Relay Races

Relay races are great for a family reunion. They’re fun games to play for kids and adults, fun to watch and can take place indoors or outdoors.

Traditional Relay Races

Sack Race

Use one gunny sack or old pillowcase per team. One person from each team steps inside the sack and hops a predetermined distance and back again. The racer then passes the sack to the next person in line. Make the hoping distance equivalent to age, ability and space restrictions. Want to get wild and crazy? Try playing with blind folds.

    (Relay races are fun group games for teams but can
    usually be adapted for individual play as well. In the
    sack race, for example, each participant would have
    his/her own sack, line up all at once and hop all at
    the same time.)


Wheelbarrow Race

Two people form a wheelbarrow and a driver. The driver holds the ankles of his teammate, who plays the role of the wheelbarrow by walking with his hands. They race to the goal and back. Then the next two people race, the next two, etc., until everyone on the team has had a chance. If your relay team has an odd number of players, one person sits out or one person goes twice.

    (Here’s a tip for successful relay races:
    make sure each team has the same number of players
    and that their skill levels are roughly even. In other
    words, if relay “Team A” has 6 members and “Team B”
    has only 4, Team B has the obvious advantage.)




Crab Walk

With your chest towards the ceiling (or sky!), use your hands and feet to crawl backwards to the goal and back again.

3-legged Race

One person ties his left leg to another person’s right leg. They work together to run or walk (or stumble??) to their goal and back. Strap the legs together at the ankle or calf with a strip of fabric, bandana or stretchy nylon.

Egg & Spoon Race

Each participant must carry an egg on a small spoon. The object is to go as quickly as possible but without dropping the egg. If it drops, the player must go back to the starting line and try again. Variation: use ping pong balls instead of eggs.

Fun Dressup Games

These relay races are especially fun for young children.

fun dressup games Fancy Dude Relay

Each team chooses a captain and sends the captain to stand a short distance away. One at a time, players take turns dressing their team captain with one article of clothing. For example, the first person in line runs to the captain and dresses him/her in a shirt and then races back to the team. The next person places a hat on the captain’s head. Then a scarf, pants, gloves, boots, etc. Use as many items of clothing as you have team members.

Suitcase Relay

Place a suitcase (or bag) full of clothing a short distance away. (For fairness, each team should have the same types and styles of clothing.) One at a time, each player runs to the suitcase, puts on all the clothes, takes them off again and returns to his/her team. Hint: over-sized clothing is easier to take on and off. Overalls are lots of fun! If you’re using a reunion theme, fill the suitcase with clothing that matches the theme.

Fun Games for Teens

These relay races will appeal to the teens in your family.

Salty Whistle

The first person on each team eats a salty cracker, such as a saltine, and then tries to whistle. As soon as he/she whistles, the next person in line takes a turn. The first team with every player able to whistle wins. Add more action by setting a package of crackers on a table some distance away. One at a time, each player must run to the crackers, eat, whistle and return to their team.

Paper Training Race

Using two sheets of newspaper, each team member takes a turn moving from one spot to another stepping only on the paper. (Have extra newspaper on hand so you’re prepared for rips and tears.)

Feeding the Baby

Each relay team can elect two players for this game OR use everyone on the team, two at a time. Fill a small glass with milk (or other liquid). One player uses a teaspoon to feed the milk to the other player, one spoonful at a time.

Family Bonding Activities

relay games

These relay races require a certain amount of willingness to look silly and get close!

Chimp Race

Players grab their ankles and walk (run if you can!) with stiff legs to the goal and back.

Pass the Doughnut

Team members pass a doughnut from the first person in line to the last person in line using only the straws (or sticks) in his/her mouth.

Orange Race

Without hands, pass an orange down the line, chin to chin.




Canning Ring on a String

Attach a canning ring on a long string. The first person in line runs the string down their shirt and down their pants. The next person runs the string up their pants and up their shirt. Players rotate between taking the string up and down through their clothing until the ring reaches the end of the line. Caution: This one looks and feels absolutely ridiculous!

Hair Ribbon Relay

The first player ties a ribbon in the hair of the person standing next to them. That person unties the ribbon and ties it onto the next person in line. Play continues until the hair ribbon reaches the end of the line.



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