The Great Puzzle Relay Race

Before we left for the lake, I worked up a sweat playing this game. For a few blissful, steamy minutes, it slipped my mind that the temperature was hovering close to zero. I breathed some new life in our standby floor puzzles and laid down some ground rules for an indoor puzzle relay race.

What you need:

  • Two puzzles
  • Kids (You can do two kids per team, or one, or three, or whatever you have.)
  • A hallway, or place to do a short run.


  1. Set the puzzle pieces at opposite ends of the room or hallway.
  2. Each team lines up on the opposite end from his or her own puzzle.
  3. When you say “go,” one player for each team runs to the other side to pick up one puzzle piece from his pile, returns to run back where he started, and places it on the opposite end.
  4. As soon as the piece is dropped, the next person (or the same person, depending on the number of players), runs back to pick up one more piece.
  5. Continue, until you have enough pieces to begin working on your puzzle.  This point will be up to the individual person or team.  You may decide you’re ready to start working when you’re out of breath, and need an excuse to sit down for awhile.
  6. We had to add this rule: the only time you can work on the puzzle is at the end of your run.  This prevents the partner, who is not running, from working on the puzzle when it’s not his turn. We decided that’s cheating.
  7. The only time the team can work on the puzzle together is when all the pieces have been collected.
  8. The first team to complete the puzzle wins.

Just like a great sweet and sour sauce, this game has a terrific yin and yang; there’s the frantic pace of the race, followed by the steady, calm periods when everyone is trying to build the puzzles.

As we played, we came up with a few variations:

You can require that each player hop, skip or walk backwards down the hall.  Or, you can tie feet together with a sock, or require someone to wear a specific super hero cape for the run.

Instead of puzzles, you could use legos to build the tallest tower.  Use a timer to signal when the game is over, then measure.

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