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How to organise the perfect school sports day

How to organise the perfect school sports day

It’s that time of year again where the end of the summer term draws near, and it’s time to think about saying goodbye to another great school year. Before you do however, there are all the end of term activities to get through. One of the more enjoyable tasks that primary school teachers face is organising the summer sports day.

Sports day in a primary school is markedly different to sports days in secondary school. It’s as much about joining in and having fun as it is about competitiveness and winning! The activities, races and games are likely to include simplified, fun versions of track and field events - though still, of course, involving physical exertion and skill!

Done right, a sports day is the perfect way to wrap up the school year, and send both children and parents off on a positive note - so it’s important to try and get it right.



While the thought of organising school sports day may feel like just another chore on your seemingly endless list of things to do, since it’s National School Sports week from the 19th-25th June, now is the perfect time to get planning.

So what does the perfect school sports day look like? Here are some things to consider:



Primary school sports day organisation

Staying organised and preparing everything in good time is the best thing you can do to help stay calm and in control when it comes to preparing for your school sports day.


Set a time and a date, and make sure both pupils and parents are aware

Get a date in the diary well in advance and make sure that parents are aware of it so they can make arrangements to attend.


Start to plan what games you will include and a timetable for the event

Timing is everything when it comes to ensuring the day runs smoothly - think about how long you want the day to last, which events you’ll have and how long each will take. Don’t forget to factor in breaks. Decide whether you’ll present winners with prizes at the end of each race or have a prize giving ceremony at the end of the day.


Which teachers will be involved?

Sports days require a lot of manpower, whether it’s directing parents to the car park, handing out refreshments, overseeing races, blowing whistles or awarding prizes, you’ll need to make sure teachers know who’s doing what and when!


Think about refreshments

It’s a good idea to make sure you have planned for refreshments as hopefully it will be a hot day and you’ll all be in need of some cooling down. You could ask parents to bring picnics themselves to help keep costs down, but make sure you provide bottles of water as a minimum.


Think about what equipment you’ll need

You can’t win a sack race without the sacks, nor can you have a prize giving ceremony without any prizes! Once you’ve made your plan make sure you have all the equipment and materials you need to put your ideas into practice.



Make sure everyone feels included

Sports day can be daunting for some pupils, particularly those who are not as sporty or confident as others. Make sure you include something for everyone, not just the traditional, often highly competitive races. Coming up with a programme of games and activities that challenge different skills will help all children feel included. Team games and races are another great way of encouraging children to come together and work constructively to try to win. Try to instil an attitude of sportsmanship, where participating and trying your best is recognised and rewarded. Discouraging overly competitive behaviour goes hand in hand with this ethos. You could award prizes for sporting conduct as well as winning events.


Make sure you are clear on the rules of each activity and that everyone understand how to take part. Let children ask questions before you begin so no one gets confused or feels as though the have been treated unfairly. If you’re really organised, get the rules out to teachers beforehand so they can practise the events with their class during P.E. lessons.


Remember, primary school sports day is about making children feel included, and feel a sense of pride and achievement. With that in mind, you should be able to plan and run a sports day that is enjoyable for children, parents and staff alike!



Good sports to play at a primary school sports day

  • Slow riding bikes - a great game that’s all about balance and not losing your nerve - great for the less sporty kids!
  • Egg and spoon - a classic race that can be done in teams of individually.
  • Sack race - the sack race is lots of fun and can be enjoyed by children of all ages.
  • Three legged race - the three legged race will get lots of laughs and is a great way for children to work as a team.
  • Standing long jump.
  • Discus or Javelin - both very inclusive and a lot of fun!
  • Relay race - a straightforward relay race is a good team event.
  • Obstacle course - setting up an obstacle course is lots of fun.
  • Hula hoop race - the hula hoop race requires participants to hula their way around the course - another one that’s better for children who aren’t as fast as others.
  • Bucket game - line children up one behind the other in two of three (or however many) teams - a full bucket is placed at the feet of the person at the front of the line and they are given a cup. An empty bucket is placed at the back of the line. Children must fill up the cup and pass it back through the line over their heads and fill up the empty bucket at the back - the first team to fill their bucket wins!
  • Tug of war - another classic game that’s great for teams!

And of course, not forgetting…

  • Mums and dads three legged race!



Once your sports day is over

Once all of the races are over, it’s a great idea to gather everyone together and have a short speech about what a great day you have all had, and to thank all the teachers for their hard work. If you haven’t already, you could give out cups, medals, rosettes and prizes at the end of the day, too.

You can also use sports day to inspire some fun activities once everyone is back in the classroom, too. They could use the sports statistics for maths activities, write reports and stories about the day in English, and draw pictures or make cards to take home to their parents to remind them of what a fantastic day they had!

Organising the perfect sports day takes a little thought and preparation, but putting in the care and effort really does make all the difference and is the perfect way to celebrate the end of term!

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