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How to host a sports day

How to host a sports day

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Planning a nostalgic school-style sports day? We’ve got everything you need, from refreshments and edible prizes to cooling ice lollies and drinks.

Whether you’re celebrating the Olympics and Paralympics or planning an activity-filled birthday party for kids, a sports day is a great way to get everyone involved and out and about in the fresh air. For more inspiration for your child's birthday or other fun activities, look at our birthday ideas for kids at home and top summer activities for kids.

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To make your sports day a success, this is what you need to know.

Scout out a location

First things first - where will you hold your sports day? Take a look at local parks and playing fields (ask permission from the local authority if necessary), or a large garden would be ideal if you’d rather somewhere more private. Think about how many people you're inviting and whether there are facilities (parking/toilets/water fountains) that you can use.

Brainstorm ideas for activities

Kids running through finish line

Plan which games you'll play ahead of time to allow you to pack any equipment you might need, such as bean bags, hula hoops and balloons. Pick up plastic cones from toy or sports shops to help mark out areas for races and goals. Here are a few favourites we remember from school sports days to get you started...

  • Egg and spoon race
  • Wheelbarrow race
  • Hula hoop challenges
  • Space hopper race
  • Relay race
  • Balloon games
  • Bean bag throwing competition
  • Five-a-side football
  • Dribbling a football around cones
  • A mini triathlon of different skills

Gather your prizes

Iced medal biscuits

A pack of stickers is an easy way to reward winners, or thread ribbon through cookies to create edible ‘medals’. Remember to pack a few spares as consolation prizes!

Number & star medal cookies
Go Jetter’s medal cookies
Birthday biscuits
Fancy iced biscuits
Caption cookies

Plan your refreshments

Drinks

Jug of raspberry cordial

Have plenty of water on hand to keep kids hydrated, or make a big batch of lemonade or cordial to dilute when you arrive. Remember to pack plastic cups! For hot days, add ice cubes from a freezer (if you're in someone's garden), or freeze drinks in water bottles (don't overfill).

Really easy lemonade
Raspberry cordial
Pink lemonade
Blueberry & mint iced tea
Zingy blackberry lemonade

Snacks for kids

Skewers of fruit

For a child-friendly feast, pack up classic picnic favourites, such as quiches, scones, pasties and pasta salads. Take whole fruit to snack on throughout the day and try our rainbow fruit skewers.

Our best-ever snack recipes
Snacks for kids
Healthy snack recipes
Kids' picnic recipes

Sandwiches

Pile of chicken katsu sandwiches

Sandwiches are a great way to keep kids’ energy levels up and transport easily. Make-ahead in the morning or the evening before for hassle-free preparation. Some of our favourites are:
Egg & cress club sandwich
Caprese sandwich
Katsu Sandos
Egg-less mayo sandwiches
Loaded open sandwiches
Make sure you have fillings to suit all diet types as you don’t want anyone to go hungry!

Find more inspiration for fillings:
Sandwich fillings for kids
10 easy sandwich filling ideas
Sandwich recipes with health benefits

Ice lollies

Ice lollies on technicolour ice

If you're hosting your sports day in a garden and you have access to a freezer, fruity ice lollies are a great way to cool off after all that running around.Five easy ice lollies
The best ice lolly recipes for kids
Our best-ever ice lolly recipes

For the spectators

Sausage rolls on a board

Let proud parents cheer on from the sidelines with a cocktail or mocktail and nibbles to snack on.

Our favourite picnic recipes
Summer of sport recipes
Big match recipes
Our favourite summer drinks

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Are you throwing a sports day or a mini Olympics party? Let us know in the comments below...

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