Because there is never enough time to do professional development with your staff, the “Back Pocket Activities” Spark Deck provides 52 easy ideas for games and activities that keep youth engaged in those moments when staff find themselves with some unexpected down time.
Designed to be used in afterschool and summer programs, the activities are appropriate for grades K-8. With a “Back Pocket Activities” deck in their pocket, staff will never be caught without something fun and engaging to do with youth – whether they are waiting for a bus, after snack, or between activities! Categories in this deck include “In a Circle,” “Waiting in Line,” “In an Open Space,” “Brain Breaks,” and “With Paper.”
Some examples from this deck:
- Play “Twenty in Two.” Write a topic on the board (e.g. a famous celebrity, a TV show, a type of cuisine), and ask youth to shout out facts they know about that topic as you write down their responses. Can they come up with twenty facts in two minutes?
- Give each youth a piece of paper and markers and ask them to draw a set of random, squiggly lines on their paper. Now ask them to trade papers with a partner. Each youth now builds on their partner’s lines to create a drawing.
- Say any word and throw a ball to someone. That person needs to either say a word that rhymes, or a related word, before tossing the ball to the next person. For example, a sequence might go “ball,” “wall,” “gate,” “door,” “floor,” etc.
At the end of program time, check-in with your staff to see if they used an activity. If so, how did it go? What did they learn? What did their group learn? If it didn’t work today, try it again tomorrow. What could they change to make it work better? You can use the Spark Decks Journal Page to help with this!