a blast! In a relay, every kid is a part of a team. For more shy kids, this is a great way to instill some confidence in those who are too afraid to stand out from the crowd.

Below we’ve made a list of some of our favorite relay races for kids to play. All that these games take is some imagination and the willingness to be silly!

Basketball Race

One-on-one or team competition remain popular basketball gameplay choices. However, you can find group competition alternatives to traditional basketball. If you want both fun and a variation to regular basketball, various relay games can be fun and help improve your skills on the court.

What You’ll Need: 2 Basketballs

Don’t let the name of this race scare you; it has nothing to do with basketball skills! Here’s how it works: You divide the players into two teams. Each team is distributed across the ends of the race course.

For example, if there are 4 players on 1 team, player 1 and 3 would be on the start line while players 2 and 4 stand at the finish line. The same goes for the second team, as well.

The goal is to push the basketball from one end to the other using only your head. The next player then pushes it back to the start line and so on. The first team to have all their members complete the course is the winner. This activity is best done indoors on a smooth surface, making it easier to push the ball.

Don’t have 2 basketballs? No problem. Replace them with any ball that you have lying around (even a baseball would do).

‘Ball and Hula Relay’

For the “Ball and Hula Relay,” two teams stack 15 basketballs inside a hula hoop and race to fill a ball bag at the opposite end of the start line. After grabbing a ball, players run to the bag, put the ball inside and race back to the start line to tag the next person, who repeats the action. When one ball remains, the last player runs to the bag, puts the ball in the bag and brings the bag to their start line, putting all the balls back in the hoop. The team that properly stacks all of its basketballs inside the hoop first wins. From: Our Past Times

‘Passing Line Relay’

The “Passing Line Relay” lets players practice pivoting as they pass balls. After dividing into two teams, teams line up 5 to 7 feet apart. Using a bounce, chest or two-hand overhead pass, the first player in line turns around and passes the ball to the second player. The second player turns 180 degrees, steps once or more in any direction with the same foot and keeps his other foot in place on the floor. The second player passes the ball to the next player; from here, players pass the ball using proper pivoting technique until reaching the end of the line. Players then work the ball back to the front, with the second player in line alternating her pivot foot. The first team to get the ball back to the first person in line wins. From: Our Past Times

‘Shooting Relay’

For a basketball “Shooting Relay,” players divide into two teams and line up in front of two baskets. The first team to have all of its members successfully shoot a basket wins the relay. From: Our Past Times

‘Shuffle/Pass Relay’

While on the move, players practice passing and catching in the “Shuffle/Pass Relay.” After each team divides into two lines and face each other, the first pair moves down the court as quickly as possible, throwing bounce or chest passes while not crossing their feet. Both players touch the end line, and shuffle/pass back to the start line, where the next pair repeats the action. The team to finish the relay first wins. From: Our Past Times

‘Toss-Catch Basketball Relay’

In the “Toss-Catch Basketball Relay,” two teams line up behind the start line, while one tosser from each team stands behind another line about 20 feet away. Without stepping over the start line, players holding the bucket try to catch the ball. Players catching the ball within three attempts become the next tosser, with the first tosser running to the end of the line. After three unsuccessful attempts, the next two people in line assume catcher and tosser duties. The first team to have all of its members catch and throw wins. From: Our Past Times

Dribbling the Ball

This relay is an exciting way to develop eye and hand coordination, ball control and speed. Divide the students into two teams and line them up at one end of the court on the baseline. The first player in each line receives a basketball. At your signal, the players dribble down the court to the baseline, turn around while dribbling and dribble back down the court. They hand the ball to the next player on the team who repeats the drill. The first team to finish is the winner. To advance the drill, space plastic cones in a straight line to the far baseline and have the students dribble in and out of the cones. From: Sports Rec

Dribble, Pass, Shoot Relay

If you need a team-building relay race or a unique relay for a sports day, “Dribble, Pass, Shoot” is perfect. The game works best on a basketball court, but if you can’t access one, you can use laundry baskets or some other large vessel for kids to shoot basketballs into. You’ll need at least eight kids to participate in this relay that features soccer, basketball, and teamwork skills.

What You Need

  • Large indoor or outdoor basketball court
  • A set of small soccer goals for each team or 2 sets of large soccer goals
  • One soccer ball per team
  • One basketball per team

How to Set Up

  1. Designate one end of the court as the starting side. Place one basketball and one soccer ball where you want each team to line up on the starting side. Do not set any team up directly in line with the basketball hoops.
  2. If you use small soccer goals, set one up at the other end of the court directly across from where you placed the balls. If you are using large nets, place one centered on each side of the basketball hoop.
  3. Separate the group into equal teams of at least 4 people.

How to Play

  1. Each team lines up in two rows behind their balls at the starting line.
  2. The first two players choose one ball. One person starts by dribbling the ball for three steps then passes the ball to their partner. The basketball should be passed with either a bounce pass or chest pass. The soccer ball should be passed with the feet.
  3. Each pair moves across the court taking turns dribbling and passing the ball.
  4. When the teammates reach the other side of the court, one person takes a shot. Shoot the basketball in the hoop and the soccer ball in the goal. If they make it, they grab their ball and both teammates run back to their staring line. If the first person doesn’t make it, the second person gets to take a shot from the same spot where the first person missed. They continue taking turns until one person makes the shot.
  5. When the first team reaches their starting line, the next pair of teammates chooses the other ball and repeats what the first pair did.
  6. After the last pair from the team returns to the staring line, the whole team sits down. If you only have four players, you can make each pair go twice or even have them switch partners for the second round.
  7. The team with all their players sitting at the starting line wins.

Source: Kids Love to Know

Sakhli Relay

What You’ll Need: No Equipment

Sakhli (which means “chain” in Sanskrit) is a race that’s pretty common in India, and almost every kid under 10 has played it – Sakhli is their version of Tag, so you can imagine how popular it is!

Here’s how you play: Divide the players into two teams and form relay lines (each player lined up one-behind-the-other at the start line). Now each player puts their left hand between their legs while their right-hand grabs the left hand of the person in front of them.

So, to reiterate, the player at the front would put his left hand between their legs and the player behind them would grasp the hand with using their right hand – this goes on until the last player on the team is part of the “chain”. At the signal (this could be a whistle or “Go!” – or any other variation of a signal), both teams race to the other end of the playing area and back to the start. The first team to return without their “chain” breaking wins!

Relay Race Ideas For Picnics

There’s nothing like a freshly-grilled hamburger and a cold drink as you’re surrounded by friends and family at a picnic. Whether you’re watching fireworks in July or just enjoying a traditional cookout, everyone knows that a picnic needs a fun activity for its party-goers. What’s better than a team activity like a relay? The races we’ve listed below are crowd-pleasing favorites for picnickers of all ages – and we’re sure you’ll love them, too!

Sack Races

What You’ll Need: 2  Burlap Sacks

The sack race is a classic picnic event. In the original version of the game (which you’re more than welcome to play, as well), players would race to a finish line in a sack – it’s somewhat challenging and loads of fun. But our version is slightly different! Here’s a nice variation of the game as a relay: The players are divided across two teams and multiple relay lines are formed. A sack is then given to the first player on each team. At the signal, the players must stand in the sack and race to the finish line. Once there, they can step outside of the sack and move normally. They then run back to the start and pass the sack to the next player. This continues until all of the players on a single team finish the race.

In our experience, the first couple of races are pretty inefficient. The first few games are usually won or lost based on how quickly players get in and out of the sack. But eventually, the players will have this action down to a science. If you don’t have 2 burlap sacks readily available, you can replace them with a pair of large, old pillowcases.

If the sacks and pillowcases aren’t an option for you, the players can simply hop on one foot and run back to the start. Although, this may not be as fun!

Sack Race

Sack races are popular picnic past times. The original game used burlap feed sacks. Alternatively, large pillowcases work well. The team members must stand in the sack and hop down to a designated place, turn around, and hop back to their team’s line. The first team to get all the players to complete the race wins. From: Ice Breaker Ideas – Sack Race

Shoe Hunt

What You’ll Need: Your footwear

In this race, you’ll need to have everyone take off one shoe and put it in a large pile a decent distance away from the starting point. Now, divide the players into two teams and form relay lines. At the signal, players take turns running up to the pile, finding their shoe and running back to their own team’s line. The first team with all its players wearing both shoes wins the game. Keep in mind, the players don’t have to wear their shoe as soon as they find it (this takes away the advantages players wearing slip-on shoes would have).

The ideal strategy would include a player finding their shoe and running back with the shoe in-hand. They then proceed to wear the shoe while the next player is completing the race.

This race works great for large groups and corporate picnics. In general, the more people you have the better.

Shoe Hunt

This relay race works very well for a large group. Have everyone take off one shoe and put it in a large pile. Have your teams line up an equal distance away from the pile. One-by-one team members run to the pile and find their shoe, put it on and run back to their team’s line. The game is over when everyone from one team manages to complete the race. From: Ice Breaker Ideas – Shoe Hunt

Relay Race Ideas For Adults

Who says games are just for kids? The best relay races for adults are those that bring out our inner child. Here are some of our favorite relay race ideas for when you’re having an adult-only event:

3-Legged Race

Relay Race Ideas

What You’ll Need: A cloth such as a bandana or a scarf

The three-legged race is a classic for two-member teams. This makes it a bit different from your traditional relay where only two teams participate. During the race, players are paired into groups of two and stood side-by-side. A moderator then goes around and ties the inside legs of the players together using some kind of cloth. The cloth needs to be fastened securely so it doesn’t accidentally fall off during the race. It goes without saying that the cloth shouldn’t be too tight though, you wouldn’t want it to be suffocating!

At the signal, each pair must work together to reach the finish line as fast a possible. The fact that their legs are tied together means that both members of the pair must move at the same pace. This is definitely much harder than it looks.

This race is also pretty cost-effective, as you can use almost anything to tie the two teammate’s legs together. Here are a few things you can use: a bandana, rope, scarf, and even the lace from a shoe. If you don’t have anything to tie the players together with, linking arms is another way to play and has virtually the same effect.

Three-Legged Race

Can be played: Indoors or outdoors

Supplies: Fabric sashes, long scarves, or bandanas

Pair kids up in teams of two or let them pick a partner. With each pair standing side by side, use a bandana, scarf, or piece of fabric to tie the inside legs of each member of the duo together to create the shared “third leg.”

Mark your starting and stopping points, then let the race begin! Each three-legged pair will need to tap into their cooperation and communication skills to work together to make it to the finish line.

Variation: Instead of connecting them at the legs, have duos complete the relay with linked arms. Make the race more challenging by giving the pair something to carry to the finish line, like a football or a small bucket of water.

Three-Legged Race

Divide your teams into pairs of players who are about the same height. Have the pairs stand side by side and use a piece of cloth or scarf to tie adjacent legs together. Each pair of players runs to a designated point and back again, and tags the next pair. If a pair of players falls down, they must get up while their legs remained joined. The first team with all their pairs completing the race first wins. From: Ice Breaker Ideas – 3 Legged Race

Egg Relay Race

What You’ll Need: At least 2 hard-boiled eggs (it’s better to have more), and 4 or more spoons.

Before the egg relay race begins, each player must be given a spoon and divided into two teams. The first player on each team then needs to be given an egg. They must balance the egg on the spoon before the race begins. At the signal, the players will race to the designated finish line and back to the starting point. Once the player is back, they transfer the egg to the next player’s spoon. This continues until all of the players finish the race.

But here’s the catch: At no point during the race can your hands touch the egg directly. If your egg is dropped, you can only retrieve using the spoon. However, you are allowed to touch the egg when you’re transferring it to the next player.

If possible, you could also have differently-colored spoons so that all players in a team have the same color. For example, Team A would have a red spoon while players on Team B would use blue spoons. A great way to make teams is by having players pick the variously-colored spoons randomly from a bag and joining the players with their same-color spoons.

You can make the game even tougher by not allowing players to touch the egg at any point during the race, even as they transfer it to the next player!

Egg-and-Spoon Races

Can be played: Indoors or outdoors

Supplies: Spoons (one per player), eggs (real or plastic, one per team)

For this one, you’ll need two teams. Each player gets a spoon and an egg (hardboiled or plastic).

Each team must carry their egg on their spoon from the starting line to a turnaround point and back again. Then, the egg is passed off to a teammate who takes their turn.

If the egg is dropped, the player must stop and retrieve it. The first team to complete the relay wins.

Variations: If you’re willing to make a little mess, use a raw egg. In this version, kids will have to try to keep the egg from breaking or cracking for the duration of the relay. If you have bigger teams (and a full carton of eggs to spare) you can also play a version where each team is allowed one or two replacement eggs.

If you want to use the plastic variety, change the game up by skipping the spoon and having kids run the relay with an armful of colorful, non-messy eggs.

Don’t have any eggs on hand? Use coins (one per player, though you may want a few spares) instead. In this take, you can place a small coin on the spoon and have kids try to keep it from falling as they race.

Whether you use eggs or coins, try increasing the challenge by adding obstacles to navigate through or require players to skip instead of walk.

Egg Relay Race

Have a hard-boiled egg available for each team with a few extras, “Just in case!” Give a spoon to the first two players in each line. The first player in the team’s line places the egg on the spoon, runs to a designated spot, turns and runs back, and transfers it to the next person’s spoon. If the egg drops, they must retrieve it using only the spoon – no hands. The race continues until each team member in the line has taken a turn. The first team to have all their members complete the run successfully wins. From: Ice Breaker Ideas – Egg Relay Race

Relay Race Ideas With No Equipment

If you’re going to the beach or a picnic, you may not want to carry equipment for a game. This is especially true if you’re already carrying a ton of stuff. There’s also the case of the impromptu relay race where you want to run a relay but don’t have the necessary equipment. No need to worry, here are some great relay race ideas you can play without any kind of equipment:

Crab Race

Relay Race Ideas

The name makes the race sound like something you can only play on the beach, but of course, that’s not true. It is, however, best played on a soft surface such as a grass field or even indoors on a mat or rug. The rules are pretty simple: players are divided into teams and each player takes turns completing the race with a crab crawl.

So, how do you perform a crab crawl?

The player must lie on their back and push themselves up on their hands and feet. Then they awkwardly scuttle to the finish line. We’ve found that the fastest way to get to the finish line is by moving sideways like a crab (hence the name).

Some people may find the backbend position a bit too difficult. If this is true in your situation, you can modify the game so that the players are allowed to crawl to the finish line forwardly on their hands and knees.

Crab Walk

Can be played: Indoors (in a large gym with mats or a roomy carpeted area) or outdoors (on grass is best)

Supplies: None

Before starting the game, you’ll need to teach kids how to do the crab crawl.

First, have them sit on the ground. Then, have them put their hands behind them, palms down, with fingers facing their feet. Have them bring their knees about hip-length apart. Their feet should be planted on the ground.

Next, have them lift their bottoms from the hips and push up so their body weight is evenly distributed between their hands and feet. It helps if they can tighten their tummies.

From there, they can “scuttle” along, starting by moving one hand and one foot forward, then the other, trying to keep their bottom off the ground as they do.

Once the players are divided into teams and have mastered the crab walk, set the start and finish lines and have the kids race.

Variations: If the crab position is too difficult, kids can crawl sideways on their hands and knees instead. You can also get creative, especially with younger kids, by having them impersonate their favorite animal (think bunny hops or penguin waddles) for the race instead.

Wheelbarrow Race

Relay Race Ideas

The wheelbarrow race is another picnic classic. If you haven’t heard of the game, here’s how you play:

First, players are paired into teams of two. Each team must maintain a wheelbarrow stance in which one player walks on their hands while their partner holds them up by their ankles. At the signal, each team tries to go as fast as they can to the finish line. Once there, they switch positions and race back to the start – so the player who was walking on her hands at the start would now get to hold up the other player. This makes both players equally responsible for the victory. It also makes it easier to race as the player walking on their hands may tire out if they were to be in the wheelbarrow stance the entire race.

The first team to get to the finish line and back wins the race. This kind of race really emphasizes the importance of teamwork as the player standing can only move as fast the player walking on their hands. On the other hand (pun intended), the player walking on their hands must completely trust their teammate and let them guide them at a pace that doesn’t cause them to fall flat.


Can be played: Outdoors

Supplies: None

Another relay that gets kids moving and bending in new ways is the wheelbarrow race. Mark your start and finish lines, then pair kids off in teams of two (or let them choose a partner).

In each pair, one player will stand and hold the ankles of the other player, who must walk on their hands. Together, they’ll head for the finish line as fast as they can. When they reach it, the players switch spots and head back to the starting line. The first team to make it back wins.

Partners assume the Wheel barrow and pusher position. On the signal, advance to the turning point where they change positions and return to the starting line.

Mix-It-Up Relay

The rules for this game couldn’t be any more simple. Players on each team must race to the finish line and back. The first team to have all its players complete the race wins the game. But there’s just one condition: no player on the team can travel the same way as their teammate.

So if player 1 on team A completes his lap by running, players 2, 3, and 4 must find others way to complete the race: because now they’re not allowed to run. So player 2 may choose to hop on one leg, player 3 might backward, and player 4 could try to complete the race using only frog jumps.

This forces the players to work together and come up with the best strategy to win. For example, you may want your fastest player to finish a lap by running and so on. You also need to be pretty creative in finding different ways to complete the race. The results are also delightfully random because the entire game is dependent on physical skills and creativity, making this one of our favorite relay races to play (and hopefully yours, too).

Mix-it-Up Relay Race

Can be played: Indoors or outdoors

Supplies: None

The rules for this are pretty simple: Players take turns traveling from point A to point B and back again until the whole team has participated. The catch? Each player on the team has to travel in a different way (of their choosing). One runs, one skips, one hops, and so on.

Variation: Provide a baton or themed party item that teammates must pass to each other. Increase the challenge of the game by giving them an item that will change or limit the movements they can use.

Source: Very Well Family

Relay Race Ideas For Team Building

Team-building activities are meant to be enjoyable, as they help team members learn how other people work and solve problems. These activities are also a great way for colleagues to get to know each other better or on a more personal level. At least, that’s what there were supposed to be like. But these days, team-building activities have become a cliche. We can just hear the groans of the employees as they hear about the next team-building event (it’s kind of a funny thought). Most people would rather be off somewhere doing something else – even working (*gasp*, can you imagine?). It doesn’t help the turn-out of these games if they come off as boring, ineffective and childish.

But when done right, team-building games are really fun, believe it or not. Players will lose themselves in the game and actually begin to enjoy themselves after a while. To encourage your team to learn about each other while having a great time, we’ve come up with some great team-building games that your team will want to play over and over again.

The common theme across these ideas is the emphasis on team-building and reaching a camaraderie between members. None of these relay races are too reliant on skill:

Pass the Parcel

What You’ll Need: 2 Newspapers

“Pass the Parcel” is definitely not your typical relay race – there’s no actual running involved. Each player is split into two teams and is made to stand one-behind-the-other in a straight line. Before the race, the first player on each team is given a newspaper that is rolled up like a baton.

As soon as the race begins, the first person bends over and passes the paper through their legs to the person standing behind them. They then pass it to the next player and so on. This continues until the paper reaches the last person in the line. The race ends as soon as one team gets the paper to the last person on the team. Whichever team gets the paper to the last person first wins the race.

As an alternative, you could also have the last player run to return the paper to the moderator. The first team that gives the paper back wins the race.

Another fun variation of the game is to get the last person to find an answer in the newspaper. For instance, before the race begins, the moderator will ask something like: “Which team won the football game yesterday?”. When the last player receives the newspaper they must search for the answer. The first team to answer the moderator’s question wins the race.

If you don’t have a newspaper readily available, you could also replace it with some other kind of prop (really anything would work).

Burst the Balloon Relay

What You’ll Need: A lot of aired-up balloons

“Burst the Balloon” – the ultimate team-building game! To play, each player is divided into pairs based on their height. A moderator gets the pairs to stand with their backs against each other and their elbows interlocked. Once in this position, the moderator carefully places a balloon between their backs. At the blow of the whistle, each pair races to the finish line. If the balloon bursts, the pair has to come back to the starting position and put another balloon in-between their backs and start the race all over again!

At the finish line, the pair must burst the balloon by squeezing it between their backs, and then return as fast as they can to the start line (with their elbows still interlocked). The first pair to make it to the finish line, burst their ballon, and return to the start wins the race.

It’s a good idea to have multiple packages of balloons that you can blow-up, even if you don’t end up using them all. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!

Balloon Relay Race

Can be played: Indoors or outdoors

Supplies: Balloons

These races are best for kids over the age of 4, as younger children may be scared by the sound of popping balloons and resulting pieces are a choking hazard.

Split the group into teams and have them stand in a single-file line. Give the leader of each line a balloon. They must pass it through their legs to the player behind them. That player passes the balloon overhead to the next player.

Repeat this pattern until the balloon gets all the way to the end of the line. The last player runs back to the front of the line and pops the balloon to win the game, though the latter step can be optional.

Variations: For outside fun, use water balloons or a beach ball.

Relay Race Ideas For College Students

College students and teenagers prefer more competitive games. At these mature ages, individuals are able to play complicated games and are also able to physically exert themselves. To take advantage of this golden time-period in our lives we’ve brought you some of our favorite relay race ideas for college:

Cup-Stack Relay

What You’ll Need: About 20 or so plastic cups

First, divide the players into two equal teams. Before the race begins you’ll need to stack up 2 sets of plastic cups on a tray some distance away. After the whistle, the first player on each team has to run up to the cups, unstack them and run back.  As soon as they get back, the next set of runners run to the tray and re-stack the cups before returning. This continues until you get to the last player.

The first team to have all their players complete the course wins the race. You could also have a slight variation of this by placing cups filled with soda on the tray (one for each player). In this case, the players must run to the tray and chug down the soda (or any other type of drink) before returning.

How To Play Cup Stack Relay

Line two teams up next to each other with a table a few metres away from the start of the line, each team has 15 cups stacked up like a pyramid. The first player will run to the table then collapse the pyramid so that all the cups now sit inside each other. Then the player will proceed to restack all the cups back into the pyramid formation before running back to their team for the next player to do the same. The first team to run through all their players wins. I got the idea from speed stacking its on youtube if your unsure.

Materials Needed

30 cups (must be identical and be able to stack up on top of each other, i found disposable plastic cups work well) From: Youth Group Games

Cup Stacking

This game, that seems the simplest in the list, is in some ways the most competitive. There are even cup stacking championships. The world record for “sport stacking” is 1.33 seconds. How fast can you do it?

What you need:

10 cups per player. That’s it!


The challenge for each player is this:

  1. Build a pyramid of cups. Start with a line of four to make the base. On top of these, above the gap between the cups, place another three cups, each resting on two cups below. Repeat this with a line of two cups on top of that, and a final cup at the top.
  2. Collapse the pyramid into a single stack of cups. Instead of doing this one cup at a time, you can take the top cup and carefully work it down one side of the pyramid, collecting one cup at each level, then take that stack back up to the new top cup continue collecting cups. You can collapse a pyramid of cups very quickly this way, but don’t go so fast that you knock the whole thing down.

The first player to collect all their cups back into one stack wins.

Competitive cup stacking uses more complex patterns, but the challenge above is a good place to start. If you want to learn more about cup stacking, speedstacks.com/learn/ might be a good place to start. Source: Ice Breakers

Dizzy Bat

What You’ll Need: 2 Baseball Bats

Most people have played dizzy bat or some variation of it during their middle school years. Here’s how it works: split the players into two teams and form relay lines and have two bats kept a decent distance away from the starting line. The players run to that spot, pick up the bat, put their head on the top of the handle and spin around 10 times (enough to get anyone dizzy). After that, the players must attempt to run back to the start line as fast as possible, and then the next player begins the race. The first team to have all their players complete the race wins the game.

Getting to the bat is the easy part, but spinning around the bat will get you really dizzy and make you lose your sense of balance. This will make getting back to the starting line incredibly difficult, making this game one of the most challenging races on our list.Shop Related Products

Relay Race Ideas For The Beach

There’s a reason running on the beach has become so popular these days, it’s super fun. Beach-running also helps strengthen your arches, ankles and other leg muscles. Not to mention it’s also much better for your knees compared to running on asphalt. Below we’ve listed some great ideas that take inspiration from the elements you regularly see on the beach common beach activities. We were careful in considering that you may be carrying a ton of stuff on your day to the beach, and that’s why we’ve provided suggestions that require little-to-no equipment.

Water Relay

What You’ll Need: 2 Cups and 2 Beach Buckets

Water relay is a game you can either play individually or as a team. To begin, you’ll want to set the two buckets on the sand next to each other. Make sure that the buckets are about 50-100 or so feet away from the water. As the race begins, the first player runs to the water, fills their cup and empties it into the bucket. The cup is then passed to the next player. This continues until all the players on one team have finished filling the bucket. The first team to have all their players fill the bucket wins the game.

As a fun incentive, you could make it such that the losing team has their buckets of water dumped on their heads by the winning team. There’s even a variation of the game as a regular race: in this case, the players try to fill the bucket as quickly as they can. The first player to get their bucket to overflow wins the game.

Water Relay Races

Can be played: Outdoors

Supplies: Buckets, cups, or sponges

Give each team a plastic cup and put a bucket full of water at the starting line. Put one empty bucket for each team at the finish line. Players take turns filling up their cup from their full bucket and dumping it into their empty bucket.

The game is over when the starting-line bucket is empty. The team with the most water in their finish-line bucket wins.

Variations: Use a large sponge to soak up water instead of a cup. Or, on a hot day, poke holes in the bottom of the cup and have the kids carry it over their heads to the finish line for a relay turned water game.

Beachball Relay

What You’ll Need: Beach Balls

“Beachball Relay” is a fun beach game that blends traditional beach elements with a relay race. To begin, mark the start and finish lines. Then divide the players into teams of three and give each team a beachball and an object they can wear (something like a pair of sunglasses or a scarf). The team members take turns running from the start to finish, holding the beachball between their knees. Once they complete the course, they pass the worn item and the ball to the next player. If a player drops the ball at any point during the race, they must return to the start line and begin their turn again. The team who completes the challenge first wins the race.

Beach Ball Relays

Relay races are a lot of fun and here are our favorites which all use a beach ball.   For all of the relay style games below divide players into 2 equal teams.  Players run, one at a time, from the start line with their team to the turnaround point (set up an orange cone or chair to mark it for both teams) and then back to their team. 

Then the next player takes a turn and so on until all players on the team have completed the course.  Pick and choose your favorite relays or mix and match them for a long crazy relay!

Teams race with:

  • A beach ball between their knees
  • A beach ball pushed only by 1/2 a pool noodle
  • 3 beach balls pushed at the same time with 1/2 a pool noodle
  • Rolling over a beach ball using only your stomach
  • 2 team members race together with a beach ball between their heads
  • 2 team members race together with a beach ball between their backs
  • 2 team members race together with a beach ball between their sides
  • 3 team members each holding a pool noodle have to keep the ball off the ground by holding it at 3 sides.

Source: Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids

In this relay activity, the team member holds a beach ball between the knees. Once the starting signal sounds, these team members should move to the finish line and back without dropping the beach ball. The players then pass the ball to the next team member. The team to finish the relay with all team members first, wins the game. Beach Ball Relay is an activity used in the Beach Day Team Building Event

To Conclude

We hope you found the above 15 relay race ideas useful, but don’t limit yourself to just our ideas! Be sure to be creative and make your races more personal and fun for the people you’re playing with. Remember that just because a race idea is categorized under “ideas for a picnic” obviously doesn’t mean that you can’t use them at the beach or at home! The games under our categories are just suggestions; and in the end, the kind of race you have is only limited by your own imagination. Have fun playing!

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