Fun After-School Playground Games for Kids


The school year has begun. As new kids enroll in your after-school program, playtime gets a little chaotic; three kids want to play different games with the same ball, seven kids are sitting on the sideline not sure how to join, and thirty kids are trying to play basketball with one hoop and one ball.

Now is the best time to teach a few fun and simple playground games. Here are four games from our friends at Playworks to ensure more kids are playing safely and inclusively during your after-school playtime:

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Ideas Worth Sharing – Teaching Common Core with Bowling Pins


We survey many of our customers and sometimes ask them what they use the products they are buying for. We continue to be wowed by your creative, resourceful and genius ideas, so we want to share them for others to enjoy!

Here’s a super fun way Carolyn from N.Greene Jr. High used our Bowling Pin Set for her Common Core – Central Tendency lesson.

“7th grade Math (Common Core Topic: Central Tendency) Divide the class into two teams. Each student rolls the ball twice, and his/her score is recorded. The scores are averaged to find the mean of the team members. Then both team’s means are averaged together. Then the mode of the entire class is figured, the median, and finally the mean absolute deviation of each student (the absolute value of how much each student’s score varies from the class average.)  It’s a good way to get the kids up and moving, and show real-world application of math skills.”

common core bowling

Share with us how you are using your S&S products in the comments below.


Parachute Play – Teaching Social Connections & Engagement


Rolling out the parachute on a sunny day is a great way to pull people of all ages and abilities together. Doing it with a smile, open expectations, and joy is a recipe for fun with both caretakers and the children they love. When S&S Worldwide was invited to participate in the Field Day with The Administration for Children Services New York City, we couldn’t have been more excited and ready to hit the road. We are aware of the needs of the youth served by ACSNYC and the work done every day by the staff, so this was a wonderful opportunity to fulfill our purpose to improve the social fabric by helping people play and learn.

staff and parachutes

The afternoon began with the expectations that staff would be exposed to a play group that focused on four key areas; social connections, internal control, active engagement, and JOY. Each activity was done with the parachute, Gator Skin balls, and Toss N Talk About Movement Ball. Each activity and the equipment used was predictable and safe, teaching the staff the value of predictability in the lives of the children they serve.

The only rules of our day – be safe and have fun.

fun parachute games


The children were allowed and encouraged to lead the adults by telling us what they wanted from their time with the parachute; whether it was the opportunity to go under, go on, or just do crazy shakes of the parachute as a group. After some “AWESOME” shakes and some big shakes, Continue reading

Engaging Activities for Senior Men


Many of our activity directors and health customers are always looking for new or engaging activities for the men in their programs. Although some men do like to ignite their creative side with painting and art projects, most men just want to be men.

What does that mean? Well, it means that sometimes just creating a space and atmosphere where men can just gather, hang out and talk is really an activity in itself. Find an empty corner of a hallway or a room and finish it as a man’s room. A bar counter or high top table with stools, tables and chairs, fishing poles in the corner, and men’s magazines. Add a tv and dvd player with stacks of classic hot rod or comedy movies on shelves, and even a popcorn machine in the area to invite a more casual feel.

My father isn’t in an assisted living program, but I know that if he were in an active community, this is where he would hang out. Sometimes the best activity for retired men is a place where the men can be together. Then once in awhile, you can use one of the ideas below to host a fun and friendly contest! May the best man win!

If you don’t have the additional space to accommodate a “man room”, or are not quite ready for it, we have listed a few fun activities that you can implement right away in your program. Continue reading

FAQ’s: After School Program Grants


There seems to be a great deal of interest in after school program grants, so here’s a sampling of some of the questions teachers may have.

Where do I find after school program grants?
Answer: many resources are available through a web search “after school program grants”.
This subject deserves its own article (I’ll write one soon), but to get you started, begin your search with the (free) School Funding Center Grants Database. Try a free trial, you can search by state and area of interest. The database is updated often with fresh information. If you choose to subscribe (highly recommended) you’ll find varied levels of search capabilities so you can choose just what you need to be able to select high quality grant opportunities. My favorite way to subscribe is to let your Principal know you’re on this quest and subscribe at the district level so you’ll have carte blanche access.

If I’ve never done this before, how do I know the amount I can apply for?
Answer: You don’t, yet.
If the after school program you are funding has been operating for a few years, see if you can analyze past expenditures and then add the supplies and services you need to make it grow. You’ll generally be applying for grants on an annual basis.

Are all grants renewable?
Great question, short answer: No
Longer answer; maybe. When you find a solid lead on a foundation or company that may be interested in supporting your program, you’ll want to start developing a lasting relationship with that source. Check out the company’s grants website to see the programs they have supported in the past. On that site, you’ll find a directory of helpful support personnel. I like to start with a phone call or email (phone is best, captive audience), to a grant specialist. At the very least, they can refer you to a person in the organization who handles school grants. You want to find out if they ever support multi-year programs. Most of the time, they will answer “no” but you’ve planted a seed. Now it’s up to you to dazzle them with the efficacy of your program and its suitability for renewal, so they’ll reconsider in June.

Can one grant cover all our needs?
Answer: probably not, unless it’s a simple short-term program for one summer. Continue reading

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