How to Fill After-School Time with Fun Physical Activity


What waits for our students when they get out of school?

Is it an empty house with nothing but an HD TV and a computer? Or is it a long walk home through unsavory streets lined with equally unsavory characters?

Or is it an hour of high-energy fun?

Hopefully your students are engaging in fun physical activity after school that teaches them the thrill of fitness. Just because school is over for the day doesn’t mean your students are finished learning—in fact, it might be the best time to teach them life skills they can only learn through PE-style games.

Think about it. The pressure of the classroom is gone, those fluorescent and incandescent lights have changed to sunlight, and they’re finally able to run and jump and yell like kids. All they want to do is play.

So let them play. Teach them games that get their bodies moving and muscles growing as much as their brain cells.

Our SPARK after-school philosophy is simple: “Include ALL youth, actively engage ALL youth, and instill the love of lifelong movement in ALL youth.”

So how can you use after-school time for fun physical activity? Here are some example lesson plans and games split up into categories.


  • All-Run Kickball. This twist on the school-yard staple is a ton of fun. When a batter kicks the ball, his or her entire team runs the bases in a single-file line, led by the one who kicked the ball. There are no tag-outs, either. Instead, the defense must pass the ball to each of its own teammates before all of the runners land on home plate to get an out. Click Here for a sample lesson plan of this activity
  • Houdini Hoops. Teams of three must join hands in a circle. The objective is to pass a hoop around the circle without letting go of their hands. This not only gets the kids moving, but it teaches them problem-solving skills. You can even combine principles of clockwise and counter-clockwise in your lesson. Click Here for a sample lesson plan of this activity.


  • Line dances. From the California strut to common dances that swing students in tune to popular country music classics, line dancing works their memory, instruction-following skills, and definitely their fitness.
  • Fun dances. For younger students, some dances combine rhythmic movements with valuable locomotor practice. Fun free-form dancing is ideal for 5- to 7-year olds and is exciting enough to prevent them from wandering off or getting distracted.

Simple Games

  • Jump rope. Instead of just jumping up and down, teach your students a few new moves that they can practice at home.
    • How about the Wounded Duck, where the students practice landing with their toes pointed in and then pointed out?
    • Or Cross-Overs, where the students cross the rope at their elbows and jump through the crossed rope? By teaching these techniques, you’re giving them new things to try at home.
    • Click Here for sample jump rope lesson plans.
  • Beanbag games. It’s amazing that something as simple as a beanbag can offer so many options for fun fitness-based activities.
    • In Wacky Walkers, students must walk on their hands and feet facing upward with a beanbag resting on their stomach. They crabwalk as quickly as possible to a hoop and dump their beanbag before returning to their line, tagging in the next person. Even adults would find this activity difficult.
    • The Collector is a scavenger-hunt game where students line up in front of a field of beanbags and other various objects. The students go one at a time to collect an item as quickly as possible and return it to their home base. To add a difficulty factor, use color-coded beanbags or numerically- or alphabetically-sequential beanbags.

Don’t forget to join in on the fun! In fact, you might find yourself having as good a time as your students. Besides, there’s nothing like setting an example.

No matter what games you play, as long as you make them fun enough your students will take them home and teach their friends and family, spreading the joy of fitness. You’re not only giving them an after-school haven filled with fun and exercise, you’re teaching them the value of fitness. Even if they don’t realize it yet.

For more information on SPARK’s researched-based After School program Click Here.