Here’s an alternative to the traditional field day.
Submitted by Mario Reyna from, McAllen, Texas. K-3
Background: In most cases, elementary physical education teachers are responsible for coordinating field days. I organized a traditional field day for 15 years. Everybody loved our field day, but I felt something was missing. At a summer Texas Association for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (TAHPERD) conference, I was introduced to Buddy Fun Day – a modern and innovative field day format!
Equipment: Depends on activities selected. The majority of equipment needed to conduct a Buddy Fun Day should already be in place for most physical education programs. With the help of 5th grade students, we were able to set-up all of the activities in approximately 15 minutes.
Traditional Field Day: Our traditional field day was set-up for classes to compete against each other. Grade levels were assigned to a designated field. Events included the 50-meter dash, softball throw, potato sack race, etc. Most students would participate in only two events in a 2-hour time period. Although our traditional field day received high marks, I was looking for a field day that would allow for more active participation.
Buddy Fun Day: In Buddy Fun Day, each participant is paired with a partner (buddy). “Buddies” have the opportunity to compete against each other in as many of the activities as possible. We have about 30 or so different games and activities for the students to choose. As mentioned before, the event stations are based on available equipment.
Activity Stations: For example, stations may include the standing broad jump, 50-yard dash, bean bag toss, basketball dribble race, hula hoop marathon, jump rope challenge, free throw shooting contest, etc. Each station is numbered and supervised by a parent volunteer.
1st Place Ribbons: Everyone is encouraged to earn a 1st place ribbon by completing at least 25 events. To keep track, the children carry cards that are hole-punched after each event by the parent monitors. The results from our 1st-5th grade students were very impressive – over 90 percent of participants received a 1st place ribbon! We also had Buddy Fun Day t-shirts purchased with funds donated by local businesses who sponsored a station. Parental involvement was also very high. Needless to say, our administrators and teachers loved Buddy Fun Day!
Junior Buddy Fun Day: Our Pre-K and Kindergarten students participate the day before the regular Buddy Fun Day. Fifth grade students were assigned as “big buddies.” Big buddies mentor their “little buddies.” The positive self esteem of our 5th grade students is very evident. Parents and 4th grade students assist in managing each station. Cooperative learning was at an all-time high – buddies must work together to be successful. More importantly, all students are having fun and are very active!