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Sports Day – Do’s and Don’ts

When the Summer holidays are looming, that can only mean one thing – Sports Day! Guest author Aoife Doyle, shares some ideas for making the most of the day!

A girl running on a track

Sports Day is a highlight of every school calendar. Pupils look forward to it every year and teachers, with the right planning and preparation, tend to love it too! It can be a busy and tiring day so read on to pick up some tips for a seamless and fun sports day this year. 

Choosing a date

As we all know, the Irish weather can be unpredictable. It’s really important to have a few dates available in late May and June so that if you do need to reschedule, you have options. Once you have chosen a date, make sure to let parents and guardians know well in advance. Children can usually wear their school tracksuit (if applicable) with shorts. Here’s hoping the sun will shine!


It can be really useful to have a few extra pairs of hands on the day. Depending on your school profile, you could have older children helping younger ones, transition year pupils from the local secondary school, or even parent volunteers. Check in with your school secretary if you are bringing in parents or local students, as they will need to be Garda vetted in advance. 

Preparation and Planning

Every school’s Sports Day timetable will be different. A good sports day will have a variety of activities, both indoor and outdoor (depending on available space) and with some breaks built in during the day. The day before the sports day, you should gather together all the materials and equipment that you will need, this will save you time on the day. 

Once you have chosen your activities, you can build your Sport’s Day timetable. Here’s a sample of a timetable that you might find helpful. You will see that the slots for Senior Infants in this case, are 30 minutes long. I would suggest spending 25 minutes at each activity and using the spare few minutes to tidy up/move to your next activity.

Senior Infants Sports for All Day
Mr. MurphyMs. ByrneMs. O’Connor
9-9.30RacesWater RaceDance/Yoga
9.30-10.00Parachute GamesStationsHigh Jump
10.30-11.00Dance/YogaRacesWater Race
11.00-11.30High JumpParachute GamesStations
12.00-12.30Water RaceDance/YogaRaces
12.30-1.00StationsHigh JumpParachute Games
1.00-1.30Cool Down, Presentation of Certificates, Storytime

Sports Day Activities

Children playing a parachute game

Some schools love to have competitive sports days, with prizes for some (and some that miss out!). Our school always goes with a Sports for All type day, with a focus on teamwork and co-operation. We do have some races, but we don’t focus on winners and losers.

Here is a selection of some of the activities that we do as a Junior School and have found successful. All of the activities can be adapted for older pupils too. 

  • Obstacle Course
  • Sack race
  • Three legged race
  • Egg and Spoon race – a classic!
  • Stations (sets of gymnastics equipment around a hall: balance beam, benches, target throwing, tunnel, trampoline etc)
  • Water Race – this is such a hit every year! The children are in 3 or 4 teams. The aim of the water race is to be the first team to fill a bucket at the end of the yard. Children take it in turns to fill a small cup from a basin and run with the cup to pour it into the bucket
  • Parachute – teacher plays a selection of co-operative games with the parachute
  • Dance 
  • Yoga – Dance and yoga are good options for the classroom, if space around the school is at a premium. Cosmic Kids Yoga on Youtube is always a hit
  • Penalty shootout
  • Basketball shootout
  • Teacher’s race
  • Pupils v Teachers football match/races
  • High jump – we have gotten some fantastic photos over the year from the high jump!

Some other practicalities to remember:

  • Children may need an extra drink or snack on Sports Day. 
  • Don’t forget to ask children to wear sunscreen/hats, especially if the weather is looking good. 
  • Make sure your First Aid bag is well stocked up for any minor bumps and bruises!
  • Parents love to be a part of Sports Day so it can be nice to include them in some way. Perhaps they could help out, be invited to watch some of the activities or even have a parents race!!


No matter what you choose for your Sports Day, you are guaranteed to have a fantastic day. It can really add to the atmosphere if you play some fun energetic music around the school. The indoor activities are good in case the weather is not on your side. You could have a little ceremony at the end of the day to mark the event, where all children receive a certificate for taking part. You could also have an award for best sportsperson where you can celebrate that taking part is really what counts.

You can download some fill-in certificates for Sports Day here.

Guest Teacher Author

Teachers’ Corner's school based guest authors share practical ideas and insights from their classrooms and schools.

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