Let’s head back in time to when we were kids. Somewhere between 1984-1992 feels right. What were we doing at Halloween parties and festivals? Relay races, that’s right. Maybe even some dunking for apples. Here is a Halloween pumpkin relay to play with your family, preschool, and neighbors.
Related: Enjoy Halloween? Here are 31 Halloween activities for preschoolers.
What is a pumpkin relay race?
A relay race is an event in which the player runs back and forth to beat the other team.
- Play this Halloween game with two players, or make small teams with the neighbors!
- Race the pumpkins from one side of the yard to the trick-or-treat basket by balancing the pumpkin on the tennis racket.
- If the pumpkin falls off, pick it up and begin again at the start.
- The player to finish placing all the pumpkins in the trick-or-treat basket first wins!
Remember these five at-home activities? I found the plastic pumpkins and trick-or-treat bins knowing they would make a fun after-school activity.
Variations of the game
The first time my two boys raced the pumpkins, they followed the rules. They knew that the goal was to pick up one pumpkin at a time and balance it bringing it to the other side. It is the perfect fall activity as the weather begins to cool.
After a few rounds, the rules began to shift.
Now, the boys were placing all the pumpkins on the racket at a time, still trying to be the first to complete the game.
This is an example of how strategy improves when playing games. They won if they could get to the other side without the pumpkins falling off. A variation to this new strategy would be extending the length from one side to the other.
Related: Looking for a quick list of free ideas? Here are 70+ ideas when at home with kids.
Why games are essential for child development
We try and incorporate family game nights when we can from this list of family board games. Over the last few years, I have noticed so much growth in my children’s ability to play fairly and lose gracefully.
We still have a ways to go, but hard work and practice will pay off.
Games are essential for child development because they enforce the following:
- Cheering one another on
- Experience how it feels to lose
- Following directions
- Playing fairly
- Showing support
- Understanding how it feels to win
- Waiting turns
Want to learn even more about why games are essential for learning? Here are 11 benefits of playing games in the classroom.
This supply list is as easy as adding a few items to your next Target pick-up. – a little humor, yes, but these supplies can be repurposed around the house after the decoration game. (now that’s a win!)
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- Plastic mini pumpkins (orange)
- Plastic mini pumpkins (white)
- Pumpkin basket (orange)
- Skull basket (white)
- Tennis rackets – use paper plates if you do not have
Related: Enjoy being outside? Here is a collection of outdoor play for every season!
How to set up this Halloween game
- Place pumpkins on one side of the yard.
- Put the Halloween baskets on the other side.
- Adjust lengths for the age and stage of the child. For toddlers, move the baskets closer to the starting line. For older children, extend the length for kids to have more practice balancing.
- Share the rules with the children for the game. – This is super important and will change depending on the child’s age.
Invite the neighbors and play this game dozens of times. – It never gets old. This is just one of the many gross motor activities to strengthen large muscles. Gross motor activities help with coordination, balance, running, skipping, tossing, and spatial awareness.
More Halloween Activities
- Halloween eraser graph
- How to make a robot costume
- Room on the Broom Painting
- Skeleton sensory bin
- Spooky Halloween Graph
Activities on Demand
Want great ideas without the ads? Download these 20 hands-on learning games for kids.