After School Activities
Balloon TagMaterials: Balloons (one for each person) and string/dental floss. Each player gets a balloon and a piece of string. Before starting players must blow up their balloon and tie one end of the string (string is no longer than 1 ft) to their ankle and the other end to the balloon.
The facilitator makes sure that players know the confined area they have to stay in. When the facilitator says go, players must try to pop other player's balloons by only using their feet.
When a player has his or her balloon popped, he or she must exit the playing field. The last one remaining their their balloon is the winner.
Something that can be helpful is to decrease the playing field size as more players are eliminated.
AmoebaPlayers stand in a circle and hold hands. A trash can is in the middle of the circle. The leader says 3-2-1-go at which point players, while holding tightly to the hands of the players next to them, try to pull the circle back so that other plays are pulled into the trashcan.
If a player touches the trash can, they are out. If two players let go of each others hands, both of those players are out. The last one remaining wins.
Come To Order
My favorite "get to know each other game" is standing in line. I was introduced to it as a girl guide and have used it often when we met in a new group of people and as a high school teacher with new classes. It only takes a few minutes, but you suddenly know a lot about people, if you can remember.
This game is good for all ages, if you give a little thought to the criteria you line up after. Preschoolers, for example, won't know the alphabet. A Captain calls out what the rule for the line up is, for instance by height, and people line up. When the line has been formed everybody introduces themselves and shakes hands with their neighbors in the line. Repeat four or five times with new rules.
Criteria for forming the line can be:
Loop The Hoop
Kids have to learn to cooperate if they want to play Loop the Hoop -- this after-school activity requires a lot of group coordination but produces a lot of goofy fun.
For this game to really take off, round up as many of your child's friends as you can. The loopy-ness increases when there are more kids playing.
What You'll Need:
Instruct the children to stand in a circle and hold hands. The object is to pass the hula hoop around the circle. It's not as easy as it sounds: Tell the kids they can't let go of each others' hands. When the group begins, the hoop should dangle from one player's arm. To move the hoop around the circle, that player will have to step through it and slide it along his or her other arm to the next player's arm. Continue until the hoop has gone around the whole circle. Tell players to watch out for those feet, arms, shoulders, and heads!
Category Hopscotch is a challenging after-school activity that will teach your child to think (and hop) fast.
Humans categorize pretty much everything we see in order to make sense of the world around us. We separate healthful things to eat, like vegetables and fish, from junk foods like candy bars and chips. And there are so many animals in the world, we categorize them into their species (i.e., reptile, mammal) in order to communicate with each other about these animals more easily.
Help your child explore this variation on the classic hopscotch game and encourage him or her to explore the ways humans categorize our world.
What You'll Need:
Mark off a court in the style of a hopscotch court. In each square, write the name of a category -- for example, cars, fruits, and birds.
Players place their markers in the first square. Each player in turn walks or hops through the squares, bouncing the ball and naming something from the first category for each step in each square. Ball, foot, and word must arrive at the same time. No word can be used twice in any one run of the court.
Players who finish the court place their markers in the next square and must name things from that category. The first player to finish all categories wins and chooses the categories for the next game.
An alphabet variation: Each time a player steps in a square, he or she must name something from the category in that square, all items named starting with the same letter. A player faced with the categories of cars, fruits, and birds might say, "Buick, blackberry, blue jay."
Name Game Toss
Form a circle and find a fun squishy ball to toss around the circle. Have a each child state their name and 1 special thing about themselves and then toss the ball to someone else in the circle who has not played yet.
Bean Race Relay
Distribute one straw and two or three beans to each player. Place the cans on chairs about 20 feet in front of each group. The game is played in relay race style. The first person in line begins by sucking a bean up on the end of a straw. He/she then walks or runs to the can and lets the bean drop into the can. As soon as he/she returns to the line, the next person goes. Each person in line gets 2-3 chances to go. The person with the most beans in the can wins. To make it more difficult put a balloon or orange between their legs.
Players stand in a large circle facing in with the leader in the middle. Players circle around him/her. The leader tells which players will have the first turn and which direction play will go around the circle. Then the leader explains the he/she will make a motion of throwing the ball to each player, trying to fool them into thinking he/she will actually throw it. Players must stand motionless without moving their arms unless the leader really throws the ball. If the ball is thrown players must catch it. If a player is fooled into moving his arms or fails to catch the ball he/she is expelled from the game. He/she remains in the circle but must sit down. The last player left standing is the fooler for the next game.
This after-school activity is a great outlet for any kid tired of boring sidewalks. Kids don't have to be artistic to take the community chalk challenge and brighten their world, but artistically inclined children will especially love this after school activity.
Give each child colored chalk and tell them they are to build (color) a community. Assign them each a specific building to draw (library, school, bank, church, stadium, etc.), then after construction is complete, have a discussion about why each particular element is important to community. Take pictures of the kids next to their beautiful art!