On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Christmas in July: Line up team in pairs. Set a chair or other marker at a pre-determined distance. Give each team a plastic sled with a long rope attached. Have one player sit on the sled and the other player pull the sled around the chair and back to the start. If player on sled falls off, have them return to sled and continue relay. First team to finish all pairs is the winner.

Lemonade Stand: Line up team in pairs. Set a table or chair at a pre-determined distance. Give one player in each pair a cup of water, and the other player a spoon and an individual serving packet of lemonade or iced tea drink mix. On the start, have each pair run to the table. The player with the drink mix will add the mix to the water, stir and have the player with the water drink the lemonade or tea. Together, they race to the start. First team to finish all pairs is the winner.

Balloon Toss: Line up team in pairs. Set a chair or marker at a pre-determined distance. Give each pair one water balloon. On the start, have the first pair toss the balloon between them every five steps. When the first team reaches the marker and begins to return to start, have the second pair begin. If the balloon breaks, the pair must stay at the spot where the balloon burst. Winning team is the team with the highest number of balloons returned unbroken to the start.

Pop-A-Shot: Line up team in pairs at one end of a basketball court. Give each team a basketball. On the start, have the first pair race to the hoop and shoot. Each player of the pair must make two (three, four, or five) shots before returning to the line. Majorly challenging with several players vying for a hoop at one basket!

Pool Relay Games

Sloppy Shirt: Divide team in half across length of pool. Give each team an oversized shirt. On the start, have first player put on T-shirt, swim to next team member, swap the shirt and return. First team with all members completing a pool length with T-shirt wins.

Sloppy Shirt 2: Line up team in shallow end of pool in a single line. Give each team one oversized shirt. Have each team hold the hand of the person beside them so that the chain of players extends from one side of pool to the other. On the start, have the first person put on the shirt, then remove the shirt and get it on the next person in line without breaking hands until the shirt is on the next player. As players finish, they may break hands and help members pass the shirt.

Wet Matchstick: Divide team in half across length of pool. Give each team a wooden fireplace matchstick. On the start, have first player swim to next team member and pass the matchstick as a baton. First team completed with a match that lights when struck is the winner.

Sink Your Counselors: Two teams are in the water at the same time. Each team’s counselors are in a canoe floating in the middle of the team. Each team can have three water pitchers. On the start, team players work to fill their team’s canoe with water to sink the counselors. First canoe to go completely under is the winner. (Tipping is cheating!)

Seeking Treasure: Two teams are in the water at the same time. Toss a large amount of pennies or coins into the water, enough for each team to make a chain across the width or length of a pool. On the start, have each team collect random pennies, return to their team and create a treasure chain across the width or length of the pool. First team to complete a line of coins wins.

Sometimes the best camp relay games come from tweaks and twists to old favorites. Share your favorite with us in the comments section or tell us how you’ve changed an old standby into something new and fresh—we’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks to the following people for sharing their relay ideas: Gina Bonifas, Margaret Crowley, Jamie Dailey, Tonya Eckert, Julie Queen, Jane White and Joanna Warhold.

Beth Morrow is an educator, author and Senior Week program director for Camp Hamwi, a week-long residential camp for youth ages 12-17 with diabetes. She believes that relay games make the world a better place. Reach her at beth@bethmorrow.com.

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