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Kids playing soccer

After-School Sports Around the World

Games are a universal language. They help to develop strength, agility and strategic thinking. Take a look at the different ways that kids in school play sports all over the world!

Japan’s Love of Baseball

In Japanese schools, the most popular sport to play after school is baseball.  For high school players, they even televise the Summer Kōshien. It’s a competition held every year in August and includes teams from all 47 of Japan’s districts. Baseball is so popular in Japan that many Japanese are surprised to hear that America considers baseball their national sport!

Brazilian Fútbol and Capoeira

Schools don’t usually offer after-school sports in Brazil, but there are plenty of local fútbol teams to join. Another popular physical pastime with deep cultural roots is capoeira, a martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and music.

Capoeira uses dodging and swaying moves to trick opponents into chasing them one direction, but then they artfully move aside. The techniques were a form of protection for escaping slaves in Brazil’s colonial history and meant for one person fighting against many.

Chilly Nordic Bandy

Bandy is a team sport that is considered a form of ice hockey.  In Nordic countries including Russia, Sweden and Finland, it’s the second most popular ice sport. Instead of playing with a puck like ice hockey, players play with a ball. Rules are very similar to hockey, with the aim being to hit the ball into a net on either side of the field.

Seven Stones (Pittu Garam) in India

To play Seven Stones (also known as pittu garam), you’ll need a lot of kids that are willing to dodge balls! First, create a stack of seven stones in the middle of two big teams. Whoever can throw the ball and knock over the stack first gets to throw the ball again to try and hit the other team’s players below the knee, similar to dodgeball.

While they try to strike the opposite team out, the first team tries to stack the pile of stones again. If they can stack the pile and trace a circle around the stones three times with their finger without getting hit, they win. They try to do this before the other team knocks all of their players out. It’s an exciting and very fast game!

Drop the Handkerchief in Egypt

For this traditional Egyptian game, two teams of 5 players or more gather plus one leader. Each person from the teams call out numbers, 1 through 5. The leader holds a handkerchief up between the two teams and yells out a number; the players from both teams that have that number run and try to catch the handkerchief before it falls to the ground.  If you can catch it first, you get a point, but only if you can make it back to your side without the opposite team tagging you!

Try giving some of these sports a test run in your backyard and let us know what you and your kids think!