20+ Best Relay Race Games and Ideas - IcebreakerIdeas (2023)

Relay races are games where equal teams race to achieve a task. Relay race games provide team competition for many different occasions – day camps, school recesses, and outdoor parties as well as many other group get-togethers. We have listed relay race ideas for many various ages and situations. Read on to find the perfect relay race for your needs.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Messy Outdoor Relay Races
    • 1.1 Fill-it Water Race
    • 1.2 Bobbing for Coins
    • 1.3 Sponge Race
    • 1.4 Pass the Water
  • 2 Relay Races Using Balloons
    • 2.1 Pass the Balloon
    • 2.2 Balloon Pop
    • 2.3 Two-Player Balloon Run
  • 3 Up Close and Personal Relay Races
    • 3.1 Necking-the-Orange
    • 3.2 Newspaper Press
    • 3.3 Vaseline Nose Race
  • 4 Classic Relay Races
    • 4.1 Down and Back Relay Race
    • 4.2 Egg Relay Race
    • 4.3 Over Under, Over Under
    • 4.4 Sack Race
    • 4.5 Three-Legged Race
  • 5 Relay Races for Kids
    • 5.1 Ping Pong Pushing
    • 5.2 Quick-Change Relay
    • 5.3 Shoe Hunt
    • 5.4 Peanut Challenge
    • 5.5 Fan the Fish
    • 5.6 Jigsaw Challenge
    • 5.7 Run, Waiter, Run
  • 6 Tips for Relay Races:
    • 6.1 Related Posts

Messy Outdoor Relay Races

20+ Best Relay Race Games and Ideas - IcebreakerIdeas (1)

Warm summer days are perfect for outdoor relay races. Two of these games require using water and the third is messy enough you will want water for cleaning up the players.

Fill-it Water Race

Set up an obstacle course using whatever is available – tables, chairs, large rocks, etc. Give each team a plastic cup and a full bucket of water. Team members take turns filling the cup and racing to an empty bucket at the end of the course. The first team to fill the empty bucket wins the game.

Bobbing for Coins

Have team member take turns bobbing for coins in a tray filled with honey or another sticky substance. The fun part is that they cannot use their hands. After getting a coin and returning it to their team, they must go to another tray with puffed cereal and retrieve another object – large paper clips work well – and return that object to their team. The first team having all members complete both tasks is the winner. Make sure you have water available for cleanup, as this is a really messy game!

Sponge Race

After dividing your group into teams, direct them to stand in rows. Place a bucket with water and a sponge in the front of the row and an empty bucket at the back. The goal is for each team to transport the water using the sponge from the front of the line to the back. The last person in line squeezes the filled sponge into the bucket and runs to the front of the line, where the task begins again. Set a timer and the team that manages to pass the most water before the time is up wins. For added fun, have the team members pass the sponge over their head and down the line.

Pass the Water

Similar to the sponge race, a plastic cup filled with water passes from one person to another from a full bucket at the beginning of the line to an empty one at the end. The person passing the water must use the teeth and have their hands clasped behind their back. Either this game can be played with a time limit or by having the first team to fill the bucket declared the winners.

Relay Races Using Balloons

20+ Best Relay Race Games and Ideas - IcebreakerIdeas (2)

Balloons are inexpensive and fun to use for relay race games. The following games work especially well with young children, but even adults will have fun with these games.

Pass the Balloon

Prior to playing this relay race, inflate a few balloons for each team, one for the start of the game and spares for those popped accidently. The goal of this relay race game is to pass the balloon down the teams’ rows by gripping the balloon between the knees. Every team member takes a turn and the team to complete passing the balloon to all the players first wins the game. Remember to tell players, “No hands allowed!”

Balloon Pop

Inflate enough balloons for each player. Have your team members line up in rows and place an empty chair opposite each row a good distance away. Give each player an inflated balloon. Team members race one at a time to the chair, sit on their balloon and pop it. The first team to pop all their balloons wins.

Two-Player Balloon Run

After dividing your group into teams, have the members of each team pair up. You can let them pick their own partners or assign them. However, make sure you explain the object of the game is to run an obstacle course holding a balloon with the sides of their heads, so it is best to choose someone the same height. Either set an amount of time to complete the course or declare as winner the first team to do so successfully.

Up Close and Personal Relay Races

20+ Best Relay Race Games and Ideas - IcebreakerIdeas (3)

This group of races requires bodily contact, so the games may not be appropriate for every age group and gathering. However, these games are fun, challenging, and will create many laughs.


Divide your group into two teams and have them stand in a line. The first person in each line holds an orange under their chin. The object of the game is to pass the orange down the line to the last person without using hands by holding the orange under the chin. When the orange gets to the end of the line, you can end the game or continue by having the last person run to the front and start over again.

Newspaper Press

This fun game pairs up team members for a race with a newspaper page held between them as they run to the goal. Begin by creating teams and then pairing up team members. Provide single newspaper pages for each team. The goal is to run to a finish line by while holding the newspaper page between them – no hands! If a pair drops their newspaper page, they must return to the start line and begin again. The team that has all their pairs complete the race first wins.

Vaseline Nose Race

A fun and somewhat silly relay race idea, this relay race game begins with each player having a dab of Vaseline placed upon his or her nose. Have a cotton ball for each team, with a few extras for those that fall and get messy. The players must pass the cotton ball from person to person – nose to nose. Remind the players no hands allowed. The winning team is the one that gets the cotton ball to the last person in the team’s line first.

Classic Relay Races

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Although the following list of relay race games include those played for years, some may have been forgotten, and so we are including them here. Tried and true, these have remained favorites because of their simplicity and how they work well with any age group.

Down and Back Relay Race

Give each team an easy-to-hold ball. Each team must pass the ball down the line and then the last person in line runs to the front and the passing begins again. Alternatively, have the team members line up across from a designated line. Each player takes the ball and runs to a designated line and back again. They give the ball to the first person in line and then take their place at the back of the line. The first team to have the ball pass through the hands of all their team members wins.

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.

Over Under, Over Under

Team members line up and each team receives a beanbag, small ball, or another easy to pass item. The goal is to pass the ball over the head and under the legs until it reaches the end of the line. The player at the end of the line runs to the front and passing starts over. When the last person in line returns to the front, the game is over, with the first team successfully completing the task winning.

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.

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.

Relay Races for Kids

20+ Best Relay Race Games and Ideas - IcebreakerIdeas (5)

Some relay races work especially well for kids. Use one or more of these games for recess, summer day camp, or any time you have a group of kids needing an entertaining game.

Ping Pong Pushing

For this relay race game, you need a level surface. This relay race works well inside on a smooth floor. Each team is given a ping-pong ball and the goal is to push the ping-pong ball over a short distance with the nose. Set a point as a goal to reach and the team members must turn around and push the ball back to the beginning of their team’s line. The first team to have all their members complete the course is the winner.

Quick-Change Relay

Collect clothing that is large enough to be put on over the players’ own clothes. Create a pile for each team. Players must race to the pile of clothes, put all the clothes on, turn around, race back and take the clothes off. The next player in the line puts the clothes on and races back to the starting point. The first team to have everyone complete dressing and undressing wins. For added fun, make sure there are buttons, zippers, and ties that must be fastened.

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.

Peanut Challenge

You will need a bag of unshelled peanuts – enough for 10 per team – and two chairs for each team for this relay race. Have teams stand in a line holding the hands of their team members on either side of them. Place ten peanuts on a chair facing the front of the team. The other chair faces the team at the end of their line. The goal is to transfer the peanuts down the line one at a time while hands remained clasped. The first team to do so successfully wins.

Fan the Fish

Cut paper fish from colorful lightweight paper and give one to each player. Provide a magazine for fanning the fish. At some distance away, place a flat plate. The goal is for team members to fan the fish until it lands in the dish. They take turns doing so until all members of their team have fanned their fish into the plate. The first team to do so wins the game.

Jigsaw Challenge

Older children will enjoy this relay race. Purchase inexpensive 50 piece jigsaw puzzles with the same picture – one for each team. The goal is to take one piece of the puzzle from the box and run to a table. If the piece can be assembled into the final puzzle picture, the player can do so. Each team member must take a puzzle piece. This continues until the all the puzzle pieces are on the table and the puzzle is assembled. If a team wishes to do so, they can transfer all the pieces and then pick one team member to assemble the puzzle.

Run, Waiter, Run

Give each team a ping-pong ball and a large dinner plate or small tray. Team members must carry the dinner plate or tray “waiter-style” down to a designated spot, and then turn around and carry the plate back to the next person. If a team member drops the ball, they must stop, put the ball back on the tray or plate and not take any steps to continue until they have done so. The winning team has all their members complete the race first.

Tips for Relay Races:

  • Provide a demonstration if you think it is necessary before beginning a relay race.
  • Choose your location for the relay race carefully. Some work best inside and others outside.
  • Be aware of any unnecessary obstacles or possible dangers and remove them prior to the race.
  • Have plenty of water for players to drink for outside relay races on hot summer days.

Relay race games are enjoyable not only for everyone who participates, but also for spectators. To add to the fun, have the teams choose crazy names. Additionally, make sure you use bright colors, wild prints, and play some music to get everyone in the mood. Create memories for every age and any group of people by playing relay races.

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20+ Best Relay Race Games and Ideas - IcebreakerIdeas (10)

Susan Box Mann

Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.

Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.

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What are the examples of relay races? ›

Relay races are common in running, orienteering, swimming, cross-country skiing, biathlon, or ice skating (usually with a baton in the fist). In the Olympic Games, there are several types of relay races that are part of track and field.

What are the race and relay games? ›

relay race, also called Relay, a track-and-field sport consisting of a set number of stages (legs), usually four, each leg run by a different member of a team. The runner finishing one leg is usually required to pass on a baton to the next runner while both are running in a marked exchange zone.

What are the objectives of relay games? ›

A relay race is an event in which four participants work as a team to reach the finish line. The aim is to reach the end as quickly as possible and each member of the team takes a turn completing part of the course. Relay races take place in lots of different sports such as athletics, swimming and orienteering.

How many types of relays are there? ›

The three main types of relays are electromechanical, solid-state, and reed.

How many types are there in relay race? ›

There are four main events for the relays in track and field: The 4 x 100 m. The 4 x 200 m. The 4 x 400 m.

What are the five running events? ›

Sprints (100m, 200m, 400m) Middle distance (800m, 1500m) Long distance (3000m Steeplechase, 5000m, 10,000m) Hurdles (110/100m, 400m)

What is the first person in a relay race called? ›

The sequence of the relay is usually set as such: the second fastest starts first, followed by the third fastest, slowest and then the fastest. The fastest runner is also known as the 'anchor'.

What order should you run a relay? ›

The second and fourth runners will thus run in the centre of their lanes because they loose nothing on the straights. The correct way to run a relay is then right handed, then left, then right and then left handed again.

What are the main rules of relay race? ›

During each leg run, the athlete has to carry a baton and hand it over to the next team member. The baton exchange has to happen within a 20m changeover box, located 10m before and 10m after the start of each leg, starting from the second relay runner.

What is the importance of relay race? ›

Relay races allow runners to participate in multi-day stage events without having to run the ultra length distances many multi-day stage events typically require.

How do you teach relay races? ›

Relay Race Technique - YouTube

Which are the two types of relays game? ›

Circular Relay – 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m. Four athletes per team, with each athlete having to run 100m or 400m around the track. Swedish Medley Relay – 1000m. Four athletes per team with each athlete running one of 100, 300,200, 400m legs in that order.

Which are two types of relays race? ›

The two most common relay races in track and field are the 4 x 100m and the 4 x 400m races, in which four athletes run 100m and 400m each respectively. A less common relay is the sprint medley relay, usually consisting of four legs run at distances of 400, 200, 200, and 800 meters.

Which are the two types of relays in sports? ›

This is one of the most exciting games of the Athletics. There are two types of relay running races: 4 x 100 meters relay race. 4 x 400 meters relay race.

What word is relay? ›

/ˌrɪˈleɪ/ /ˈriː.leɪ/ to repeat something you have heard, or to broadcast a signal, message, or programme on television or radio: I was told the news first and then I relayed it to the others. TV pictures of the war were relayed around the world by satellite. SMART Vocabulary: related words and phrases.

What is the name of relay? ›

We will learn about the Classification of Relays, Different Types of Relays like Latching Relay, Reed Relay, Solid State Relay, Differential Relay, Automotive Relay, Timer Delay Relay and many more.

What is the last leg of a relay race called? ›

The anchor leg is the final position in a relay race. Typically, the anchor leg of a relay is given to the fastest or most experienced competitor on a team. The athlete completing the anchor leg of a relay is responsible for making up ground on the race-leader or preserving the lead already secured by their teammates.

What are the commands to start a race? ›

Instructions to Competitors

"There will be two verbal commands and then the gun to start the race. Please stand behind your blocks and, when I give the command 'On your marks,' come forward and get settled into your blocks without any delays.

How long is a relay baton? ›

The baton is the official length of 11.5 x 1.43 inches, has smooth rolled edges so that runners cannot cut their hands or fingers during crucial hand offs while sprinting.

What are athletic Games? ›

Athletics is a group of sporting events that involves competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and racewalking.

What are examples of track events? ›

Track events include the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800-, 1,500-, 5,000-, and 10,000-meter runs; the marathon race (26 mi 385 yd/42.19 km); the 100- (women), 110- (men) and 400-meter hurdles; the 4×100- and 4×400-meter relays; the 3,000-meter steeplechase (men); and the 20,000- and 50,000-meter (men) walks.

How do you start a sprint? ›

Improving Sprint Start Technique - YouTube

What are the legs called in a relay? ›

A relay race is made up of four sprints of equal distance put together. Each equal distance is called a leg and that is the distance each one of four teammates must run. The last person to run in a relay is called the anchor. Races where legs are of different distances are called medley relays.

What makes a good relay team? ›

"Each leg on a relay team, must have 'speed', as well as the 'discipline' to execute their plan and 'resiliency' to combat unwanted occurrences, such as bumping in exchange zones where protecting the baton is critically important."

Who is the fastest runner in relay? ›

Usain Bolt

What is the most important leg of a relay? ›

4th Leg Runner- The 4th leg or anchor leg of the relay is considered by many to be the most important. As such, this leg is often comprised of the fastest and toughest athlete on the relay team.

Who is the most important person in relay? ›

They must be able to run all out for more than one minute, which means they need to be healthy and fit. The anchor has the biggest responsibility of any member of the relay team. They not only have to cross the finish line first but also need to give a strong push to their teammates who came in later.

What is the best way to win a relay race? ›

Here are six essential training tips to make your first relay race experience a smooth, fun adventure.
  1. Add double runs to your training. ...
  2. Train for the time of your run. ...
  3. Learn to run hard without warming up. ...
  4. Practice on similar road and trail conditions. ...
  5. Hone your orienteering skills. ...
  6. Plan with your team.

How do you run a 4 by 100 relay? ›

How it works. Four sprinters, in the same designated lane, each run 100m to complete a lap of the track. During their individual legs they have to carry a baton that must be passed to the next runner within a 20-metre changeover box that's situated 10 metre before and 10 metres after the start of each subsequent leg.

Can you drop the baton? ›

Even if you're not disqualified, a dropped baton usually means you're finishing in dead last. A team is allowed to continue racing after it drops the baton, which can be important when there's a potential appeal.

What are the four skills in relay race? ›

The basic skills or techniques in relay race are as follows:
  • The Baton Grip.
  • The Take Off.
  • The Run Up and Visual Exchange.
  • The Finish Line.

What skills are needed for relay race? ›

A relay race is all teamwork! Therefore, the mix of skills and attitudes (speed, stamina, performing under pressure etc.) within the relay race team is important. Most of all the aspiration to be victorious against all odds is vital.

What is push pass in relay? ›

The final method is the “push pass” and this is often favoured as a safe method of baton exchanged. It involves the outgoing runner's arm being extended with the hand open and the incoming runner vertically placing the baton straight into the open hand.

What can damage a relay? ›

In fact, the life of a relay is essentially determined by the life of its contacts. Degradation of contacts is caused from high in-rush currents, high- sustained currents, and from high voltage spikes.

How do you hook up a relay? ›

How To Wire An Automotive Relay - YouTube

Is sack race a relay game? ›

Relay Race:

Each player puts both legs into sack and hops around a cone, or some marked point, and back, tagging the next person in line. Then, the next person in line gets into the sack and repeats the once-around the cone course. The first team to the finish line wins.

How do you play relay game? ›

At the Olympics and other World Athletics-sanctioned tournaments, a relay race is an event where a team of four athletes run equal predetermined distances in a sprint race, each passing a rod-like object called the 'baton' to the next person to continue the race. The last runner in a relay is called the 'anchor'.

How do you play relay drinking game? ›

Each member of the team must drink and flip the first cup, drink, bounce the ball into the second cup, then shoot at their rack. Once a cup is made, pulled, and the beer drank, the next member can start their leg of the relay.

How do you play a sock race? ›

Each player puts both legs into sack and hops around a cone, or some marked point, and back, tagging the next person in line. Then, the next person in line gets into the sack and repeats the once-around the cone course. The first team to the finish line wins.

What is frog race? ›

Frog jumping is a competitive pastime for humans in which frogs are entered into competitions to jump certain distances. Frog jumping contests are held in small communities scattered around the United States, as part of the folk culture.

What is the bag race called? ›

Description. The sack race or gunny sack race is a competitive game in which participants place both of their legs inside a sack or pillow case that reaches their waist or neck and jump forward from a starting point toward a finish line. The first person to cross the finish line is the winner of the race.

What are the five running events? ›

Sprints (100m, 200m, 400m) Middle distance (800m, 1500m) Long distance (3000m Steeplechase, 5000m, 10,000m) Hurdles (110/100m, 400m)

How can I make my relay better? ›

Here are six essential training tips to make your first relay race experience a smooth, fun adventure.
  1. Add double runs to your training. ...
  2. Train for the time of your run. ...
  3. Learn to run hard without warming up. ...
  4. Practice on similar road and trail conditions. ...
  5. Hone your orienteering skills. ...
  6. Plan with your team.

What is the first person in a relay race called? ›

The sequence of the relay is usually set as such: the second fastest starts first, followed by the third fastest, slowest and then the fastest. The fastest runner is also known as the 'anchor'.

How do you play slap cup? ›

How to Play "RAGE CAGE OR SLAP CUP" by the Game Doctor (Drinking ...

What is Rage Cage? ›

How To Play Rage Cage - YouTube

How do you play Dizzy Bat? ›

Dizzy bat (also known as Louisville chugger, D-bat, and The Spins) is a drinking game in which the participant chugs a full beer out of the holding end of a Wiffle ball bat. While the person is chugging, the surrounding participants count off in seconds how long it takes for the person to finish the full beer.

How do you play bring me? ›

Method. Explain the rules: you're going to ask the team to bring you an item, and it's the first person to find that item and bring it back to you (the facilitator) that gets a point. You can make this game as long or short as you like by simply adjusting the number of rounds (items).

How do you play longest line? ›

The task is to create the longest line using participants' own bodies and any clothing or things in participants' pockets. Participants are not allowed to collect other things from the room/outside. Give the signal for the game to start and set a time limit, such as two minutes. The team with the longest line wins.

How do you play a balloon relay race? ›

To Play
  1. To play the Balloon Relay Race, the first person in line on each team has to put the balloon between their legs.
  2. They then have to hop down to the marker with the balloon remaining between their legs.
  3. Once they reach the marker, they have to go around it and continue hopping back the other side.
4 Jun 2012

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