Sports day is an event that everyone will remember, which can make it a daunting one to be in charge of. They are a great way for children to show off what they can do to their peers, parents and teachers, work as teams and support each other and they also encourage great sportsmanship. But the most important element of a successful sports day is that everyone has fun – including teachers and parents! Here are the three things you need to do to be remembered for all the right reasons!
Fail to plan, plan to fail
It may sound obvious but leaving everything to the last minute is the best way to up your stress levels ahead of the big day, and will leave you open to error. The more planning you can do, the better.
The usual timetable of school is out the window for the day, sparking excitement all around, and taking part in a range of activities with their classmates is a chance to enjoy challenges – and compete against each other. Enjoy organising the sports day as much as you can! So where do you start? Here’s a list of things to plan to get you started.
Who is joining in?
Some schools group sports days based on years, but having a whole school participate is really popular too. The older children can act as team leaders for the groups. You can even organise it so they help out with the running of the day. This is a great experience for them – especially as in less than a year they will be heading to big school.
If your sports day includes the whole school, there is likely to be more coordination required, but its also a great way to get everyone together to enjoy each others company and show support for one another. Make sure to add in a race or two for teachers or parents – this is fun for them but is also fun for the children to watch!
If you have a school field, that’s an obvious choice. But if not, where will it be? Make sure you have a field big enough for everyone. Even if it’s in your school field, some people coming along (parents/grandparents) may not know where it is, so make it clear with exterior signs directing attendees the right way.
Choose the games and activities
There are a lot of ideas out there to choose from to make your school sports day a hit. The classics are always fun and tend to not require much equipment and planning on the actual day. If you plan too many complex activities, you’ll be running around setting up before each one. Simple games like the egg and spoon race or three-legged race can be made more difficult based on the age group of the children participating by extending the course, adding obstacles and cones to navigate around.
What stations will you have? And who will coordinate?
You are going to need separate stations for each game/activity and different people monitoring each one so you can find out who wins! At the end of the event, you can total the points and announce the winning team. You’ll need an overall coordinator who will start and stop each station – usually using a whistle. Again, older children would probably jump at the chance to help with this as it gives them a responsibility…and they get to blow a whistle!
The number of stations you need depends on the number of year groups or teams taking part, and the number of games or activities you’re including. It typically helps to keep the teams quite small so there isn’t lots of waiting around, keeping everyone moving and feeling involved and energised. You don’t want the children getting bored and losing interest.
Don’t forget about the parents or a PTA if you have one. They are usually happy to help with selling refreshments for the adults and other similar things as it raises much-needed funds for the school.
Do your shopping
You’ve made your plan and started getting going – now you need to make your shopping list! Depending on how much you have to work with, some of this may not be possible, but as much as you can is great.
Essentials for the day
You need to have plenty of water available to drink, tell everyone to bring a packed lunch for a picnic if you’re having one as well as sun cream and sun hats in case you are lucky enough to have a sunny day.
Prizes and congratulations
It can feel really rewarding for the children to receive an award for their sportsmanship such as a rosette, medal or award. You can give prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place along with prizes for the hardest working children and the best team player. This is really motivating to children.
For each station – a clipboard, pen, score sheet and a whistle!
For you – or the leader of the sports day – a whistle, timer and perhaps even a loudspeaker.
You may already have most of it, but for any of the games you don’t have equipment for, get buying. Account for extras of everything so you’re not left with not enough.
Drinks for adults
Organise this with your PTA if you have one!
Enjoy the day
Allow yourself enough time to set everything up – do as much as you can beforehand. You can even write a checklist if you feel it might help. Make sure the children are dressed sensibly and appropriately for all of the events. Ensure you’ve got a couple of first aid kits available…just in case! At the end of the day, you can announce the winners – be sure to thank everyone for their team effort and sportsmanship.
Make sure you have enough people around to help you afterwards as tidying up the equipment won’t be a one-man job! You could even ask the older pupils if they would like to help with this. If the school day is ending straight after, make sure your registers are to hand to check the children out of school.
Afterwards, you can then sit back and relax and reflect on how the day went. This will help your planning for next year. Don’t forget to thank any helpers.