After-School Activities

Category Hopscotch

Category Hopscotch is a challenging after-school activity that will teach your child to think (and hop) fast.

Humans categorize pretty much everything we see in order to make sense of the world around us. We separate healthful things to eat, like vegetables and fish, from junk foods like candy bars and chips. And there are so many animals in the world, we categorize them into their species (i.e., reptile, mammal) in order to communicate with each other about these animals more easily.

Help your child explore this variation on the classic hopscotch game and encourage him or her to explore the ways humans categorize our world.

What You'll Need:

  • Hard surface
  • Chalk
  • Rocks or other markers
  • Small bouncing ball

Mark off a court in the style of a hopscotch court. In each square, write the name of a category -- for example, cars, fruits, and birds.

Players place their markers in the first square. Each player in turn walks or hops through the squares, bouncing the ball and naming something from the first category for each step in each square. Ball, foot, and word must arrive at the same time. No word can be used twice in any one run of the court.

Players who finish the court place their markers in the next square and must name things from that category. The first player to finish all categories wins and chooses the categories for the next game.

An alphabet variation: Each time a player steps in a square, he or she must name something from the category in that square, all items named starting with the same letter. A player faced with the categories of cars, fruits, and birds might say, "Buick, blackberry, blue jay."

On the next page, we'll show you how to teach your kids an after-school games you probably remember from your own childhood. Hint: You'll need that old bag of marbles...

Looking for more fun activities for kids? Check out these pages for inspiration: