Hosting The School’s Annual Field Day In Your Backyard: A Guide

Start with everybody’s least favorite activity involving rope burns: tug-of-war. This way, hands will be sore and arms will be tired, immediately cutting the length of this field day in half.

After divvying up teams based on t-shirt color or the very fact that you only have two children and therefore there is just one person per team, announce the rules. 

The first rule is not that there are no rules. The first rule is that the oak tree is the middle mark and the neighbor’s fence is out of bounds. The second rule is that name-calling of siblings will result in a five-minute time-out. The third rule is that false starts cause for immediate disqualification. The fourth rule is there are no rules.

After one of your children has been mercilessly dragged by the other past the oak tree, take a well-deserved break and serve orange slices. If you don’t have orange slices, just describe to the children how refreshing the orange slices would be at this time.

Following snacks, it’s time for tag. If you have two children, the oldest one is “it” and the front door is safe space. If you have three or more children, the youngest one is “it” and Mommy’s going to go inside for a while now. If you only have one child, Mommy’s partner is “it” and there is no safe space. The grass is lava and so is the sky.

Once everyone has been “it” at least seven times, tag can be over. Now is a great time to start the running segment of this field day, when the children must run until they cannot run anymore and are so tired they feel the need to go inside and read for a while.

After running and reading, announce the rules for “yard work.” Explain how yard work is a special field day activity that’s usually saved for the upper school kids, but today, you’re gonna let your kids do it at home just this once. The rules are simple; it’s just like tag, except the leaves are “it” and home base is the garbage bag that needs to be filled with leaves.

Then, it’s time for everyone’s second-favorite activity that makes your arms hurt: red rover. Your children call over to the neighbors children and no one can ever come over.

Have an ice cream break!

Post-ice cream break is a great time for more running.

Finally, start “clean the gutters.” This is just like capture the flag, except it’s all about cleaning gutters.

Of course, you should have been keeping team points this whole time. When scoring, please note that if at any point someone was trampled in tug-of-war, it’s minus five. Add an extra 10 points if anyone gathered broken twigs during the yard work segment.  If you only have one kid, don’t let them win. Field day is as good a time as any to learn how to cope with anger.

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