Summer Term Athletics: Running & Sprinting Games

Published on 26th June, 2024

Athletics is such an important part of the PE curriculum. It is rewarding, engaging and allows children to recognise and celebrate success; plus is an easy topic to deliver! As a discipline within Athletics, running and sprinting is fun and exciting, but also has huge benefits!!

Girl running with a class behind her

So finally… The sun is out!

After weeks of rain, summer has finally shown its face. That means fun PE outside in the sun – and, the perfect opportunity for athletics lessons for your KS1 and KS2 pupils. Especially with the Olympics just around the corner, being to build the excitement! In this blog post, we’re going to focus on running and sprinting games.

Athletics are PE Planning’s most-downloaded lesson plans. This is especially true during the summer term because athletics is one of the easiest sports to deliver in PE lessons.

What are the benefits of running and sprinting games?

We have chosen to focus on running and sprinting games in this blog post because they make for a straightforward but very effective lesson focus. But that’s not all!

Running and sprinting helps with physical development. Sprinting helps improve cardiovascular health, muscle strength and overall fitness. It could bring out a child’s competitive edge… And encourage them to push their physical limits! 

PE is all about developing core strength and skills – sprinting does this. Use running and sprinting activities to develop speed, agility and coordination. These are skills that can help children in other PE activities.

Running and sprinting games help build engagement and motivation. Again, making PE competitive can motivate children to participate enthusiastically! The excitement of racing against peers is a great way to keep them active and engaged.

Running and sprinting games are great for Sports Day preparation, too!

Using PE lessons to prepare for your school Sports Day will get pupils in the competitive mindset! With track events being one of the main activities at most Sport’s Days, we recommend spending some time on athletics, and running and sprinting in particular, in the lead-up to your school Sport’s Day.

Below, we’ve compiled three suggestions for athletics lessons, focusing on running and sprinting games.

3 easy running and sprinting games to try this summer term

1. Shuttle Runs

Activity objective: Enhance speed, agility and endurance.

Setup: Set up cones or markers at intervals of 5, 10 and 15 metres from a starting line.

How to Play:

  1. Children start at the starting line.
  2. They sprint to the first cone (5 metres), touch it, then sprint back to the start.
  3. Next, they sprint to the second cone (10 metres), touch it, and sprint back.
  4. Finally, they sprint to the third cone (15 metres), touch it, and sprint back.
  5. Time each child or make it a relay where teams compete against each other.
2. Sprint and Freeze

Objective: Improve speed, reaction time and listening skills.

Setup: Use a large open space where children can run freely.

How to Play:

  1. One child is designated as the ‘caller’ who shouts “Go!” to start the sprint and “Freeze!” to stop it.
  2. When the caller shouts “Go!” all children sprint in a designated direction.
  3. When the caller shouts “Freeze!”, all children must stop immediately.
  4. Any child who moves after “Freeze!” is called must do a small penalty like jumping jacks before rejoining the game.
  5. Rotate the caller to give all children a chance to lead.
3. The Animal Relay Race

Objective: Encourage teamwork – and also make Sport’s Day preparation more fun!

Setup: You’ll need cones or markers, a stopwatch, as well as plenty of open space.

How to Play:

  1. Animal Movements: Assign each leg of the relay a different animal movement. Here are some examples:
  • Bear Crawl: Children crawl on all fours with their hands and feet on the ground.
  • Frog Jump: Children squat down and jump forward like a frog.
  • Crab Walk: Children sit on the ground, lift their hips and walk on their hands and feet, facing upward.
  • Kangaroo Hop: Students hop forward with their feet together, like a kangaroo.
  1. Starting the Relay:
  • The first pupil on each team starts with the first animal movement (for example, Bear
    Crawl) and moves to the first cone.
  • Upon reaching the cone, they sprint back to the starting line and tag the next teammate.
  1. Continuing the Relay:
  • The second teammate performs the next animal movement (like Frog Jump) to the cone, then sprints back and tags the third teammate.
  • Repeat this process until all team members have completed their animal movements and sprints.
  1. Winning the Relay:
  • The team that finishes all legs of the relay first, with all members back at the starting line, wins.

Need more athletics inspiration for Summer Term?

We know that, for many, Summer Term is the best time of year for PE. So, why not try our athletics lesson plans free sample? If you like what you see, signing up with PE Planning for easy-to-follow PE lesson plans is straightforward, and starts at just £6 per month.

Follow us on our socials to keep up-to-date with our news and free advice, guidance and PE activity ideas. 

Plus, let us know how you get on with your athletics lessons, particularly your running and sprinting games, this summer term! We’d love to hear from you!