A Field Day Formula for All


Plunger Relay

Field Day is annually one of the most exciting events for elementary school students.  It’s often a culminating activity where the entire school community comes together to celebrate the completion of the school year.  I’ve grown to enjoy getting a glimpse of field day throughout the world via social media.  It’s evident that every school has its own personal touch.  Throughout my career, I’ve worked at several different schools, each with a different take on this extravaganza.  The one common factor in every field day is fun! I’d like to share with you a 26 year field day formula with proven success from my current school.  It’s a well-oiled machine, too good not to share (see videos of our field day in action below).  

Cup Relay
Bucket Brigade

How do we make teams?

  • Three days prior to the event, our PE team divides the school into two teams.  To make it easy, one side of the hallway is white and the other side of the hallway is blue.  Each grade has 4 classes so two classes are white and two are blue.
  • Two days prior to the event we notify the students of their color.  This gives students plenty of time to put together their uniform for the event.

What is our field day format?

Our field day is structured around a variety of eight different relay races.  As you can see below, races start out dry, then eventually turn into water events as the students get hot.  In my experience, water is a must!  Each race lasts three minutes (except water events, which last until a team’s bucket is filled with water).

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 11.18.14 AM

  • Two classrooms from each grade level (2nd-5th) will compete at a time.
  • The other two classes will cheer from the bleachers, which are divided into blue and white sections (blue on the left side and white on the right).
  • Groups rotate on and off the field following each of the two events per rotation.  This lessens the number of students on the field, increasing the number of repetitions per student competing.  It also gives you a built in cheering section.  If you could only hear the excitement and encouragement coming from the bleachers during each race!


Blue/White divided on the bleachers
Cheering for their classmates


How do we mark the field?

Blue and White teams compete between each set of yellow cones
  • The day before the event, my team and I paint ten lanes on our field.  We keep the distance short to increase repetitions.
  • Each lane is again divided by hash marks to allow space for blue and white to compete. (example: blue from one classroom will compete white from another classroom.
  • Two buckets of water are placed on the hash marks in each lane for the water events. During the water events each bucket is placed in the center of each blue and white lane. (Notice the back-up buckets in the background.)
  • There are 10 separate competitions (same event) taking place during each relay race.

How do we keep score?

  • Each Blue/White lane has a parent score keeper tallying up the score for blue and white.
  • Each time a student touches the end line, they team receives one tally.
  • After each full rotation, a master scorekeeper receives all the scores from the parents, adds up the points, and gives a score updated to the crowd.
Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.30.01 PM
Score Sheet
  • Water events are scored differently.  Each team is trying to be the first to fill their 1 1/2 quart pail with water.
  • The winning team receives 10 points and the losing team receives 5 points.

Our Field Day in Action





After completing our relay races, we finish with the tug-o-war as a grand finale.  Each grade takes takes turns competing in their blue/white teams.  The winner of each round receives 50 points while the losing team receives 40.  Following each round, the blue/white teams shake hands, get a popsicle, and return to the bleachers to cheer on the rest of the groups.


Each school has its own unique formula for field day. Our school has kept field day competitive yet fun, with all grades from 2nd-6th sharing the same field and same events.  We find it’s a great way to end the year as a community.

Thanks to my PE teammates Brian, Jedd and Laura for another fantastic day of fun and excitement!  Kudos to our parent volunteers, teachers, and staff for making the day run so smoothly!

We would enjoy learning about YOUR field day!  What works for you and your school?


If you enjoyed this post, consider following my blog to receive future posts.

Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/justybubpe.

Search #trinitype to see what my amazing PE team is doing with their classes.

Check out my Facebook group called Keeping Kids in Motion!

8 Comments on “A Field Day Formula for All

  1. Field days sure are fun! I like the idea of the students knowing what color their team is so that they can come up with their own outfit. And you are so right that WATER is the definitive ingredient for field day. At our school, there was a parent who owned a water trucking company and we were fortunate to have an abundance of water from a water truck…and of course the kids loved getting their teachers soaked!

  2. I love the spirit of your Field Day! At our school we have our student body, Grades 1-5, divided onto community teams that meet about 4 times a year to get to know each other. They each have different colors and names…Verse Vultures, Brown Buffalo, Flying Purple People Eater, etc.! On Field Day they wear their team color and compete against the other teams at 6 stations.
    1. Capture the Color (similar to Capture the Flag but with no holding jail and more action)
    2. 4 corner relay
    3. Castle Ball (think dodgeball except they are throwing balls at ‘castles’ they built out of hula hoops. Each team has 3 castles that can be rebuilt by team members. Game ends when all three castles are down at the same time).
    4. Crazy Kickball (bases reversed, partner kicking and running)
    5. Sponge water battle
    6. Water station/playground/break station

    Each team has a teacher assigned to them that travels to different games and are encouraged to play with them. Each game has a teacher assigned to it to monitor game. Students are wearing their team color so no need for pinnies. Students have all learned the games in PE prior to Field Day. Fifth graders are captains and are given the schedule to follow for order of games. Game time is approximately 12 minutes so teams travel to each game quickly to get started. Time to rotate is indicated by an air horn. Our day then ends with a faculty/fifth grade kickball game.
    We don’t keep score of any games or indicate any winners. They are just out on the field playing and having a blast!

    PK/K students have the same type of Field Day in the morning with 4 games more developmentally appropriate.

    • Wow! What a great formula. I love that the students are rotating through such active stations. Kind of like the greatest hits of PE. It’s also nice to see that teachers are encouraged to participate.
      We also end the school year, a week after field day with a Faculty/Staff vs. 6th Grade kickball game. Thanks for sharing you unique, action packed take on field day! AWESOME!

  3. Pingback: The PE Playbook – May 2016 Edition – drowningintheshallow

  4. We are a K-4 school and Field Day is the first half of the day. A Fun Run starts the day and hypes us up, there is a quarter mile trail we run and a surprise is give at the finish line. This year it was a Field Day silicone bracelet. Then it’s on to a rotation of 5 -30 minutes stations. 1)A relay station, 2)A water station, 3) An obstacle course in the gym, 4) A Face paint/ triage area. The kids pretend they are hurt and there are bandages to wrap on them. 5) This year I did a take off on “Minute to Win it” with bottle flipping, cone stacking, pom-pom pick up with clothes pins and cube stack. After a cook-out lunch we have a big dance party, our cool music teacher DJ’s, with snow cones. The end of the day is our Third-and-Fourth- grade talent show. It’s a fun action packed day!

  5. Pingback: 3 FIELD DAY RELAY RACES OUR STUDENTS LOVE! – Keeping Kids in Motion

  6. Pingback: 3 FIELD DAY RELAY RACES OUR STUDENTS LOVE! – Audit Student

Leave a Reply