I've heard older generations grumble that in their day, their kids' afterschool program was a list of chores and an open back door. My dad and his brothers ran wild in a small company housing community and in the desert outside the borders. He reminisced with nostalgia, but I often listened to these stories with no little amount of amazement that they survived! They got plenty of physical activity, but chasing each other with knives through the house and shooting the neighbor's pets with bows and arrows (accidentally or not) is not exactly a safe way too get your aerobic exercise.
The trick to afterschool physical activity is to provide the kind of fun (and a little wild) physical activity every day that adults could recall with fond memories, but to keep kids safe at the same time. It is a balancing act. We want kids to both be safe and to have fun, as do their parents. Too much free time, and kids get up to mischief, too little and their lives are too regimented. How do we get kids active in a fun, engaging way that still leaves them feeling like physical activity isn't a chore, or a task to be checked off their list of things they HAVE to do?
The key that we have found in our program is SPARK. Their Great Games and Cool Cooperatives are exciting, and kids beg to play some of the games, would, in fact, like to play them every day, if they could. Like the Catch the Dragon's Tail game above, kids enjoy this kind of physical activity, and they are up and moving and having a great time. In our program, we want them to have fun, be safe, and enjoy physical activity in a way that makes them active throughout their lives, even as they look back forty years from now and remember the fun they had playing Catch the Dragon's Tail.
For your program, or for your kids who are not in an afterschool program, your solution might look different, but it is vital that kids be active every day.