27 Fun Relay Race Games And Tips

Races, where players play in teams to achieve a task, are known as relay races. It is mandatory for both teams to have equal players for relay race games.

Relay races can be played anywhere – day camps, school recesses, outdoor parties, and indoor get-togethers. These races help in building team spirit, communication skills, and a sense of healthy competition.

This article lists a number of relay races that can be played either indoors or outdoors. These can be played by all age groups and in a variety of scenarios. Get set go!

Outdoor Relay Race games

Summer days and barbeque parties are perfect for outdoor relay races. Use the below races to add fun and excitement to your picnic!

Crab walk

This game is best played on a grassy surface. Demonstrate how to crab walk before starting the actual race. Players must sit on the ground, put their hands behind them, palms down with fingers facing their feet.

When they stand, their knees must be hip-length apart and their feet must be planted on the ground. They must carry out the race in this position. Players must make their way to the finish line turn by turn. All players of the team must make it across the finish line. The first team to do so wins.

Fill it water race

Use items that are available like rocks, chairs, tables, cups, etc. to set up an obstacle course. Each team is given a bucket of water and each player is given a plastic cup. Ensure that the water level in the buckets is equal and that the plastic cups are of equal capacity.

Place an empty bucket at the end of the obstacle course. Players of each team must take turns to fill their cups with water and pass the obstacle course. They must empty their cup into the empty bucket at the end of the obstacle course. The team to fill up their empty bucket first wins the race.

Bobbing for coins

Coat a tray with honey or sugar syrup and keep coins on them. Keep another tray ready with puffed cereal and paper clips. Players from teams must come up turn by turn and pick up a coin and a paper clip and take it back to their team.

The catch is that they are not allowed to use their hands to pick up the objects and take them back to their team. The first team to have all members successfully complete the task wins the race. This game will leave your players sticky. Splash some water and get the party going!

Sponge race

Both teams are given a bucket full of water and a sponge. At the finish line, an empty bucket is placed. Players of each team must take turns to soak their sponge and collect water in the sponge. They must run to the finish line and squeeze out as much water as they can from the sponge into the empty bucket.

Players must run back to the start line and pass the sponge on to the next person. Keep a timer ready. Teams keep running till the time is up. The team that has filled the empty bucket to a higher mark at the end of five minutes wins the game.


This is another relay race that doesn’t require any equipment but gets kids to explore new positions and movements. Mark the start and finish lines. Ideally, teams of two are required for this game. One player of the pair must stand and hold the ankles of the other player who will be walking on their hands.

The player walking on their hands must ensure that they remain in a plank position. Players must walk towards the finish line in this position. Once there, they must change positions and walk back towards the start line. The first team to finish this wins the wheelbarrow relay race.

Sack race

A popular picnic pass time – sack race is a classic relay race. To play the game, you could use burlap sacks or large pillowcases.

Team members must stand inside the sack or pillowcase and hop from the start to the finish line. They must turn around and make it back to the start line. The next player can now start hopping to the finish line.

In this way, all players take turns to hop to the finish line and back. When all players have finished, the task is complete. The team to do so first wins the race.

Mix it up relay

This race has pretty simple rules that can be understood by everyone. Players of a team must run to reach the finish line and come back to the start line. Each player on the team must complete this distance in a different manner.

For example, one player can hop, one can crab walk, one can skip, one can run, etc. You can provide the players with props to use so that they can get more creative with it. When all players have taken a turn to complete the distance, the team has successfully completed the task. The team to finish first wins.

Down and back

Find a ball that is easy to pass among people. This race can be played in two different ways. First, make the start and finish lines further away than usual. Players must pass the ball from one player to the next. The first person then runs to the end of the line to continue the chain.

In this way, players keep extending the chain to the finish line. The team to reach the finish line wins. The other way to play this race is to make the player chain across from the finish line. Players pass the ball across the chain. The last person in the chain runs towards the finish line and comes back to hand it to the last player.

The ball is passed towards the person towards the finish line so they can run towards the finish line. The team that first passes the ball through all the players’ hands wins the game.

Three-legged race

To play this race, you will need either long scarves or bandanas. Pair kids up into teams. Each pair must stand side by side. Using the bandana or the scarf, the inside legs of both members are tied together.

After doing this, the pair will look like they have three legs collectively. This is why the race is called the three-legged race. Mark the starting and ending lines. Each pair must make their way to the finish line by working together.

This race could also be converted to a three-armed race where the inside arms of the players are tied together. In both cases, the duo that crosses the finish line first wins the race.  

Pass the water

This game is similar to the sponge race described above. Water from a full bucket at the start line must be transferred to the empty bucket at the finish line. To achieve this, players of one team form a chain from the start to the finish.

The team is given a plastic cup. Players must use this cup to fill water from the bucket, pass it along to the next player till it reaches the last player in the chain. Then, the cup is emptied into the bucket at the finish line.

The catch is that the cup must be passed using only teeth. All the players’ hands must be bound behind their backs. Use a timer. The team that has collected more water after 5 minutes wins the race.

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Indoor relay Race Games

The fun that relay races bring can be enjoyed indoors as well. Spice your indoor parties with the races below!

Egg and spoon

Each player in the team is given an egg and a spoon. The eggs can be plastic or real. If you are using real eggs, make sure to hard boil them. Players must carry the egg on the spoon and move from the starting to the finish line and come back to the start line. The next player continues the game.

If any player drops the egg, they must pick up the egg and start again from the start line. The first team to complete is the winner of the race.

Fan the fish

Cut fish out of colored paper. Ensure that the paper is cut from lightweight paper. Give each player a fan, a magazine, or a thick board to fan the lightweight fish. Place a flat plate a few feet from the starting line.

The players are required to fan the lightweight fish with the board given to them until it lands on the plate. All players of the team must take turns in successfully completing the task. The team that does so first will win the race.

Necking the orange

Fix the end and start lines. Ensure that their distance is a little more than the other races. Players from a team make a chain. The first player holds an orange under their chin. They must pass on the orange to the next person without using their hands. In this way, the orange must be passed under the chin without using hands to all the players. The first player can run and join the end of the chain.

In this way, the chain keeps extending till the finish line. Keep a timer of 10 minutes. The team that deposits the most number of oranges to the finish line in the stipulated time wins the game.

Over under, over under

Each team is given a beanbag, a small ball, or a balloon. The members of the team line up. The aim of the game is to pall the ball overhead and under the legs until it reaches the end of the line. The player at the end of the line must run to the finish line and come back. The person must join the last in the line.

When all players have run to the finish and come back, the task is done. The team to finish the task first will win the game.

Dress up

Mark start and finish lines. Place a pile of clothes at the finish line. Players from each team must go to the pile turn by turn and put on one item of clothing. Once the player puts it on, they must run back to the start line. The next player does the same.

The team that adorns all the clothes on the players’ first will win the race.

Newspaper press

After diving the group into teams, make pairs in the team. The aim of the race is to hold a newspaper and reach the finish line and come back. Each pair must hold the newspaper and run but they must not use their hands. If a pair drops their newspaper, they must go back to the start line and start again. Once all pairs are done with the task, the team has completed the task. The team to do so first wins the race.

Ping pong pushing

To play the game you will need a level surface like the top of a table or a board. Each team is given a ping pong ball. Players must push the ball with their noses over the surface.

All team members must push the ping pong ball to the finish line and back to the starting line. The first team that has all their players finish the task will win the task.

Vaseline nose race

This fun but silly race is sure to light up the room. Dab Vaseline on all the players’ noses. Players must pass a cotton ball in a chain. The cotton ball must be passed only by touching noses. Using hands is not allowed. The Vaseline may cause the cotton balls to fall off. Keep extra balls in hand so that it doesn’t get too messy.

The winning team is the one to get the cotton ball to the last person on the team.

Jigsaw challenge

This race is designed to engage children that are older. Arrange similar jigsaw puzzles for the teams. Ensure that each team has one puzzle at least. Players must take one piece of the puzzle from the box and run to the table that has been kept at the finish line. The piece can be placed randomly on the table or in connection with the other pieces.

Once all the pieces are transferred, players can stand near the table and assemble the puzzle. The team that put the puzzle together first wins the game.

Hula hoop

Instruct the teams to join hands and form a circle. Loop a hula hoop over one player’s arm before they take the formation.

Players must pass the hoop on to the next player without unclasping their hands. They must direct the hula hoop over their body, step over it, and get it to their other arm to pass it on to the next person. This continues until the hula hoop comes back to the place where it started. The first team to have completed the circle wins the race.

Shoe hunt

If a large group is being entertained, this will be the perfect race for that. Have all players take off one shoe and pile it up. Make sure the teams line up equal distance from the pile of shoes.

Players take turns to run to the pile, find their shoe, put it on, and run back to the team’s start line. When all players find their shoes, the team is done with the task. The team to do so first wins the game.

Drop the penny

Mark two lines as the start and finish line of the race. Place an egg carton around halfway between the two lines. Each team must have an egg carton. At the finish line, place a bowl containing coins. The number of coins must be equivalent to the number of players. Players must run to the finish line and pick up a penny. They must then run to the egg carton and drop the penny into the carton from waist length.

Once all players have taken a turn to complete the task, the game ends. The team that completes first will be the winner.

Peanut challenge

For the race, you will need to arrange a bag of unshelled peanuts. Each team must have at least 10 peanuts and two chairs for each team. Teams must stand in a line with the players holding hands. Place a chair facing the team and keep ten peanuts on the chair.

Place the other chair to face the team at the end of the line. Players must aim to transfer peanuts down the line one at a time. The players must do this while hands remain clasped together. The first team to transfer all 10 peanuts first wins the race.

Run, waiter, run

Each team is given a ping pong ball and a dinner plate or a small tray. Players must carry the plate as a waiter would to the finish line. They must then turn around and give the plate to the next person on the team.

If a player drops the ball from the tray, they must pick it up and then start from the start line again. When all players in the team have taken the tray across and back, the task is complete. The team to complete the task first wins the race.

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Balloon Relay Race Games

Adding a balloon to the races will add an extra element of fun. Use the races below to incorporate balloons into your races.

Pass the balloon

To play this race, you will need to blow up balloons beforehand. Keep some spares in case any of them pop in between the game. Players must run from the finish line and back to the starting line with the balloon in between their knees. They must pass the balloon to the next player in their knees.

Once all players have taken a turn to run to the finish line and back the race ends. The team that finishes first wins the race. Keep in mind that players aren’t allowed to use their hands while taking the part in the race.

Balloon pop

Blow up balloons enough for all players. One team stands in a line. Keep a chair at the finish line in front of the row. Players must take their balloons and run to the chair. They just pop the balloon by keeping it on the chair and sitting on it.

After popping the balloon, they must run back to the start line. Once all players have finished popping their balloons, the team has completed the task. The team to finish first wins the game.

Two player balloon run

Divide the group into teams. Members of the team are made into pairs. Set up an obstacle course with items that are available to you. The pairs of the team must hold a balloon between their heads and complete the race. The team that will win will be the one in which all the pairs complete the task first.

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Tips For Relay Races

To enhance the experience of the players, use the following tips –

  • Provide a demonstration of the race before it starts. Ensure that all players are clear with the task at hand.
  • The location for the relay race is important. Ensure that there is enough space for the race to commence. Choose indoor or outdoor locations depending on the race.
  • Remove unnecessary obstacles and objects that will come in the way of the race.
  • Arrange for water, snacks, and other refreshments for players to indulge in after the race.

Relay races are enjoyable activities that help in team-building and communication. They can be used in training sessions, picnics, hot summer day get-togethers, and many more occasions. Decorate the location according to the theme of the race and you are ready to get racing!

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