After-School Games

Word Plexers (new)

What is a plexer? A plexer is a word puzzle where words are made into a picture that stands for an expression or saying. Click here to get 3 pages of word plexers for your students in after school programs. Printable PDF version.

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.

Water Boy

This game is tons of fun with 20 or more children. Separate two teams evenly having children face back to back in a straight line. On a signal, the first player of each team dips a towel in a bucket filled with water. The wet towel then passes over each head of the people in line. The last person in line that receives the wet towel must ring it out into a bucket. Then that person runs to the front of the line, dips the towel into the bucket of water and passes it over the head of his/her team. It continues until the first person in line is in the front. The team that wins is the one that wrung the towel out the most in their bucket. To make it more challenging put a line on the bucket so they have a goal to reach. The game goes on until the first team reaches their mark. If the towel drops it must go back to the beginning of the line. If the team members do not pass the towel over their heads it starts over also. Supplies you will need: 2 towels, 4 buckets and a sunny day!

Fool Ball

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.

Penny in a Cup

Divide into 3 teams with an even number of players on each team. Allow each person 1 penny which is placed between his/her knees. On signal, one player from each team will walk to a cup and without using their hands, attempt to drop the penny in. If the player makes it in on the first attempt, he/she must tag the next person in line then return to the rear and sit down. If the player does not make the penny in the cup on the first attempt, he/she must tag the next player and try again. Each player must keep trying until he/she makes his/her penny in the cup. Remember...everyone must be seated to win.

Circle Soccer

Procedure: Form the entire group into as wide a circle as possible while holding hands. The goal of each participant is to be one of the two players remaining at the end of the game. Players are eliminated in the following ways:
1. When the ball passes between two players, but below the waistline, both players are out.
2. If the ball passes through one individual's legs, that individual is eliminated.
3. If anyone kicks the ball above the waist level of any other player, he/she must also leave the game.
The circle must be connected by holding hands at all times, and becomes progressively smaller as players are eliminated.

Word Forming Game

This game should be played with 20 or more kids. Divide into two even teams. The leader should have large letters drawn on a piece of paper so that each teamate can pin it on them. All letters should be different, but both teams may have the same vowels. When the leader gives the signal, players try to spell a word by linking arms with teamates. As a word is formed, the players must go to the leader with their arms linked to get a point counted for their team. The players then break up and try to find new letters to form a word. If a team can spell a five letter word, that team gets 2 points. Give them 15 minutes to play the game. At the end of the game add up the points, and that will determine your winner. You will see competition at its finest.

Jelly Bean Pass

Randomly divide teams up equally with approx. 8-9 players on each team. Give each person a dixie cup and tell them to place the rim of the cup in their mouth. The first person in each line is given a jelly bean in his/her cup and turns around to drop it into the next cup. No hands may be used at all. If the jelly bean is dropped, it goes to the beginning of the line and starts over. The first team to get the jelly bean to the last person in line wins!


Everyone participating sits in a circle. One member of the circle leaves, while another player is chosen as "The Chief". The excluded person returns into the room unaware of who is leading the group in a series of motions (clapping, rubbing tummies, pounding feet, etc.). The Chief decides what activity the group will pursue, and when he or she changes everyone follows them. The excluded person stands in the middle of the circle and tries to discover The Chief. In the process of discovery, he/she may move anywhere they please as long as they stay inside the circle of players. If he/she guesses correctly, The Chief is the next one to be sent from the room and another Chief is chosen. You may limit the amount of guesses the person in the middle gets, pending on the circle size.

Run For Your Life

Divide groups into two teams with an equal number of players on each team. Pick one player from each team to stand in the middle of the playing field. Line the teams up facing each other about 10-15 yards apart. Each player must try to get across to the other side without being tagged by the person in the middle from the opposing team. Only one person may attempt to cross the field at a time. If a player is tagged before reaching the other side, he/she must return to his/her original side and try again. Game ends when every player from one side has succeeded in reaching the other side. People in the middle may block for their fellow teamates.

The Moon Is Round

All players are seated. The leader draws a face with his/her left hand saying..."The World is Round." It has two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears. The leader asks if anyone can do exactly what she has just done. The volunteer must imitate what the leader says and does exactly. The trick is that the average player, unless she is left handed, will pick up the chalk with her right hand and draw the face. Variations can include a slight cough to clear the throat or humming. The first person that can figure out the trick will win.


This game can be played in a variety of different ways. The following directions are a group of twenty children indoor or out. The youth are divided into two even groups. In two circles with the youth facing the center, have them close their eyes and put their hands in the middle of the circle. On the count of three, have them grab hands. (everyone in the circle should not be left without holding a hand) Then they may open their eyes. Once they are ready, give them a signal and the first team to untangle the knot without letting go of hands is the winner.

Orange Peel, Quarter & Eat

Divide up the groups into teams of four people. Each team receives an orange. On the word "GO" the first person on each team peels the orange. Then the second person takes the peeled orange and halves it. The orange halves are put into quarters by the third person, and these sections are then passed and eaten by the fourth person. Then his/her team sits down to signal that they are done. The team who sits down first is the winner. Each part must be completed before the next part can be started.

Pinecone Bird Feeders

Age: Preschool through elementary
Time: 30 minutes
Type of activity: Nature craft

Materials needed:

  • Pinecones (as many as you'd like to make)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (per pinecone)
  • Popsicle sticks
  • 2 cups bird seed (mixed variety)
  • String or yarn cut into 4-foot strips
  • Old newspapers

What to do:

Step One: Take a walk outside with your child to collect an assortment of pinecones. Talk about the different kinds of pinecones you find and the kinds of trees they come from.

Step Two: Place old newspapers on the work surface where you'll be making your bird feeders.

Step Three: Using a popsicle stick, spread peanut butter all over each pinecone. Make sure to cover the surface completely.

Step Four: Spread out birdseed on top of the newspapers. Roll each pinecone in the birdseed until it's completely coated, and no peanut butter is visible.

Step Five: Tie a piece of string around the top of each pinecone.

Step Six: You or another adult can now hang the pinecones from tree branches in your yard, or wherever you can watch the birds.

Step Seven: Each day, watch your birdfeeder at the same time. Keep a record of the kinds of birds who visit. Talk with your child about why birds need to store up food for the winter.


This game should be played with a fairly large group of people, no less than 20. One person is the caller and he/she stands to the side. The caller yells out a number, for example 5, and everyone quickly gets into groups of 5; anyone left out of a group of 5 is eliminated. The caller then yells another number, say 12, and again everyone quickly gets into groups of 12; anyone left without a group is eliminated. This continues until the last 2 people are left and they become the winners. This game works well as an "ICE BREAKER". It makes poeple run around, giving them no time to feel inhibited.