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Field Day Dos and Don’ts

School children all taking part in a three legged race

Around this time of year all over the world schools are beginning to plan a Field Day for their students. When done well, Field Days can be an active and fun time for everyone.  As a partner of the Together Counts™ program for healthy, active living, we wanted to share a few tips for parents to help make your child’s Field Day one to remember.



  • Volunteer to help with planning and organizing. It takes a lot of minds and bodies to put together a successful Field Day. Bring your ideas, your friends and other contacts you may have for donations, etc.
  • Invite all parents and community members for their input on making it a fun day for all. Be sure everyone who wants to be involved knows about the meetings.
  • Come up with a Field Day theme.
  • Plan the activities with the goals of fun and activity in mind. Keep them simple and age appropriate.
  • When considering activity ideas, be line conscious: Don’t have kids stand in line for long. A field day should be full of fun and action, not standing around watching others.
  • Listen to feedback from past Field Days. Keep the things that worked.
  • Include water games if your climate allows. Kids go nuts over these and they are typically a smash hit. Plan to have these near the hose.
  • Think of unique activities that are cooperative in nature rather than competitive. Have a good mix of types of activities.
  • Schedule the day to include breaks, rotation, activity names, etc.
  • Create a map to show where each activity will be at the school.
  • Ask for volunteers to photograph the event and to share photos with parents and teachers.
  • Organize classes to create signs for each station.
  • Provide ideas for healthy snacks to serve during Field Day. See if you can help find a donor from a local grocery store or restaurant.
  • Include the school’s nurse or health aide to create a First Aid Station.


  • Don’t wait until the last minute to plan. Begin early.
  • Don’t have a small group of planners that do this every year. Include new folks and new ideas to keep it fresh, fun, and inclusive.
  • Don’t focus on competitive activities only.
  • Don’t repeat mistakes from Field Days in the past. Do your research and listen to feedback.
  • Don’t focus on awards for the “winners.” Field Days are more fun when the focus is on participation, not who was 1st, 2nd and 3rd.



  • Have some volunteers set up as much as possible the night before.
  • Have a final meeting with all volunteers prior to the start to cover the main goals of the day and details about safety.
  • Be prepared to do anything. A lot can happen that varies from the plan. Go with the flow.
  • Have your own children well rested and fed. Have them dressed for action and fun.
  • Talk to your children about the goals of the Field Day. The focus is on fun.
  • Work to ensure all children are having a good time. You should see lots of smiles!
  • Keep your eyes and ears open. Catch and stop any inappropriate behavior quickly.
  • Afterwards, have your children and others send thank you notes to those who volunteered and donated their time and goods.


  • Don’t wear your best clothes. Field Day is going to be a lot of work and some of it is dirty work. Be dressed and ready for that. Have fun with it!
  • Don’t expect to participate in the activities. This is a day for the kids. Your role is a spectator and an encourager.

The keys to a fabulous and fun Field Day are preparation and a focus on fun. It should be a safe and enjoyable day for all!

SPARK is a research-based program that provides award-winning, evidence-based programs for Physical Education (K-12), Classroom Physical Activity & Recess, After School, Early Childhood, Nutrition and Health. Since 1989, SPARK has provided curriculum, training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders worldwide.

For more outdoor activity ideas, check out Together Counts!

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