Sun, water, laughter, competition, cheering, splashing, slip ‘n slide, prizes, music, teamwork, agility, strength, themes, excitement, stations and fun? All of these words describe one phrase: Field Day!
If you don’t know what Field Day is, then you are missing out tremendously. Field Day, depending on how schools do it, is a celebration of activities for students to participate close to the end of the school year. Most schools usually do this towards the end of the year, but I have heard of some schools conducting this day earlier for students. It doesn’t matter when; it just needs to be done right. Have you ever volunteered or organized a Field Day for your school? If not, then you should. Seeing the kids moving with excitement on student’s and teacher’s faces during the day is awesome. Have you ever thought about creating a theme for Field Day with fresh ideas and a purpose? It is so much fun...let me take you into my world.
A Passion for field day!
Paul Walker had a quote, “My philosophy is: If you can’t have fun, there’s no sense in doing it.” Creating Field Days are fun, but adding a little bit of spice to it makes it even better! You want to know the secret to an awesome Field Day? Attach a theme to it. Create stations based on that theme, play music based on the theme and give away prizes based on the theme. So many Physical Education teachers have that one passion for what we love. Field Day is my passion. I have added different themes into our Field Days every year. It puts more of a twist on how creative Field Day can get, and students love it! Could you create a theme-based Field Day with targeted themed activities for events? Maybe the students would like it better than just a regular title like Field Day. I dare you to try it and look at what a difference it could make. Find something students love, and then incorporate it into your event. You might be surprised. Just give it a chance.
Field Day Themes
Over the past six years, we have had a theme and stations connecting to the theme. The one thing you need to remember is it’s all for the kids. We have a banner made every year showing the success of Field Day. They are out on the field the day of, and then hung in the gym for students to see every day. I have eleven themes waiting to be used for Field Day. Crazy, no. A wizard, maybe? I’m being prepared and having fun doing it. I would like to think that these really make the students have an awesome day. Here is some of the creativity and excitement I have created in the past few years
1- Sunshine Theme: "Fun in the Sun"
This was something different, from what I was told, in the past ones the school had. PE Central had some great ideas for stations, and I added some of my own in as well. I knew from there on out that they needed to be themed, and so begun the madness of the Field Day popularity. Adding the word Sun into the title really nailed the weather for the day. It was a hot one, but we had plenty of water. I highly suggest buying blowup beach toys and inflatable pools for station activities. Make sure a lot of water is involved (water balloons, pools, and slip ‘n slide).
2- Superhero Theme: "Save The City"
Who doesn’t love superheroes? I thought I would expand the creativity for this one. More stations were involved with the themes. I also wanted to connect it with something that was going on or about to happen. Since The Avengers were getting ready to come out, Save The City! was created. Students had a blast! I went out and bought over 200 superhero masks, so students could feel like heroes for the day. Each station dealt with a certain superhero. For example, S.H.I.E.L.D. Spinners, was a station to see how far could you throw Captain America’s shield (Frisbee)?
3- Jurassic Park Theme: "The Lost World"
I decided to do The Lost World, a Jurassic Park theme. Jurassic World was about to come out, and I thought it would be a great. I bought dinosaur hats from the dollar store, as well as dinosaur cutouts from eBay that really brought the theme to life. The station activities revolved around being in Jurassic Park, and each grade level had a blast trying to escape. We did a DANGER: HIGH VOLTAGE Station, where students had to crawl underneath an electric fence (yarn), without touching it.
4- Ninja Turtles Theme: "Turtle Power"
Heroes in a half shell, Turtle Power! I themed it Turtle Power, which students went crazy for. We had students create their own masks. I also decided to ditch the ribbons and go with a prize drawing at the end of the end for the students. Do you know how many turtle-themed prizes you can buy? Most of these stations dealt with teamwork. I created Shredder out of a basketball blocker and students loved hitting him with the splash balls. I also bought Gravi-Goo, which was a perfect ooze in the stations. Our annual slip ‘n slide was simply titled Shell-Shocked.
5- Super Mario Theme: "Super Field Day World"
I wanted to go big with everything. It was in my mind if I would ever run out of themes for this event, nope. Our best theme was Super “Field Day” World. It was an instant smash; everyone knew who Mario and Luigi were! Stations got bigger, prizes got better, and this was when it dawned on me that I could make it a Field Year! I decided to sell t-shirts for the day, and students really loved that. Do you know how many songs you can put on a playlist for Super
Mario? I also bought a question block piñata from Party City, as well as question block boxes for prizes. We used a flag at the end of each station, like in the old school version, with Mario sliding down the pole to finish the level in the game. It worked out awesome. Each station was named after levels in the game. Students received two lives each level. A checkpoint was created in the middle for students to cross, which signaled the next student to try the level. Our Boss Level contained Bowser blocking the end. The basketball blocker ended up being used again to create him, and students loved taking him down.
6- Power Rangers Theme: "Power Rangers Field Day"
This one went better than expected. We had a playlist of the old and new versions for the song. We used the theme Power Rangers, since the new movie was coming out. I usually try to make it easy to find prizes for the day, and it was very simple to find for this one (pillows, blankets, action figures, masks, power morphers, and DVDs.) I dressed up as the Green Ranger to surprise students when they arrived at school that day. Each station dealt with their teamwork and quickness. I created Rita Repulsa out of one of my basketball blockers, and yet again students loved throwing splash balls at her.
7- Lego Theme: "The LEGO Field Day"
Our theme for this year is The LEGO Field Day, which should be another good one. Each station has been specifically designed for certain characters from The LEGO Movie (Emmet, Wyldstyle, Batman, Vitruvius, Benny and President Business). It’s going to be Awesome! Make sure to follow me on twitter @projectphysed to keep updated on it.
Incorporating the Theme Throughout the School Year
I decided to start making it a Field Day year in Physical Education, when we used the Super “Field Day” World theme. Whatever theme was being used, that was being included into the gym all year. The students loved it! I created lessons, station field day activities, and a field day packet for the year revolving around the theme (mirroring/matching, balancing, team building, throwing, kicking, etc.). We had started FitStep Pro Pedometers and Plickers the same year I decided to add Field Day into the curriculum, so I created character groups for the students. I paired students with certain characters from the theme (i.e. red group was Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
Organization went so well with getting groups together. I was also introduced to ComicLife, so our advertising became huge! Posters were created for the gym, as well as flyers preparing students for the day. Big thanks to Kevin Tiller @physedreivew who gave me some fresh ideas and showed me all of the tips to creating these elements. I also started a countdown board for students to see. This let them know how many days are left. Students asking, in February, if it’s close to Field Day is the best question.
I have been to the MOAHPERD Convention (Missouri Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) twice to present my ideas, which teachers seemed to have loved and left with more knowledge on the event. I have surrounding teachers around the district wanting to come and participate on the day.
Making these is a passion of mine and incorporating them even more into the Physical Education curriculum turned out to be another awesome idea. Try it! You will be surprised how much it can do for your classes. Involve some parent volunteers to help with organizing and implementing the field day event.
I am usually out very early setting up for these days. Last year, I was out working at 12:32AM. It took quite a while, but was worth every second. I barely sleep the night before. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve not being able to sleep. You want it to be an epic day for the students! No matter how tired, the thing I always said was "it's for the kids." It's their day, and they need to have fun! I was called crazy for being out there so early setting up. At the end of the school year, I always show a video teasing next year’s theme.
This gives the students something to talk about during the Summer and something to look forward to for next school year. Just remember put forth every ounce of effort. The staff also love to watch their students go through the stations. You must make it special for the students, they deserve it. I challenge you to make a theme-based Field Day this year, and then incorporate it into the year. You will see some of the wonders it can do. Better hurry, it’s coming up quickly.
Check out these field day resources:
Drew Burris has been teaching Physical Education for 7 years in Missouri at La Monte R-IV School District. He is also the High School Soccer Coach. He has been published on PE Central, published in Great Activities Magazine, MOAHPERD presenter, 2015 MSTA Star of the Classroom and 2016 CTA Educator of the Year. Drew enjoys teaching, coaching playing sports and spending time with his two daughters.
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