Civil War Field Day


Name of Activity:

Civil War Field Day

Purpose of Activity:

Our school name is Lincoln Elementary, and because Lincoln was president at the time of part of the civil war, and the 150th anniversary of the civil war was in 2011, we had a civil war field day. Many of the events helped students understand different aspects of the war.

Suggested Grade Level:


Materials Needed:

All equipment is listed under the event description.

Description of Idea

Battle Ground First Aid Station
Soldiers get injured out in the field and need medical assistance.

Equipment: Sheet strips, 2 boxes for sheet strips, hoops, start line

  • Each team will move about the area in and out of the hoops. When the leaders say stop, the soldier in the “designated” hoop (only the leaders know which one it is) is the one who was injured and then the rest of the team provides medical assistance.
  • Students will “bandage” (strips of sheet) arms, legs, head, whatever they want on the “wounded soldier.” Each team will have the same number of bandage strips, must use all strips and none of the “bandaids” may be hanging. The team to finish bandaging their soldier first, wins.

Blockade Runners
A blockade runner was a ship that attempted to get through the Union blockade of Southern waters during the Civil War. One of the main goals of the North against the South was to starve them and cut off supplies and transports to and from the South. A blockade is used for closing off ports, channels, creeks, waterways, and anything else that can transport weapons and supplies.

Equipment: 2 mats, 12 scooters, food objects, weapons

  • The union team will be on their “ship” (a mat) creating the blockade while the confederates are on their “boats” (scooter) trying to get through the blockade to deliver food and water to their troops.
  • The confederates will each have a food/drink item that they must deliver to the other side of the blockade successfully. The union side making the blockade are trying to stop them by firing at them (hitting with a soft ball).
  • If the union tags a confederate on the way through, the union confiscates the food item and the confederate that got tagged is out. If a confederate makes his/her way through successfully, he/she may pick up the scooter run to the beginning and get another item and try to make it through again. When all items are gone, the team with the most wins.

Pickett’s Charge
General George Pickett led the charge of the south into the north during the battle at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863.

Equipment: 2 Hobby Horses, 2 cones, a start line

Students will ride their horse, carrying their flag to see who will win the battle.

Grenade Launch
The grenade was a wartime weapon.

Equipment: launch line, 4 bocce balls

  • Students will launch the grenade as the leaders count down 3-2-1-fire!
  • One student at a time from each side will “launch” the grenade (push the bocce ball), with the distance noted for each one. The side that is the farthest scores a point. Each team will count aloud their score on each shot.

Barrel Ring Race
A fun game played by the children during the time of the civil war.

Equipment: 2 hoops, sticks, start line and turn line.

Students will use the forked stick to push the barrel ring (hoop) to the end line and back. First team finished, wins.

Wood Gathering Race
Children of the era had many daily chores to do, and bringing in the firewood to heat the home and cook with was one of the chores.

Equipment: 2 boxes, wood, 2 pair of gloves, start line

  • Each team will try to gather the most firewood to the wood shed.
  • The first student will put on the gloves, go get one piece of wood and bring it to the team’s wood shed (box). Hustle back to their team hand off the gloves (gloves must be on before going), and go get another piece of wood. When all of the wood is picked up, count and the team with the most wood, wins.

Three Legged Race

Equipment: 2 sacks, 2 start lines

  • Students will have a partner, stand side by side and place the inside leg into the potato sack. They will attempt to stay together moving the inside legs at the same time, creating “3 legs” with which to walk/run on.
  • Divide each team in half and place them opposite each other. Partners go down, get out of the sack and the next two go. First team to have all finished, wins.

Path to Freedom
The Civil War was fought partly over the issue of slavery. The people that lived in the North opposed slavery move than the people in the South. The people in the North did not need slavery as much as the South did. The people living in the North owned, operated, and worked in factories and mills. The South required slavery. In the South they grew cotton and needed a lot of people to work in the farms for extremely little or no money.

Equipment: 12 Poly spots, 4 hoops, 4 hoop holders, 8 half cones

Each team will construct a course by following a map in which to lead their team through to “freedom.” Once the course is constructed, all team members go to the beginning and stay in order to go through the course. The first team to have all members through the course wins.

Obstacle course
Troops had to go through a rigorous training cycle to be ready for war. The obstacle course will test your speed and agility.

Equipment: Start line, 2 medicine balls, 2 bean bag bocce balls, tires, rope hurdles, 2 tunnels, 2 blankets for under the tunnels, 2 small cones

Teams will compete to see which team can get all members through the course first. Soldiers will carry a medicine ball (3-5) or a bean bag bocce ball (pre-k-2), step through the tires, go over the rope hurdles, crawl through the tunnel, run around the cone and race back to the start where they will hand the medicine ball to the next soldier.

Tug of War
A contest of strength and power.

Equipment: Tug of war rope, center line

Each team will take up a position on opposite sides of the rope. A line will be drawn on the ground to designate the winner. A scarf or piece of material will designate the middle of the rope that is to be in line with the line on the ground. The team that causes the opponents to cross the line is declared the winner.

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