In my 12 years of teaching, some of the most hysterical sights I have ever seen have been when doing funny relay races.
Children really enjoy these, and these relay races have tremendous benefits such as:
- Bonding children together emotionally
- Laughter helps everyone cooperate and work as a team (Source)
- Being fantastic for mindfulness and mental health
- Being a great form of physical activity
- Teaching some other key skills along the way
Over the years, I have tried so many funny relays, including sack race, egg and spoon race, three legged race, and more. But amongst all of them were lots of hidden gems that we’ll share in this post.
So, let’s take a look at the ultimate 14 funny relay races (for kids of all ages.)
1. Shoe Race
In this relay race, all players take off their shoes and place them all about 50 yards away from where their team is sitting.
They place them in pairs.
It’s important that the shoes for each team are equally distant from where they are sitting (to make the race fair).
Players sit in lines at the starting line.
The idea of this fun game is that the first player in each team runs to their team’s shoes, picks out one of their own shoes, and runs back to their team. They sit and put one shoe on as the other person goes.
Each person in turn runs and collects one shoe, before bringing it back and putting it on.
Older children can run to the shoe, then put it on, and then run back. With the younger ones I prefer to get them to run back with it (as some take one or two minutes to put a shoe on).
When everyone has gone, the first person goes again, now running with one shoe on. They collect their second shoe and bring it back. Then the next person goes.
The winning team is those who are the first to be sitting in a line with their shoes on!
2. Dress Up Relay
This is one of the all-time classic kids’ games – the dress-up relay race.
You will need to first gather quite a few pieces of dressing-up clothes before you begin. You need one per team of some of the following:
- A selection of hats
- Some gloves
- Any other type of clothing you can think of
The kids start in teams at the starting line. Each team will have a pile of clothes to select from about 30-50 yards in front of each team.
When you say, ‘go’, the first team players run to their team’s pile and put on one piece of clothing. They run back with it on.
Then the other person goes.
If you have large piles of clothes, everyone could go twice. This adds to the hilarity of the whole event.
The alternative is just to all go once. When you have all been and are sitting down again, then your team has finished.
3. Who Am I Relay
No props are required for this relay race at all, which is always a bonus.
The teams sit in lines, and one player from each team goes to sit about twenty to fifty yards in front of their team. They sit with their backs to their teammates.
‘Ready, set, go!’ The first player in each team will run towards where their teammate is in the distance and stop just behind them. They say, ‘Who am I?’
The person with their back turned has got to guess who the player is. As soon as they guess correctly, the player is able to run back to their team, and the other player goes. (They can have a few guesses if required).
This is a voice recognition game.
Another way of playing is when the person who guesses has got the name right, the two players swap positions. The runner becomes the sitter and the person that was sitting runs back to join the team.
4. Silly Moves Cards
This is one of the most entertaining relay races on this list!
For this one, you need one set of cards for each team. The cards will have pictures of the types of moves that the players could do.
For example, you might have a set of animal cards. It could have pictures of a ‘horse’, a ‘monkey’, a ‘snake’, and a ‘tiger.’
One person in each team is in control of the cards.
They show a card to the first person on the team. That person will run to a designated point and back, but move in the way it states on the card.
So, if it is the ‘snake’ card, they will be slithering on their bellies!
Some moves are much trickier and more time-consuming than others, so a team may sometimes have a big lead in the race, but it can be one that could be wiped away in no time (for example when a snake is up against a cheetah).
5. Zombie Run Zombie
Have some kind of loud instrument or even an airhorn for this relay race.
The only other props that are required are some kind of cones, one for each team.
The players start in a line. Place one cone directly in front of each team, about twenty to fifty yards in front of them.
The first players in each team will be running to the cone and back.
However, the trick is that whenever you hear the instrument (or airhorn), you have to transform into a zombie!
Players will then be running with straight legs, and their arms straight out in front of them.
Whenever they tag the next person, that player continues the movement.
If the airhorn or instrument has not sounded again, then the second player will also be moving like a zombie.
The players transition back to normal running whenever the airhorn or instrument sounds again.
6. Wheelbarrow Race
This is another classic from the repertoire that you’ve got to try!
You’ve probably seen this one before. Basically, one child is the ‘wheelbarrow’, and the other is the ‘gardener’.
The ‘wheelbarrow’ lies on their belly to start with, then pushes their arms straight so that they are in a push-up position.
The ‘gardener’ stands behind them and picks up the ‘wheelbarrow’ by the legs.
When the race starts, the ‘wheelbarrows’ and ‘gardeners’ try to travel as fast as possible forward, around a cone, and back.
The wheelbarrows lead the speed, walking forwards on their hands.
Here’s an incredible image of a historic wheelbarrow race in South Wales:
7. Balloon Between the Legs Race
This is another fantastic relay race that you’ve got to try.
You need one balloon per team, that is blown up before you start the race.
The first person puts the balloon between their legs, and then ‘ready, steady, go!’
Everyone tries to waggle or bounce their way to the other end and back, before passing on the balloon to the next player.
8. Twister Relay
One of the most fun relay races for kids, this is a bit like the more active version of Twister (just without the mat, and over a wider area).
The idea is that the leader is going to tell everyone in the relay how they are going to move. In particular, just like real twisters, they will tell you how many legs and hands you can have touching the floor.
Instructions might be something like:
- One hand, two legs
- Two hands, two legs
- Two hands, one leg
- One hand, one leg
All do the same to start off with and have a go of a full relay.
The harder version of this relay race is that you have someone to shout out different instructions throughout the relay.
So they might start with ‘Two hands, two legs,’ before switching to, ‘One hand, one leg,’ after a few seconds.
They find this game absolutely hysterical!
9. Airhorn Sit
In this relay race, you require just one airhorn (or instrument like a drum), and one cone per team.
Place the cone in the distance for each team, and they are going to run around this and back.
Give every person in the team a number, depending on how many players there are. If there are five players, then give them a number from 1 to 5.
The person with the airhorn is going to shout a number, e.g. 2. That person is going to stand up and run first. Off they go!
However, at any given point, the airhorn is going to be sounded, and that person is going to have to sit down.
The person who is sitting is going to shout out the number this time – either 1, 3, 4, or 5 in the example.
That person will start running, only to sit when the airhorn sounds again. Then it is their turn to shout the number.
Basically, this process continues until all the team members have got around the cone and back, and are sitting in their original spaces once again.
10. Water Transporting Challenge
This is probably one of the most challenging yet fun relay races on this list!
This also can get a bit wet but is well worth the effort on a sunny day.
Have two big buckets for each team.
One bucket is going to be full of water. The other bucket is going to stand empty and be placed about 20-50 yards in front of the team.
You will also need some small containers to carry the water from the filled bucket to the empty one. Some ideas for ways to carry it include:
- Large spoons
- Egg cups
- Plastic tubs
Have an identical set of equipment for each team, and that is what they can use.
Ready, steady, go! Everyone on the team can go at the same time, and the idea is to carry all the water from the filled bucket to the empty one.
They can go back and forth as many times as they want.
In the end, there will be two winning teams:
-The quickest team
-The team that gets the most water into the second bucket
11. Exercise Card Challenge
In this relay race, all you need are sets of cards with some pictures or instructions for exercises on them.
Simple examples might be, ‘5 star jumps’, ‘5 press-ups’, ‘10 sit-ups’, and other things like that.
To make it a bit funnier, you can change them around a bit.
So it might be ‘5 star-jumps with one hand on your head’ or ‘5 press-ups with one leg in the air.’
You will need several sets of cards – as many sets as you have teams.
One player in each team is going to go and sit about twenty to fifty yards away from their teammates, but facing back towards them. That person is going to be holding their team’s pack of cards.
One player at a time will run towards that person. They will be given an exercise challenge from the pack of cards, for example, ‘5 squats with your finger on your nose.’
They perform the exercise and then run back to their team.
Then the next player goes until all the teams have had a go of the challenge.
12. Card Object Dash
Have a set of picture cards for each team. These will be images of a matching set of objects that you will also have.
For example, it might be a ‘ball’, a ‘key’, a ‘shoe’, and a ‘rope’.
If you have two teams, you will have two of each object (along with the two sets of cards).
Split the players into relay teams, and it is important to have as many in each team as you have objects. So if you have five players in each team, have five objects.
One player in each team is going to be in charge of the cards, and they sit at the front.
The objects for each team are going to be placed at different distances, in a straight line in front of the team.
For example, the shoe might be ten yards in front of them, the key twenty yards, the rope thirty yards, and so on.
‘Ready, set, go!’
The player with the cards shows the first card to the next player in the line.
For example, it might be the ‘ball.’
That player jumps up, runs to where the ball is, and circles around it. They run back and sit down.
As soon as they get back, the person with the cards shows the next one in the pack (e.g. ‘key’) to the next person, and off they go towards that one.
The player holding the cards will go last.
Whatever is the last card, they run off, circle around it, and come back. Whatever team is sat down first are the champions.
13. Noisy Races
A favorite among these relay races for kids!
It’s a simple idea behind this one, but it really is a lot of fun.
Basically, you have a normal running relay race for this, but first, give every member of each team a number.
Then allocate a sound for each number.
So it might be:
1 – Chicken
2 – Ghost
3 – T-Rex
4 – Mouse
5 – Monkey
What this means is that when the number ones are running they have to make sounds like chickens all the way through their leg.
Then number twos go, all making their best ghost noises.
A fantastic spectacle to watch!
14. Scare Race!
This relay race is particularly good for younger kids, that find it hilarious, but older ones could try it too.
The idea is that one member of each team goes to sit well in front of their teams in the distance, and with their backs to their teammates.
They are the person that is going to be ‘scared!’
The others are going to be doing the scaring!
One at a time, they have to creep as quietly as they can over to their team, and then shout ‘Boo!’ as they get there.
Then they run back, and the next player goes.
Some children are quite sensitive to shocks and loud noises, so try to pick someone to have the role of being scared only if they want to and you think they have the resilience for the task.
Believe it or not, these are only a few ideas. There are many other exciting relay races to try. In any case, good luck racing from the starting line to the finish line when you try out some of these active and funny relay races. Children absolutely love these, and I’ve spent countless hours trying all these out with children of different ages.
Best wishes if you try them out!