Run Up and Back
Carry theme toy (or ball) up to line and back. Pass off to next person.
Run Up and Do Task:
Run up to line and then do something like: do five jumping jacks, throw theme toy in a bucket, throw theme toy through a hoop, put head on baseball bat and turn around 5 times, do a somersault, hop through a hopscotch, hula hoop 5 times, sing happy birthday to birthday child (or another song fitting the party theme), turn around 6 times etc. Then run back and tag next child.
Instead of running, have the players: run backwards, hop, jump on two feet, skip, slide sideways, do big walking steps, do baby steps (toe to heel), or do the silly walking. For older players, you can even invent complicated combinations like hop 2 times, then jump three times, then do 5 baby steps. To make it easier, you can have the players do the silly race up and then run back.
: Have players hold something on a spoon as the go up and back. This can be a theme toy, a water balloon, a potato, an egg, a ball or anything which fits in a spoon.
Head Topper Races:
Have players hold something on top of their heads as they race. This can be a theme toy, a stuffed animal, a bean bag, or some other object.
Ball Run and Throw Races:
Run with any sort of ball up and back, then pass off to the next player by having to throw the ball a few feet (further for older players). Next player has to catch the ball or the first player has to run get the ball and try again.
Obstacle Course Races:
Set up a series of easy tasks for the runners like jumping through a hula hoop, doing a somersault, doing 5 jumping jacks, walking on a board, putting a ball in a bucket and then going back doing the same tasks in reverse.
Using water balloons, cups, or sponges, you can do lots of fun races in warm weather. Have a bucket of water for each team and have them use sponges or cups of water to go fill up a smaller bucket at the goal. Or have them run up with a water balloon and either hit a target or have to sit on it until it pops. Do an over and under race with a sponge. Have one person sit with a cup on their head at the goal line and the rest of the team runs up with the soaked sponge and tries to fill up the cup by squeezing the sponge into the cup (and onto their team mate’s head!).
Over and Under–
Lines spread out a bit. First person hands theme toy (or ball) over their head to the next player, second player hands the theme toy under their legs to the next player. Over and Under pattern continues until toy reaches the end of the line. The last player runs with the toy to the front of the line and the team goes Over and Under again. The team is done when everyone has had a turn to be the first to pass the toy.
Collect clothes and accessories that go with your party theme and are big enough to fit over the player’s own clothes. For example, for a luau party, you could use lei, sunglasses, Hawaiian shirt, flip flops and hula skirt. For a princess party, you could use a princess dress, high heels, a princess hat, and gloves. You will need a set of similar clothes for each team. Set the clothes at the end of your playing field in a pile. At “go” the first player on each team rushes down and puts on all the clothes and then runs back to their team. They take off the clothes and the second player puts them on, runs to the end of the playing field and takes them off. They run back and tag the third player. The game finishes when all the players have put on the clothes.