Tips for a Successful PE Field Day
I’m going to share field day tips and tricks that will help minimize stress and maximize the fun during your end of the year celebration. I’ll share ways you can get started planning your event, preparation strategies, and a few modified versions of what is widely considered the most popular field day activity, tug of war. If you’re looking to add to your field day experience, you’ll definitely want to stay tuned into this podcast.
So let’s talk about field day. I would say field day is the most traditional school wide event the physical educator organizes for their school community. Organizing Field Day is difficult and strenuous. So here’s a few ideas I hope will take some of that weight off your shoulders.
What’s Your Field Day Goal?
It’s all about getting started. Think about what’s your goal. Start with the end in mind. What do you want students to achieve in your field day? Once you got this, pick a theme or format for your event. Do you want field day to be competitive or cooperative? Do you want students to move freely in a carnival style setting or do you want classes to stay together rotating from station to station? Once you figured out the format, lock in a date on your school calendar and it’s time to start preparing for this event.
Field Day Planning Tips
Organizing a school wide event can be very stressful. Some of my worst nightmares became reality seeing the event I thought I had planned so amazingly burn flames. Field day begins well ahead of the actual event. It starts with the planning. Here’s a few preparation tips I’ve learned over the last decade when organizing field day. Think about what type of activities will work well with your students: Large group, partners, individual. Choose activities that your students already know and like. When deciding on activities don’t forget to ask yourself, does this need to be taught ahead of time? Any activity your students aren’t as familiar with, I would recommend keeping the direction short and concise. Anytime students don’t know what to do or need clarification, boredom and unwanted behaviors are surely just around the corner.
Do You Have Volunteers?
Another thing to think about is will you have enough coverage on the day of your event? Don’t forget to seek out volunteers well ahead of time. Talk to your teachers, parents and community partners. An easy way to do this is create a flyer announcing your field day and asking for volunteers. Make sure to send this out to your community at least a month before your event and if getting volunteers for your event is difficult, try out what I did. On years where I couldn’t get enough volunteers, I coordinated a school wide walk-a-thon first thing in the morning on the day of my event. Teachers brought their students to our track where I had various school staff members supervise students walking, jogging, or running for 45 minutes while all the classroom teachers received their contractual planning time. What was great about this is that it ended up freeing up my schedule for the day so I didn’t have any classes and it ensured all classroom teachers would be outside with their students throughout our whole event.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Another preparation is prepared for the unexpected rain, lack of help, equipment issues, schedule conflicts shouldn’t be a complete surprise to you. These things are going to happen. Preparing for these potential issues ahead of time will ensure your Field Day isn’t drastically altered.
Field Day Packets
I’d also recommend that you create field day packets for all teachers. In this packet make sure to include an agenda of the field days event, a map of the event layout, a letter addressing expectations to students before heading to the event and answers to any frequently asked questions you think anyone might have.
Create Help Stations Ahead of Time
My last preparation tip is to create help stations for your event. The four I recommend: First aid, hydration, behavior and the lost and found. Make sure your nurse and administration are aware of these help stations and where they will be located on the day of your event.
3 Tug of War Modifications
My last field day tip I’m going to share is some tug of war modifications. I have three modifications that have worked really well.
1. Noodle Tug of War
My first tug of war modification, I call noodle tug of war. That’s where students partner up, balance on one foot while holding one end of the pool noodle. Be the first to get your opponent’s other foot on the ground. Very simple concept.
2. Soak ‘Em Tug of War
My second tug of war modification, I call soak em’ tug of war. Place water balloons behind each line for students to reach for, if successful let them have a little fun with those.
3. Four Way Tug of War
My last modification, multi-way tug of war. Make your own four way tug of war rope via knots, splicing or karabiners. Place a tennis ball on a traffic cone behind each team area and see which of the four teams can be victorious.
I’m a huge fan of field day. I’m glad I found ways to eliminate the stress of organizing this event. If you’re looking to enhance your field day event, don’t forget that there are many resources and experts within our Phys Ed community you can reach out to for assistance.