Six Active After-School Games


Action is just what kids are looking for after school. Outdoor or inside active games give children a chance to stretch their muscles while they learn how to compete, strategize and win or lose with grace. After-school program leaders need a battery of active games to keep kids on the move. Parents supervising a number of children at the end of the school day also need plenty of game ideas to pry kids away from the video screen and into action.


  • This game is best played with more than 10 children. Elect one child as "sheep dog" and the others as "sheep." The sheep run while the sheepdog chases, tagging a sheep when he catches it. That caught sheep then becomes part of the sheep dog. They link arms and chase the sheep together. They must stay linked at all times. When another sheep is caught, the sheep dog becomes a trio. The next three sheep caught become a second sheep dog. Now there are two dogs and the remaining sheep. Trios are formed and sheep caught until one sheep remains. She is the winner.

Balloon Hockey

Dragon Heads and Tails

  • The players form two "dragons" by making single lines. Each child must hang on to the child in front of him and not let go at any time. The front player in each line is the dragon's head, and the last player is the tail. The dragons start to move, squiggling from side to side. They must keep moving constantly. The head of one dragon tries to catch the tail of the other. When she does, this tail become part of her dragon. The teams compete to see who can become the longest dragon by capturing tails.

Pig Ball

  • Pig ball is a combination of Frisbee, football and basketball. It is played with a football on a basketball court with two teams of five players each. The teams catch and throw only. There is no contact. The player who catches the ball must stop moving and has three seconds to pass. Defense must stay three feet away from passer. Missed catches result in a turn over of the ball. When one team scores a goal, the other team takes the ball from the end line.

Jelly Bean Pass

  • Play this with two teams of eight or nine players each. Hand out paper cups. The players hold the cups by the rim with their teeth. Each team makes a line. Someone drops a jelly bean in the cup of the first player on each team. That person must place it in the cup held by the next teammate. But no one can use her hands. If anyone drops the jelly bean, it goes back to the front of the line. The first team to pass the candy all the way to the end of the line wins.

Sandbag Toss

  • Pour sand into old socks and tie the tops tightly to make sandbags. Take two jump ropes and lay them on the ground to form two circles about 30 feet (or less) apart. Make two teams and assign them a circle. They compete by tossing the sandbags and trying to hit the center of the jump rope circle. Each toss that lands inside the circle is worth 3 points. Play continues to 21 points. Make it more fun by having left-handers toss with their right hand and righties toss with the left.

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