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How to hold the perfect garden sports day #31daysofactivities

Today’s activity for our #31daysofactivities event is a fun way to get your kid outdoors and having lots of fun. Sarah from The Good Thing is Though, shows us how to hold the perfect garden sports day! Whether your kids are outdoorsy type or not, they will definitely love joining in.

How to hold the perfect garden sports day #31daysofactivities

I have a playroom bursting with toys… none of which are going to be played with as long as this beautiful sunshine continues! My three boys, aged 11, 9 and 4 are undoubtedly what you’d call outdoorsy types. I’ve looked on jealously as other kids sit glued to iPads. I know you’re not supposed to admit you wish your kids were screen addicts, but it looks pretty restful for the parents to me!

Come rain or come shine, my boys want to be outside, rarely appropriately dressed and with no thought given to the mud they’re about to trail back through my house. Well, I know when I’m beaten. Last spring, fresh from the awful winter lockdown, I decided to lean into their rambunctious energy and get involved myself. All three of them are very sporty, their big loves are football and gymnastics… so I threw them a huge sports day party in our garden.

Here are my top tips if you fancy hosting your own!


If you don’t have a large amount of outdoor space, get scouting suitable locations nearby. You can usually use local playing fields or parks free of charge, just ensure you have enough distance between you and other visitors so nobody ends up with an unexpected tennis ball to the head! We’ve previously held sports days on the beach, there’s something lovely about feeling the sand between your toes while you take part in the games. Don’t forget to pack some suncreams if the forecast is sunny.


If you’re in your own garden, it’s lovely to decorate the space for the occasion. Think bunting in the shape of footballs and rackets. You could make a more grown-up theme for the parents area… prosecco shaped bunting perhaps!?

If you’re off to the beach or the park, load up the car with lots of colourful cushions, beach towels and deck chairs if they’re available.


At our garden sports day last year, I pre-made a party tea before any of the kids arrived, meaning I could be fully present to adjudicate/referee the games! Tuna/ham/cheese sandwiches are always popular, as are party staples like sausage rolls and pizza slices. I also served huge fruit platters, chopped peppers and carrots… I find this goes a long way to ease my parental guilt when I then dish out chocolate cake and sweeties.

At the beach, I always love to do a very basic BBQ. Sausage sandwiches or burgers with melted cheese are lovely and filling after a morning of vigorous activity. Just make sure your local council allows disposable BBQ’s on the beach… the last thing you want on sports day is a council fine.

Make sure you have lots of drinks on offer, water and fruit juices, for all those thirsty children.


Ok so obviously this is the best part. Stock up on hoola hoops, bean bags, cones, coloured bibs, soft balls and bats. You can pick up this stuff pretty inexpensively from toy retailers and maybe the other parents could chip in to cover costs.

Get reminiscing all your old school sports day favourites and chuck in some new ones courtesy of your kids too. My favourites are:

  • Egg and spoon races
  • Wheel barrow races
  • Football dribbling challenges
  • Team rounders
  • Bat and ball keepy-ups
  • Bean bag balance races
  • Obtacle courses
  • Space hopper relays
  • Hoola hooping
  • Sack jump races


Now prizes aren’t strictly necessary; the day should be about fun not about winning! But if you’d like to give out prizes you can pick up toy medals fairly cheaply on the internet. Another cool way to give out a medal is to bake them then attach them to a ribbon… the kids can have them placed round their neck and then eat them there and then.

You could also think about a small goodie bag of sweeties. Last year I gave each child a packet of football stickers too. They were a hit!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, do take a look at more kids outdoors activites from our site.

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How to hold the perfect garden sports day #31daysofactivities

Sarah Hughes is a freelance blogger and copywriter based in the northeast of England. Sarah loves to write about positive psychology, health and fitness, as well as the odd sweary parenting rant.

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