IMPORTANT SERVICE CHANGES

All Houston Park and Recreation Department Community Centers, the North Wayside Sports and Recreation Center, and the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center are currently closed.

HPARD Community Centers Online

New! While our Community Centers are closed due to COVID-19, the Parks Department’s Community Centers have gone online to bring fun activities for you to do at home! So even though we cannot be with you in person, we’re here online to bring you resources, activity ideas, videos, and more for you to enjoy.

The Search Institute®, a nonprofit organization dedicated to dedicated to strengthen youth success, has identified the following building blocks of healthy development to help young people grow up to be healthy, caring, and responsible. If you would like to download a copy of the Search Institute® Developmental Assets® for youth visit the following links:
Ages 5-9 (English-Spanish)     • Ages 8-12 (English-Spanish)     • Ages 12-18 (English-Spanish)

Youth and Family Engagement Activities

Looking for some fun family activities to stay busy while your practicing safe social distancing and staying at home? Our Community Center Staff is taking to YouTube to provide you with weekly programming that you can do at home with your family. So stay active and stay safe and visit your online parks community center in the comfort of your own home.

WEEK OF DECEMBER 21 - 25, 2020

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Safari (Fun Fitness)
The Safari exercise is a great way to help kids learn mindfulness. This activity turns an average, everyday walk into an exciting new adventure. Tell your kids that you will be going on a safari: their goal is to notice as many birds, bugs, creepy-crawlies, and any other animals as they can. Anything that walks, crawls, swims, or flies is of interest, and they’ll need to focus all their senses to find them.

Sleigh Pose (Youth Yoga)
Sit tall with your back straight and your legs out in front of you. Place your hands at your side like you are holding on to the sleigh. Rock back and forth like you are riding on a flying sleigh!

Christmas Memory Game (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Everybody sits in a circle with 6ft of separation. The first player says, “In my Christmas stocking there is an…” and says something that starts with an “A” like apple. The second person then repeats what the first person said and adds something that begins with “B.” The third person must remember what the first people said add a “C” item. Continue through the alphabet. If a player can’t remember all the items, that player drops out, until there is one player left.

Holiday Lights Nature Walk (Hands-on Nature)
Choose one night in December (close to Christmas) to bundle up and go for a holiday nature walk to see lights. Explore your neighborhood to find the houses with the best lights. Ooh and ahh over the decorations and pick your favorites. Bring a Bluetooth speaker and play holiday songs and sing along to the music.

Christmas Carol Charades (Family Engagement)
One at a time, each player silently acts out the name of a Christmas song. Everyone tries to guess the song. The player who guesses the most songs wins.

WEEK OF DECEMBER 14 - 18, 2020

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Elevator Breathing (Fun Fitness)
Practicing deep breathing (“elevator breathing” or moving the breath to all parts of the body) helps improve memory as well as emotional control. Kids love doing this, so do it often. Start out by having your child sitting in a cross-legged position or lying down and breathing naturally. After she has practiced breathing naturally, say: Imagine that your breath is like an elevator taking a ride through your body. To start the elevator, I want you to breath in through your nose. Now breath out all your air. Now breath in and take your elevator breath up to your chest. Hold it. Now breath out all your air. Now breath in and take your elevator breath up to the top floor, up through your throat into your face and forehead. Hold it. Now breath out and feel your elevator breath take all your troubles and worries down through your chest, your belly, your legs and out the elevator door in your feet.

Unicorn Pose (Youth Yoga)
From a standing position, step your right foot back into a lunge with your left foot directly over your left knee and a straight back leg. Inhale and take your parallel arms straight up overhead to be like the horn of a unicorn. Open your chest, look up, and take a few deep breaths. Switch sides and repeat the steps.

Lawn Letter Scramble (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Prep for this activity by writing the letters of the alphabet on large pieces of paper and come up with a list of age-appropriate words for the participants. Then have your child and their friend(s) sit in your lawn in 6 feet apart spots and scramble the letters in one of your words in front of them in a line and give them a hint (person, place or thing; or Disney character, sport, name of a state). One child gets up at a time to move one letter to its correct spot. For every word that can't be figured out, tell players they must do something silly like dance in place for one minute.

Backyard Ecosystem (Hands-on Nature)
Take a white or a light-colored sheet outside and lay it on the ground, under a tree. You can use towels or an old t-shirt, too. Shake the branches, lightly, to see what comes out. Are there seeds? Are there leaves? Is there pollen? Are there bugs? Why do you think there are more bugs in one place versus another? If you did this in the spring, what would fall onto the sheet? (This is a great chance to talk about seasons.)

Once you have a little pile of objects on the sheet, try to build a little fairy or gnome house out of them. Pick a tree to lean your house against, and use sticks, rocks, leaves, and moss to create a house. Don’t forget to name your fairy or gnome!

Handprint Candle Holder Keepsake (Family Engagement)
Supplies:
  • air dry clay, craft paints, paint brush and tea candles
Shape clay with your fingers. Press the hand on the clay firmly, to leave a handprint. Press down the candle in the clay in the center of the palm. Once dry, allow kids to paint their handprints. Let the paint dry. Place the candle on its designated spot (you can even secure it with some glue).

WEEK OF DECEMBER 7 - 11, 2020

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Cone Drill (Fun Fitness)
Children need to develop their footwork. Doing so will help them in their development of body control and awareness. Set out a line of five cones into an easy footwork pattern. Instruct them to run through the course forward and back before you change it up. Short bursts of exercise like this are important because it can keep their attention better than long jogs.

Flower Pose (Youth Yoga)
Come to sit on your buttocks with a tall spine, lift your legs, balance on your sitting bones, touch the soles of your feet together, and weave your arms under your legs.

3D Paper Christmas Tree (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Supplies:
  • Construction Paper. Green, and brown to create the tree, then any other scraps and pieces for decorating.
  • White Cardstock or a piece of thicker paper for the backdrop.
  • Glue Stick
  • Decorations
Start by prepping your paper strips. You will need one 1″x6″ brown strip for the trunk. You will also need between 5 & 7 green strips. These will be 1″x9″ (the short length of the paper). Stack your green strips leaving about half an inch before placing the next one. Flip-up the opposite end and trim off the extra green. Fold over the end to create a tab. Even out the other side of the strips and fold in the same direction. Your green paper should now go from full-length strips down to a very short strip. It’s time to decorate! (Its recommended to use red and green sequins). Cut out a star to be added to the top of your tree. Once your branches are all decorated it is time to assemble the tree. Place the trunk in the center of the page near the bottom. Start near the top of your page with the shortest green strip. Use the tabs that were folded earlier to add glue. They will touch on the paper creating an arch. Take the next smallest and place using the same technique a little lower so there is a little gap between the tabs. Continue this all the way down your tree.

Microhike (Hands-on Nature)
On a microhike, kids can pretend to be small and explore an ecosystem: a biological community of living things interacting with their environment, in this case, your backyard. Create a circular habitat somewhere in the yard using a hula hoop or a piece of string. Have family members surround the micro-ecosystem and point out everything they see. The goal is not to hike far, but to explore your yard at a “micro” level. Focus on the life that lives under rocks, logs, and our feet. Have the kids pretend they’re ants; encourage them to shrink down small and get close to the ground to explore! Discuss the importance of using all five senses in looking for small things. If you want your kids to explore a new part of the yard, consider throwing a bean bag or frisbee to a spot and have the kids explore the area around where the object lands.

Family Appreciation Grams (Family Engagement)
Appreciation grams consist of little notes with words of thanks, recognition, or good wishes. Allow family members to create appreciation grams for each other to reinforce the importance of family engagement.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 30 - DECEMBER 4, 2020

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Corners (Fun Fitness)
Divide your children up, so everyone gets to have their very own corner. Once everyone has picked out their corner, instruct them to run in circles around the room. When you call time, the children will run back to their corner and do a simple exercise. For example, three jumping jacks or four push-ups. It’s important that you let your children decide which exercise they want to do in their corner. That will give them some control over their game and make it fun for them.

Eagle Pose (Youth Yoga)
Stand tall in Mountain Pose, wrap one leg around the other, bring your bent arms out in front of you, wrap your arms together the opposite way, and slightly bend your knees. Perch on a tree like an eagle.

Sensory Autumn Leaf Painting (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Supplies:
  • Black Cardstock
  • Small Zip Lock Bags
  • Paint
  • Sticky Tape
Cut out a leaf design in the middle of your black cardstock being careful to leave the frame whole. Squirt some paint into your zip lock bag. The more paint you put in the more easily the colors will mix and the squishier and more tactile the experience is for the children. Squash the air out of your zip lock bag and zip it up. If you want to you can add extra tape around the zip as well to help prevent leaks. Then tape your paint filled bag to the table top. Be sure to tape all four corners. Create the leaf shape by taping the black cardstock cut out on top of the zip lock bag. Now kids can squish and squash the paint around to fill the leaf with colors. Each time they touch and move the paint the picture in front of them will change. Kids can enjoy watching the colors mix and blend. This engages their sight and touch.

Backyard Camping (Hands-on Nature)
Set up a tent in the backyard and spend the night there for a great way to transform your space (even a small one) into a new and exciting adventure. Spend the evening cooking dinner together (something you’d do when camping), telling stories, and staying off screens. If it’s too chilly to camp outside, set up a tent in your living room. Don’t have a tent? Make a fort instead!Cafeteria (Family Engagement)
Lay pictures of food on a table like food in a cafeteria (salads, main dishes, vegetables, breads, desserts and beverages). Each family member must pick up the foods he/ she would like for dinner. Purpose is to see if they can select a nutritious meal. As a family agree upon one of the nutritious meals selected and begin to prepare together.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 23 - 27, 2020

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Jumping Jacks (Fun Fitness)
Perform in place for 10 reps and then rest for 30 seconds. Add five reps to your number (15, 20, 25, 30) and rest for 30 seconds in between each set. Try to reach 30 reps in a row for your last set.

Downward Facing Dog Pose (Youth Yoga)
From a standing position, bend down and place your palms flat on the ground. Step your feet back to create an upside-down V shape with your buttocks high in the air. Straighten your legs, relax your head and neck, and look down between your legs.

Flying Fish Relay (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Distribute the materials and have the kids draw a fish, cut it out, then color it. If they are struggling, have them to just draw an oval with a triangle tail and then draw on a happy face. Once they have made their fish (it's more important that it's cut out, rather than fully decorated), divide them into teams. Have each team line up behind a starting line and designate a finish line. The first player in line from each team must use a paper plate (or something else that works) to propel their fish from the starting line to the finish line. The first to do so earns a point for their team. They cannot touch their fish with their hands or the paper plate, they must only use the wind they can generate by waving the plate. Then have the second player from each line do the same and so on. Encourage teams to cheer on their teammates.

Backyard Plant Identification (Hands-on Nature)
Can your kids find five different kinds plants? How about three different kinds of flowers? Can they tell the difference? Think about the colors of the leaves or petals, the shapes of the branches or stems, and how tall or short they are. Can they find an item that’s a circle, a triangle, or another shape? To make this even harder, cut shapes out of a piece of paper and have your kids try to match the shape to something in nature. Find household items that are brightly colored, like parts of cereal boxes, bathroom towels, or running shoes, and have the kids find natural items in those colors. But be sure kids know that when we’re looking for different nature, we don’t pick them! This is a great chance to tell kids about Leave No Trace.Indoor Treasure Hunt (Family Engagement)
Whether it’s candy or small stocking stuffers you forgot you had in the closet, they’ll be motivated to search for them with a treasure hunt around the house. Simply write down age appropriate clues (5-20 clues, depending on their age and how long you want the treasure hunt to last) and place them strategically around the house so that one clue leads to another.

One example would be: “I have four legs, but I don’t have feet. I come in handy when it’s time to eat!” Hopefully, they’ll locate the utensil drawer, looking for a fork. Inside, they’ll find their next clue.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 16 - 20, 2020

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Single Legged Hops (Fun Fitness)
Perform in place or while moving. In place, hop for 15 seconds on each leg and then rest for 30 seconds. Try and repeat these five to 10 times. It’s also fun to use a line and hop down the line and back for 30 seconds to add variety of movement. Try hopping backwards for an added challenge.

Downhill Skier Pose (Youth Yoga)
Stand tall in Mountain Pose with your feet hip-width apart and then bend your knees. Rest your elbows slightly above your knees, clasp your hands together, keep a straight spine, and look forward, pretending you are skiing down the mountain.

The Last Word (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Begin by instructing the participants to form a circle standing 6ft apart. Next, ask the participants to think of just one word that describes the COVID-19 pandemic. Ask for a volunteer to start and after they have shared their word, go around the circle allowing each participant to share their word with the group.

What’s Your Habitat? (Hands-on Nature)
Name the four basic survival needs of humans. Recognize that humans share the same basic needs as all other living things. Create a picture showing how a habitat provides humans with what they need to survive. Compare human and other animal habitats. Identify how animals meet basic needs in habitats. Traveling Basketball (Family Engagement) Place a large bowl or bucket in each room and give each player a rolled-up sock. Have the players stand in the doorway and take aim, trying to get their sock into the bowl. As each player scores, he progresses to the next room. The first person to complete the entire circuit is the winner.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 9 - 13, 2020

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Balloon Volleyball (Fun Fitness)
Yes, volleyball usually takes more than one person. No, you don’t have to play this version. Why? The whole fun of this game is for your child to play both sides. Blow up a balloon, set up the sofa or a chair as the center line, and have your child run back and forth to hit the balloon before it lands on the ground. See if he can keep it aloft for 21 turns, the usual winning score in volleyball.

Dancer’s Pose (Youth Yoga)
Stand tall in Mountain Pose, stand on one leg, reach the opposite leg out behind you, place the outside of your foot into your hand, bend your torso forward with your arm out in front for balance, and arch your leg up behind you.

The Scribble Game (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Grab three pieces of paper and two pencils. Have your kid scribble for a minute on one of the papers, nothing specific, just a scribble. After a few seconds, stop! Look at the scribble. Now you have three minutes to write a story about the scribble!

This game relies on imagination! A scribble of a blob could be anything from a monster coming down from the sky to a magical spell cast by a fairy. Once your stories are ready, read them out loud, are they similar to each other, or different?

Deer Walk (Hands-on Nature)
The goal is to walk on your knees an established distance until you reach the next person on your team and then touch them which sets them to go forward and walk on their knees until they reach the next person on their team and so on. The game ends once everyone has walked on their knees a determined distance to the finish line.

Stained Glass Window Art (Family Engagement)
Don’t stress, we’re not suggesting you ruin your windows with paint or glue. This craft only requires colorful transparency sheets, water, and an imagination. You can find multi-colored transparency sheets at any arts and crafts store. With a pair of safety scissors, a small water cup, and a window, your kid(s) can cut the sheets into various shapes and sizes, dip them into the water, and stick them onto the window. And, yes, they will come right off.

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 2 - 6, 2020

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V Marches with Arm Extensions (Fun Fitness)
This exercise will incorporate arm movements to help raise the heart rate. Start by sitting in your chair with your hands on your waist. As you march, you will move your legs to each side and bring them back in. As each leg goes out to the side, extend the arm out to the side. When your leg comes in for the march, bring your arm in to your waist. Repeat and continue for three to four minutes.

Crescent Moon Pose (Youth Yoga)
From Mountain Pose, reach your arms up high over your head, bringing your palms together. Tilt your upper body to one side. Come back to center. Tilt your body to the other side.

Silent Ball (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Get everyone to stand around the room in random places. Then it's as simple as telling everyone to be quiet! Basically, the game involves the players throwing the ball to each other. A player is eliminated by any of the following rules:
- Drop the ball when trying to catch it
- Do a bad throw
- Talking or making a sound (thus, silent ball)
You can add in your own rules as the game goes on, maybe everyone has to stand on one leg, or throw with their left hand, or catch the ball with one hand. Be creative!

Busy Beavers (Hands-on Nature)
This is a classic relay race game where two or more teams are racing to collect as many sticks for their beaver lodge as possible in the time they are given. Have each set of team members spread out along given routes. Each team has a pile of sticks at the beginning of the race and is racing to move the sticks one at a time to the other end of the relay race. The sticks are passed on from one beaver family member to another and then piled up to make a “lodge.” For a competitive spin on the game, the first beaver team to build their lodge wins. For a cooperative spin, when all the lodges are built everyone wins.

Tag Team Drawings (Family Engagement)
Have each player sit around a table with their own paper and colored marker. At the start signal, each player gets 30 seconds to begin a drawing. When time is up, each player moves left to the next seat, rotates the paper at that position a quarter turn and adds to the drawing at the next start signal. Play continues in 30-second intervals until everyone has drawn on all the papers and seen the crazy designs that result.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 23 - 30, 2020

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Crossing the Stream (Fun Fitness)
If your child plays basketball or another sport that requires jumping ability, let them play Crossing the Stream to strengthen their leg muscles. On your driveway or blacktop, begin drawing two chalk lines to stand for a stream. Widen and narrow the distance between the two lines but do not draw the lines farther than 4 feet apart. Designate crossing points and ask your child to jump from one side of the "stream" to the next. Have them jump with both feet together, as well as take large leaps across.

Cobra Pose (Youth Yoga)
Lie on your tummy, place palms flat next to your shoulders, press into hands, lift head and shoulders off ground, and hiss like a snake.

Invisible Anything (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
In some cases, you may not have space or be allowed to use equipment for safety reasons. Thus, a child’s imagination is a great tool to tap into for these situations. You can have kids do things like invisible jump rope for a quick warm-up or as part of a bigger circuit. You can mimic practicing skills without equipment such as shooting or passing a basketball. Thus, you do not always need equipment to stay distanced and have fun.

Naturalist Scategories (Hands-on Nature)
Everyone gets in a circle. Someone comes up with a category (example: types of trees). Each person has ten seconds to come up with an answer that fits into that category. Going around the circle each person says their answer when it’s their turn. Each answer may only be called out once. The group counts down for each player. If they can’t come up with an answer, then they are out of the game. The last player remaining wins.

Story Map (Family Engagement)
Take a walk around your neighborhood or in a park. As you go draw the path that you take. Take breaks to draw the natural observations you make on your walk.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 16 - 23, 2020

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Neuron Jump Rope (Fun Fitness)
Jumping rope is more difficult than it looks. Working your legs and arms to jump and turn the rope at the same time is a good form of exercise. Give your child a jump rope and teach them to play Neuron Jump Rope. After they chant the following rhyme, count the number of times they jump quickly without missing. Chant, "Neuron, neuron in my brain. How many neurons will I gain?" Have your child jump as fast as possible to see how many neurons they get. Challenge their friends to a contest and see which child gets the highest score.

Butterfly Pose (Youth Yoga)
Sit on your buttocks with a tall spine, bend your legs, place the soles of your feet together, and gently flap your legs like the wings of a butterfly.

Freeze Dance Party (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
This activity is what it sounds like: a freeze dance party. You play music, and when the music stops, participants freeze. You can mark off personal space using floor tape or cones, so participants have properly distanced boundaries. Fun, simple, and easy to do, you can use this to teach about heart rates, effects of exercise, and dance. Also, any dance unit is excellent for social distancing, especially line dance, because you can easily keep participants spaced out and moving and learning at the same time.

Nature Photographer (Hands-on Nature)
Start by pairing players up. One person is the photographer, while the other is the camera ad blindfolded. The photographer chooses something in nature that they want to take a picture of. Once they have chosen their picture, they take their camera, their blindfolded partner, over to take a picture by positioning them exactly as they would a camera, then removing the blindfold for just ten seconds while the camera savors the beauty of the image. This game helps bring players to a greater awareness of the beauty of nature so often missed by busy lives.

Scream Race (Family Engagement)
A scream race is simple. Find an open space, start everyone at the same spot (with everyone six feet apart of course) and take a deep breath. When the race master says go, everyone starts screaming and running. The only rule is you can’t take a second breath, so the person who gets the furthest on one breath wins. Repeat until you are all ready to return home and rest!

WEEK OF OCTOBER 9 - 16, 2020

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Squat Relay (Fun Fitness)
Have kids line up on opposite sides of the room, facing each other. On "go," all kids run toward the center of the room and meet in the middle. They do three squats, giving each other an air high-five with both hands in between each rep. Then they return to the starting point and repeat. The focus is on the air high-fives and the social interaction. If you have a large group, you could have the lines shift sideways between reps, so kids meet a different friend in the middle of the room each time.

Child’s Pose (Youth Yoga)
Sit on your heels, slowly bring your forehead down to rest in front of your knees, rest your arms down alongside your body, and take a few deep breaths.

Heart Smart (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Players spread out standing 6 feet away from each other. The leader calls out things that are good for the heart (walking, running, vegetables, sports, fruits, dancing). When the leader calls out an item, players perform an exercise (pushups, jumping jacks, toe touches). The leader also calls out things that are bad for the heart (smoking, germs, TV, fast food, soda). When the leader does this, players do not do anything. If a player messes up, he or she does a silly dance, then rejoins the game.

SWAMP (Hands-on Nature)
Divide the group into teams of 4-6 people. Give each team a large piece of paper and a pen. Each letter in the word SWAMP stands for another word that describes something in nature: (S) STARS, (W) WEATHER, (A) ANIMALS, (M) MINERALS, and (P) PLANTS. On “GO”, each team writes down as many words as it can think of that relate to the word STARS. The only stipulation is this: they must be able to SEE what they write down from where they are sitting (e.g. sky is where stars are seen; clouds cover up stars on a dull night). Each team has five minutes to write down as many words as possible. The next five minutes is devoted to the word WEATHER, the next five to ANIMALS and so on until all letters of the word SWAMP have been given equal time. At the end of the writing session, the leader tallies the number of words to see which team has the sharpest eyes, and the most vivid imagination. You will be amazed at your children’s imaginations.

Discover Houston (Family Engagement)
It's easy to overlook the opportunities right where you live. Sightseeing is often a must when you're traveling but checking out the history of the place you live or grew up can also be an educational and eye-opening experience. Pretend you are a tourist arriving in your town for the first time, contact your local chamber of commerce or National Historic Society, and see all that your area has to offer. Tour the most historic buildings, discover if any battles were fought where you're standing, check out monuments and statues, or visit a cemetery to search for the oldest tombstones. Every place has its own legends and history. Discovering what makes your town special can create a meaningful connection to the spot your family calls home.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 2 - 9, 2020

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Running Workout (Fun Fitness)
Change things up while running: Vary movement patterns by having kids switch from running to skipping or try running in place with feet very close to the ground (this is called "fast feet"). Kids can also run with high knees (lifting alternating knees toward the chest with each step) or "butt kicks" (kicking alternating heels toward buttocks with each step). Changes of direction (side-to-side or reverse) work both muscles and brains, improving kids' coordination.

Boat Pose (Youth Yoga)
Balance on your buttocks with your legs up. Then rock in the water like a boat.

Slow Motions (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Players line up standing 6 feet away from each other. Players are all going to be racing one another...slowly! Each player stands on the starting line! The finish line is the opposite end of the play space. The leader will be the starter and the judge. He or she will give players a motion to do, and players will attempt to do it as slowly as possible while moving to the finish line. Players keep moving but not too quickly! If a player moves too quickly for the judge, stops moving, or loses balance, he or she will be asked to freeze and do an activity in place for 5 seconds. The first player to cross the finish line is the winner!

Fire Tender (Hands-on Nature)
Have one participant sit blindfolded with lots of sticks around him (either from outside or popsicle sticks). The rest of the participants, one or two at a time, attempt to creep up and steal a stick from him and return safely. If the blindfolded participant hears a noise, he points in that direction and the stick must be returned to the original spot. It’s best to split participants into two teams and one from each group goes up at a time. When all the sticks are gone, you can count them up from each team to declare a winner.

Geocaching (Family Engagement)
Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunt where the goal is to find caches (or containers) filled with objects that other people have hidden. Check out Geocaching.com, the official website, to find cache locations near you. Then use your smartphones (most have GPS tracking) to track the treasures, often stashed behind rocks, in the hollow of a tree, or under a bench. The caches hold trinkets and logbooks for the finders to document when they made the discovery and where they're from. They should always be put back.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 28 – OCTOBER 2, 2020

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Fitness Scavenger Hunt (Fun Fitness)
Hide five tennis balls around the house and write five different exercises on four different pieces of paper and place it under each tennis ball, such as 20 jumping jacks or 10 pushups. When the child finds the tennis ball, they must complete the exercise and bring the tennis ball back to “home base”, which is wherever you are. They have five minutes to bring all five tennis balls back to the home base.

Chair Pose (Youth Yoga)
Stand tall in Mountain Pose with your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees, and hop like a kangaroo. Water Bottle Bowling (6ft Social Distancing Fun) Before dragging your empty plastic, water bottles out to the curb on recycling day, give them another go as outdoor bowling pins. Refill any 10 bottles of the same size bottles with water, set them on the ground in triangular formation, and you’re ready to rack up strikes. For a fun variation, try soccer-style bowling, kicking the ball to topple the pins.

Meet A Tree (Hands-on Nature)
Have participants partner up. Have one person in each pair be blindfolded/eyes shut. The non-blindfolded person acts as a guide and leads his/her partner to a tree. The blindfolded participant tries to find all the details of the tree without using sight. Once the blindfolded partner has a good understanding of the tree, the guide will lead their partner back to the starting point. The blindfolded individual becomes removes the blindfold and goes looking for their tree. Once successfully found, the partners switch roles and start over.

Tree Branch Golf (Family Engagement)
Use a long, sturdy tree branch (one already broken off on the ground) for the club, a pine cone for the ball, and small piles of sand to represent golf course holes. Be sure to set up the course using hills and rose bushes as hazards that they want to avoid. Keep track of how many strokes it takes to get from start to finish. Don't forget to scatter the piles of sand once the game is finished.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 21 – 25, 2020

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Cross Over Relay (Fun Fitness)
It’s time to challenge your child and his or her friends to improve their fitness levels with a great combination of running and throwing. Divide the group into two teams and designate a starting line and goal line. Make sure the goal line is within throwing distance of the start line. Have the children form a single file line side-by-side behind the start. When you say, "Go," the first child in each team runs to the goal line while carrying a basketball. As soon as the child crosses the goal, they turn around and throw the ball to the next teammate. The team that gets all its members to the goal line first and is standing in a straight-line win.

>Cat Pose (Youth Yoga)
Come to an all-fours position, round your back, and tuck your chin into your chest. Pretend to be a kitty cat.

Tic-Tac-Toe (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
You know this game of X’s and O’s, and you can play while staying safe by creating a board with masking tape or erasable marker on your window. Your opponent can play on the opposite side of the glass.

Frogs, Insects and Flowers (Hands-on Nature)
Divide the group into three circles, one inside the next. The people in the outer circle are flowers and remain stationary. The players in the inner circle are insects and begin the game with one knee to the ground. The players in the middle circle are frogs and begin the game standing. When the whistle sounds the insects have ten seconds to run and tag a flower. They may avoid capture (being tagged by a frog) by flying (touching one knee to the ground). Frogs chase the insects and can “follow” an insect by turning 360 pivots during which the insect can dash off. After each round, the results are noted. A successful insect or frog remains as that insect or frog for the next game. A captured insect or frog becomes the same as his captor. An unsuccessful but not captured insect dies and becomes a flower. Each round creates changes in populations and inter-relationships can be easily observed. A balanced game can go on indefinitely, but if frogs become too efficient, the insects are wiped out whereupon the frogs ultimately die. If the frogs are inefficient, they may be wiped out and large uncontrolled fluctuations can result in the insect population.

Bike Hike (Family Engagement)
Take bike hikes with your family and watch your miles add up! If your family is into biking, try planning some bike hikes. One great incentive to keep everyone biking is to plan an imaginary trip. Find out how far your "destination" is, then see how long it takes to bike that many miles. Everyone can keep adding up the miles to see how long it takes to bike around the country or the world!

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 14 – 18, 2020

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Circuit Run (Fun Fitness)
Social distancing doesn’t mean distancing yourself from outside. If you are able to be outside without being too close to others, try this run/walk workout that totals up to 20 minutes. Start by walking for 5 minutes to warm up and then do 6 rounds of running for 1 minute and walking for 1 ½ minutes.

Bridge Pose (Youth Yoga
) Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Rest your arms down alongside your body, tuck your chin into your chest, and lift up your buttocks and back to create a bridge.

Bust a Rhyme (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Ideal for more than five players, start the Bust a Rhyme game by having all participants stand in a circle 6 feet apart. Next, choose a leader to say a word (like "cat"), then have the child to their right say a word that rhymes with it. Continue around the circle until it gets back to the leader. The next person is the leader and the game continues. If someone gets a word wrong, can't think of something or says something not in the dictionary (hey, it happens!) then all participants do five squats.

Camouflage (Hands-on Nature)
One person is IT. IT yells “camouflage” and starts counting to 30, and everyone else tries to run as far away from the IT as possible. At the end of the 30 seconds, everyone must hide as well as possible. The IT then has to find everyone, but can only rotate where they are standing, no taking steps. If the IT can’t find anyone, they yell “camouflage” again counting this time to 10, and everyone has to find a new hiding place, but they have to ALWAYS be moving closer to the IT. There are two ways to win, either be the first person to sneak up and tag the IT person, or be the last person for IT to find, depending how long you have to play. Just for fun, to make it a learning moment, have a discussion about how animals camouflage themselves either before or after the game.

High Flying Fun (Family Engagement)
Find two sticks and place them together so they look like a small "t." Using string, show your child how to tie the sticks together where they overlap. Next, form a diamond shape around the outside of the sticks with some more string. As you do this, have your child wrap the string around the ends of each stick a few times and tape the string tightly in place as well. This is the frame of the kite. Now, cut a plastic shopping bag at its seams so that you have a completely flat piece of plastic. Lay the frame on top of the plastic and then cut around it, making sure the plastic is a couple of inches bigger than the frame. Work with your child to put the plastic over the frame and tape it in place. Attach the kite string to where the sticks overlap. Just like that, it's up, up, and away.

WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 8 – 11, 2020

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Shuttle Runs (Fun Fitness)
Place a single marker, such as a cone or tennis ball, on the floor and a set of five markers about 30 feet away. Start at the single marker and run to the set of five markers 30 feet away. Pick up one marker, run back with it, and place it next to the starting marker. Repeat for all markers. Once completed, replace the set of five markers 30 feet away (kids love to help set things back up). To add a little competition, set up two lanes side by side for a race.

Bow Pose (Youth Yoga)
Lie on your tummy, bend your knees, lift your chest, reach your arms back towards your toes, and hold onto your feet.

Mime Yourself (6ft Social Distancing Fun)
Have participants get into pairs at a 6ft distance and mirror each other’s actions without talking. Specify who will be the leader to start and tell participants that without talking they should switch back and forth as to who has the lead. This activity should be done in short intervals, (e.g., one minute).

Nature’s Hopscotch (Hands-on Nature)
Hopscotch is a simple, traditional outdoor game. It usually requires a piece of chalk and a concrete surface on which to draw the board. This version of the game, however, is inspired by nature, and therefore uses natural elements to form the board.

To start, have the kids collect a bunch of sticks, rocks, and leaves. Help them arrange the materials in the pattern of a hopscotch board. Once the board is done, they can use a rock to toss and play hopscotch as usual.

Grow a Herb Garden (Family Engagement)
All you need is a pot, some herbs (you can grab them from your supermarket), and some soil and you’re on your way. Let the kids go crazy. Best of all you get to eat your garden later.

WEEK OF AUGUST 3 – 7, 2020

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Slow Motions
Players line up standing 6 feet away from each other. Players are all going to be racing one another...slowly! Each player stands on the starting line! The finish line is the opposite end of the play space. The leader will be the starter and the judge. He or she will give players a motion to do, and players will attempt to do it as slowly as possible while moving to the finish line. Players keep moving but not too quickly! If a player moves too quickly for the judge, stops moving, or loses balance, he or she will be asked to freeze and do an activity in place for 5 seconds. The first player to cross the finish line is the winner!

Leaf Hunt (Hands-on Nature)
Let participants go on a leaf hunt. See how many different shapes of leaves they can find. Bring them back to home. Help the participants to learn the names of the leaves they found. Some of the names are great, because they look like the leaf (triangular, linear, etc.) Also note what kind of trees the leaves belong to.

Stop to Turn (Instructional Soccer)
Players need to learn how to duck away from defenders. In teaching this skill, have players kick the ball in front of them a short distance. Teach your youths to shorten their strides and come to a stop, using the bottom of their foot to halt the ball. Once they’ve mastered this skill, have them pivot over the ball and change directions. Alternate directions with each run through.

Water Bottle Relay
Get into teams. One person from each team must lie down on their back and hold an empty water bottle on their forehead. The rest of the team is lined up, single file, behind a bucket full of water and a small cup. On "Go!", the first person in each line has to scoop up water in the cup and carry it to where their team-mate is lying on the ground and dump the water into the bottle. It's a relay, so you run back to the rest of your team and pass the cup to repeat until the bottle is filled to the brim. The first team to fill their bottle wins!

Zip, Zap, Zoom
Form a circle and stand 6 feet away from each other. One player starts the game by clap-pointing while saying, "zip," to a player on his or her left. That player will clap-point and say, "zap" to a player on his or her right. Next, that player will clap-point while saying, "zoom" to someone new. Keep the pattern going. Restart if the wrong command is said or someone claps in the wrong direction.

Sun, Moon, Earth
Set up three cones in your play space. Designate each cone as sun, moon, or earth. Line up on the starting line and stand 6 feet away from one another. The facilitator will call out either sun, moon, or earth. When players hear: SUN, run to the sun cone. MOON hop on two feet to the moon cone. EARTH walk to the earth cone. Make sure to keep your distance when moving to different cones. If players make a mistake, do five jumping jacks, then rejoin the game.

WEEK OF JULY 27 – 31, 2020

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Balloons Up
Be prepared as this will get rambunctious! This can be one of the rowdier physical fitness games. Secure your lamps and pictures on the wall! Simply blow up some balloons and tell the kids to keep the balloons from touching the floor. What fitness fun for the kids!

Summer Memento Wreath (Hands-on Nature)
Make a wreath on cardboard. Paint it with the color of your choice. You can poke a small hole in the top of the wreath with scissors. Through the hole, thread string or yarn and tie the ends. After sliding the string, knot must be hidden behind the wreath. This is the “hanger.” Using the paint brush cover the wreath completely with glue. Next apply a layer of sand over the glue to cover the entire wreath. Leave it to dry. After 10 minutes, gently shake off any sand that hasn’t stuck to the glue. Decide the exact position where you want to stick your summer mementos. Glue each of them to the wreath. When the wreath is dry, hang it up to remember your summer fun.

Goal Kicking (Instructional Soccer)
Stand your athletes at a distance and place another adult in the goal. With the inside of their feet, have them practice shooting by “passing” it a short distance in front of themselves, running towards the pass, and then shooting a goal.

Rotation Station
Get into 2 circles. Start with a giant balloon filled with water. Poke a little hole in the balloon and see how many times you can pass the balloon around the circle before all the water leaks out. The team with the most rotations wins!

Countdown
Form a circle, standing 6 feet away from one another. The goal is to count down from 15 to 1. The leader will start the countdown. Another player will say the next lowest number. Each player can only say one number in the countdown. There is no order regarding who should say the next number. If two players say a number at the same time, the group must do 10 jumping jacks, and the game will start over.

The Great Debate
Players line up 6 feet apart from one another. The facilitator is the great debate moderator. The moderator asks questions, and the players debate each other over the answers. For example: Which animal is better – a lion or a tiger? There are two areas with cones/tape that represent either side of the debate. After the moderator asks a question, players have 15 seconds to move to the side they most agree with. Stay 6 feet apart! Teams have 90 seconds to come up with an argument for why their side is correct. Each team will nominate one person to deliver the argument in under 30 seconds. Once the arguments have been made, players will have 15 seconds to vote again. The side with the most votes wins the debate, and the team with fewer votes does 10 jumping jacks, squats, or burpees.

WEEK OF JULY 20 – 24, 2020

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Balance Beam
Very easy to set up! Masking tape is all you really need to make a line on the ground and have some fitness fun. Ask your child to walk to the end only on the line. Try more lines at different angles, spirals, and zig-zags.

Natural Bracelet (Hands-on Nature)
Before going for a walk, wrap a piece of masking tape to your child’s wrist with the sticky side up. While exploring the wonders of nature attach colorful leaves, flowers, and other interesting discoveries to their bracelet. After the walk, use a scissors to trim and your natural bracelet is ready.

Back Pedal (Instructional Soccer)
Start with your players facing towards a point, or cone. Have them backpedal in a “V” shape, away from the original point at 45 degrees. Once they’ve backpedaled far enough, have them run forward, and repeat the process in the opposite direction.

Duck, Duck, Splash
Grab a pitcher or bucket of water and set it aside. Have three or more children (and adults!) sit in a circle. Pick a person to be “it”. Hand them a cup with water in it; it is up to you how much you want to get wet. It can be a splash or a soak. The person that is “it” goes around the circle tapping the people sitting on the head and saying, “Duck”. But instead of saying “Goose!”, the person that is “it” pours the cup of water onto the seated persons head and runs for it! The person that got soaked jumps up to chase the person that is “it”. If the person that poured the water makes it all the way around the circle and back to the empty spot, they are safe and the person that got soaked is now “it”. If they are tagged, then they continue as being the person that is “it” and go around the circle to soak another person.

I See A Rhyme
Taking turns, complete the sentence “I see a ____.” Each player must rhyme the last word with the previous player’s word. For example, “I see a bat”, “No, I see a hat”, “But I see a cat!” When you’ve exhausted one rhyme, start with a new word!

Museum
Select one person from your group to be the museum night guard. This person will stand facing the wall while the rest of the group is on the other side of the room, with a hand or foot touching the wall. The goal of the game is for the museum to “come alive” and try to sneak up and tag the guard. At any point, the guard can turn around and everyone must freeze. If the guard catches anyone moving, the whole museum returns to start. You can also split the group in half to see who can reach the night guard first or let it be an individual challenge. If done as a large group, it’s a good lead-in to talking about the consequences of group-think or being influenced by others.

WEEK OF JULY 13 – 17, 2020

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Hoopers
On the ground, place 1/2 as many hoops as the number of participants. Participants stand outside the hoops. On the command "Run" the participants run around the area without touching anyone or the hoops. On the command "Hoopers" each participant must find the nearest hoop to jump inside.

Pool Painting
Make art outside! Turn a kiddie pool into a fun outdoor game for kids with white paper, plastic balls, and tempera paint. Tape your paper to the bottom of the pool. Dip balls in paint and drop them into the pool. Have each artist swirl the pool to create their design.

Fundamental Running Lines (Instructional Soccer)
Gather your teammates in a straight line and have them run a few laps before practice around the field. Take turns calling out specific player names and have them sprint to the front of the line. You’ll be able to see their form and make comments to help them run faster and more efficiently.

Cup to Cup
Put one full bucket of water in the grass and have one player sit right behind the bucket. Have the rest of the team sit in a straight line right behind the first player. Have the last person in the line turn and face the other way so the last two players are back to back instead of one after another. Put another either smaller bucket or a bucket with a marked halfway line in front of the last player. Give the first player an empty cup. They must dip the cup in the full bucket of water and pass it backwards over their head to the next player. The second player must then pass it over to the third and so on until the final player on the team dumps the water in the cup into the empty bucket. Then pass the empty cup back up to the front. The first team to fill their bucket wins.

Deck of Cards
There are so many games to play with a deck of cards, from the one-player solitaire to large games of Go Fish, and this opportunity could also allow participants to create their own game to play with cards while practicing social distancing.

Concentration
Concentration is a hand-clapping game that challenges participants' ability to keep rhythm and think on their feet. Two or more players sit in a circle and start the rhythm by slapping their knees, clapping their hands or snapping their fingers in a pattern. The player who is the leader chooses a category, such as names or animals, and on his turn, each player must call out something that fits this category in time with the rhythm or he is "out." The last remaining player wins.

WEEK OF JULY 6 – 10, 2020

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Caterpillar Race
Form equally sized teams with three to seven players, and have the teams line up behind the starting line in single file, with hands on each other’s shoulders. The teams must race to the finish by doing the following: the first person in line hops one hop forward and each person subsequently hops one hop until it gets to the last person who yells the team name. When the rest of the team hears the team name yelled, the whole team then hops forward all together. Have them try to hop quickly after each other to keep hands attached to the shoulders in front of them. Repeat this pattern of individual hop then team hop to move down the playing area, caterpillar style, toward the finish line.

Meet My Friend (Walking Field Trip) (Hands-on Nature)
Players are taken on a short hike during which time each person collects something from the natural environment (nothing may be broken or picked from any living thing. The item must be either lying on the ground or resting on another object (e.g. stump or log). Everyone keeps his object hidden from all other players. Following the hike, each person is given the opportunity to build a small home for his 'friend'. He is also asked to give his friend a name, and to think of one way in which he could take care of his friend, if it was still out in its natural environment.

The Bucket Drill (Instructional Baseball)
Following a grounder into your glove takes patience and focus. This is a developed skill for youth. One of the more fun baseball drills for youth uses a bright colored bucket. Place the bucket at second base and line your team up to the right and left of the bucket. They should be in two lines stretching to the outfield. Hit ground balls toward second base. As each player fields a ball, he tosses it in the bucket and runs to the end of the opposite line. Mix up the placement of the grounders to keep them guessing.

Sponge Toss
Place a bucket full of water on one side of the play area and place an empty bucket on the other. Have teams line up their players anywhere between the two buckets but once they’re lined up, they are frozen in place and cannot change their placement. One player on each team should be next to the full bucket and one next to the empty bucket. The first player must dunk the sponge in the full bucket of water trying to soak up as much water as possible. The player must toss the sponge to their next teammate who tosses it to the next and so on until it reaches the final player by the empty bucket. That player wrings out the sponge and passes the empty sponge back down the line. First team to fill up their bucket to the marked line wins.

3 Stars and a Wish (Social Emotional Learning)
Have participants come up with 3 “Stars” or things they do well. This can be anything from running fast to comforting a friend when they’re feeling sad. Have participants come up with a ‘Wish.’ The ‘Wish’ is something that participants need or want to work on (a goal).

Animal Races
Some races the kids need to hop like a frog. Or run on all fours like a dog. Or maybe crawl on the ground like a lizard! Make it more fun with costumes! Which animal is fastest?

WEEK OF JUNE 29 – JULY 3, 2020

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Obstacle Courses
These activities are fun fitness activities. Have groups challenge each other on different obstacle courses. These can be as simple as running over dirt mounds, doing 10 seconds of jump-roping, kicking a soccer ball around some cones, throwing a ball through a hanging tire and running back to the start.

Print Painting (Hands-on Nature)
Help participants to collect a range of flowers, leaves and objects of different shapes and textures. Use a paint brush or roller to coat the object with paint and then press onto a sheet of paper to create an imprint. Create an artwork to display.

Coach Says (Instructional Sports)
This is a way to break away from the traditional basketball drills. It teaches players to listen and to pay attention. This drill is just like the game “Simon Says”; however, instead of Simon it is “Coach Says”. The players only react to the coach’s commands if the coach starts the command by saying “Coach Says……”. (example “coach says to hop on 1 foot’) When a player reacts to a command that does not start with the statement “Coach Says” then that player is out and must sit down until the game is over. The last player in the game is the winner.

Water Relay
For this game, split participants into two teams. Each team has two buckets and an extra-large sponge. Fill one of the buckets with water and put it a few yards in front of the empty bucket. The point of this game is that one player from each team takes their sponge, runs down to the full bucket, fills the sponge with water and runs back to squeeze as much water as possible into the empty bucket. Then the next player goes and so forth, like a relay. The team with the most water in their bucket (the one that started out empty) wins.

Encouragement Shower (Social Emotional Learning)
Pick a different person each hour (or several) and have the other participants of the group shower them with encouragement, positive qualities they notice about them or something they admire.

Equipment Improv
Spread pairs of equipment throughout the playing area. Have participants enter the playing area and pick up any piece of equipment. They are to start playing with the piece of equipment in a creative and safe manner and they should stay close to their personal space area. After about 3-4 minutes, form teams/partners by instructing participants to find the individual with the matching piece of equipment. After they pair up, they can make up an activity with the equipment between them.

WEEK OF JUNE 22 – 26, 2020

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Protect the Cone
Everyone gathers in a circle around a cone. One person is chosen to protect the cone only using their waist down. They cannot stand on the cone or prevent it from falling over. A ball is then given to the participants in the circle. The participants must work together to try and throw the ball to knock over the cone. Once the cone is knocked over a new protector may enter.

Silly Symphony (Hands-on Nature)
Each player is given 10- 15 minutes to find objects in nature that make a noise when banged together, or blown on, or rubbed together. Players bring back their 'instruments' and a conductor is chosen, who organizes the group into a semi -circular orchestra. Each musician can 'tune' his instrument, so the rest of the group can hear the different sounds. If a player can play more than one instrument at the same time, he is welcome to do so. The conductor can then choose a familiar tune with an easy rhythm and lead his orchestra in song. Let the players make requests for songs they would like to play; give musicians the opportunity to work on 'solos' that they can perform for everyone.

Change/Drop Drill (Instructional Baseball)
Coach alternates between throwing the ball in front of the player so that he must charge in and make the shoestring catch and throwing it deep so that he must turn his shoulders and run back to catch it.

Liquid Limbo
This game is a wet 'n wild take on limbo. Just take a hose and turn the water on full blast. Use the stream of water as the limbo stick. See who can limbo the lowest without getting wet.

Imaginary Traveler (Social Emotional Learning)
Taking turns, and continuing with consecutive letters of the alphabet, participants imagine where they might go and what object they want to take along on their trip. For example, “I’m going to Aunt Amanda’s and I’m taking my Aardvark.” “I’m going to Bermuda and I’m taking my Blue Balloon.” Encourage participants to be as silly as possible.

Coffee Filter Flowers (STEAM)
You will need: coffee filters, markers, scissors, gallon size zipper bag or metal baking sheet pan, water spray bottle, clear tape and pipe cleaners Flatten round coffee filters, and draw colors in circles, patterns, or even scribbles. Make a rainbow on one with all the colors or stick with just complimentary colors. Place the colored coffee filters on a gallon size zipper bag or metal baking sheet pan and then mist with a water spray bottle. Watch the magic as the colors blend and swirl. Set aside to dry. The last step in your coffee filter flower is a stem. Once they are dry, fold them back up and round the corners if desired. Pull the center together just a touch and tape with clear tape to make a flower. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the tape and leave the remaining pipe cleaner for a stem.

WEEK OF JUNE 15 – 19, 2020

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Hot Potato
This physical activity will get giggly! Simply get a soft ball or object and toss it to a participant. Tell them to toss it to someone else as quickly as possible. Everyone repeats this. When does this game end? Who knows? Just get rid of it!

Variations – Play short segments of music while they toss the “potato”, stop the music, and the last one to touch it after the music stops is out.

Nature Hunt (Walking Field Trip) (Hands-on Nature)
After the listing of natural objects like bird’s feathers, smooth rock, wildflowers, leaves and so on, give each player a paper bag. They must collect all the objects in the list. You can set a time limit for collecting to make the game more fun. The first player with all the items will be declared as the winner.

Passing Doubles (Instructional Soccer)
Pairing up your athletes, have them stand apart from one another at a comfortable distance. Get them to begin to pass to each other using the inside of their feet. This drill teaches how to receive a ball with ease as well as passing it off, so the next person has an easy time stopping the ball and then kicking forward.

Story Time (Literacy)
One participant begins a story with a single sentence. Building upon that sentence the next participant continues the story with his own sentence to continue the story. You can vary this game so that the story is told with alternating words, phrases, sentences or paragraphs.

Painting to the Music (Social Emotional Learning)
Play the first music track. Listen before you begin to paint. Visualize the music and the colors, gesture and shapes that come to you as you listen. Encourage participants to paint in the air before beginning their art piece. Once you have familiarized yourself with the music style, begin painting or drawing on your paper. Do not stop until the music ends. Choose a music track of a different style. Begin the music track and begin on a new piece of paper. Continue creating new art pieces with every different type of music style you hear. Write the name of the music composer or music work on the back of the art piece.

Make A Wish (Sidewalk Chalk Art)
Get out your sidewalk chalk and draw a birthday cake on the sidewalk. You can add however many candles needed and then have participants “blow them out” in a photo.

WEEK OF MAY 25 – 29, 2020

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ALL ABOUT ME COLLAGE
Give each participant a piece of paper. Have each participant write his/her name in the middle of the paper. Have participants go through magazines and cut out pictures that represent them (i.e. favorite color, food, sports, music what they want to be when they grow up and other things they like). When they have all their pictures cut out have them glue them to the paper around their name. Make sure that participants are gluing their pictures, so they almost overlap leaving not blank spots on their paper. Have participants explain their collage to the family.

WEEK OF MAY 18 – 22, 2020

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Audio Artists

Listen to the music. Listen especially to the feelings in the music. How does this music make you feel? What do you think it is about? As you listen to the music, begin to draw what you hear. Some of you will draw pictures, but some of you will probably just draw colors and shapes. Whatever you hear is what you should draw. Really listen! Listen to the changes in the music. Listen for characters and listen for events. Whatever you hear, that's what you draw.

Sound Map (Hands-on Nature)

Choose an area next to several habitats. Provide participants with a pen and a piece of paper with an X marked in the center. This X represents where the youth is sitting. Then have them mark the sounds they hear, judging the distance and direction. Use “fox ears” (cupping your hands behind your ears) to locate even more sounds. After five or ten minutes, compare how many sounds each youth heard and where they put them on the map.

Hula Hoop Jump Rope Relay (Fitness)

A hula hoop can be used just like a jump rope. Have your kids hold the hoop vertically in front of their body. From there they can flip it down toward their feet, jump over it, and bring it back behind and overhead. Divide participants into 2 equal groups and perform a relay competition.

Reverse Charades (Family Fun)

Reverse Charades is a hilarious twist on the classic game of charades. Instead of one person acting out a clue for a team to guess, in Reverse Charades, a team acts out clues for one person to guess.

Sports Center

Three players, and an everyday activity (brushing your teeth, washing your car, etc.). In this game, the everyday activity is performed as if it were done at the Olympics or at a world championship. One player is the athlete, and the two others are in a TV studio - one is the interviewer who interviews the athlete`s trainer, as the athlete performs the task.

Hand Hockey

Partners face each other in the “up” position of a push-up. They are spaced one to six feet apart. Each participant tries to maintain the “up” position and score a goal by using one hand to push a “puck” (beanbag or newspaper wad) between his partner’s hands. A goal is scored each time the puck slides be¬tween the other participant’s hands.

WEEK OF MAY 11 – 15, 2020

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Stained Glass with Sidewalk Chalk

Start by adding tape to the ground in a fun geometric design. You can let the kids make it by giving each child a long strip of painter’s tape & letting them make the next line. Next, give them as many colors of sidewalk chalk as you can find in the house! Then, let each child color a square until you have a beautiful stained-glass chalk design.

Nature Color Hunt (Hands-on Nature) (Video)
Gather your materials. An egg carton would work well as a color tray, scissors and a color construction paper for each section. Cut your paper into pieces small enough to line the bottom of the tray/carton. Start finding things to match. Start off by choosing a color with participants, if they have a hard time finding a match find one and go to it but don’t announce you have found it. After you have made all your matches, talk about what you have found, how it feels, what it does (rocks line a path for us to walk on, a flower provides pollen for bees etc.).

Group Juggling (Family Fun)

The group stand in an inward facing circle and are asked to throw juggling balls amongst the group in a specific order. As the activity develops more juggling balls are introduced and the pressure to work well as a group increases.

Buddy Reading Relay (Literacy)

Consider a buddy reading relay – it is a great way to help youth improve their reading skills. Each participant reads a sentence from a paragraph. Make sure the number of players on a team represents the number sentences. Once a team is finished ask the group to discuss what the paragraph was about.

Blind Draw

In this activity, the team must instruct their “artist” to draw an item. They must describe their chosen item without revealing what it is, and they are not able to see what the “artist” is drawing.

Community Clean Up 10-Minute Walk

Everyone goes outside together for a 10-minute walk and picks up garbage. Make it a contest to see who can pick up the most trash.

WEEK OF MAY 4 – 8, 2020

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ALL ABOUT ME COLLAGE (Video)
Give each participant a piece of paper. Have each participant write his/her name in the middle of the paper. Have participants go through magazines and cut out pictures that represent them (i.e. favorite color, food, sports, music what they want to be when they grow up and other things they like). When they have all their pictures cut out have them glue them to the paper around their name. Make sure that participants are gluing their pictures, so they almost overlap leaving not blank spots on their paper. Have participants explain their collage to the family.

LEADERSHIP DANCE (Family Fun)
In this creative and high energy warm-up, participants will learn (in a playful way) that sometimes in life you must become a leader and at other times a follower. Prior to leading this activity, pre-record a variety of music (different types & styles of music, upbeat tempo, slow tempo, etc.) that you know your group will relate to and you're ready to "Rock" this leadership dance. Begin by dividing your group into smaller teams of 6 to 10 participants, instructing each group to form a circle and then to number off. Call out a number and explain that this person becomes the group's leader and when the first track of music starts, they will lead their group in dance (in any appropriate way they like) to the beat of the music being played. After about 30 seconds, stop the music, call out a different number and play the next track of music. This new leader now picks up the beat of the music and takes lead of the group. This process continues until all participants in the circle have had a chance to lead the others. Shared leadership is a skill that needs to be learned and taught to all . . . so why not teach it in a FUN way!

CARDBOARD BINOCULARS (Video)
All you’ll need is: A length of string/ribbon (long enough to hang around your child’s neck), 2 toilet rolls, stapler, tape, paint (and paintbrushes) or stickers to decorate your binoculars. Line up the toilet rolls parallel to one another and staple them together (on the inside) at one end. The toilet rolls should now be fastened together to resemble binoculars. Tape each end of the length of string to the inside of the combined toilet rolls (your child can use this to han the binoculars from their neck). Now it’s time to explore!

10-MINUTE BIRDWATCHING WALK (Hands-on Nature)
Grab your cardboard binoculars and family for 10 minutes of exploration. The most important thing is to get outside and observe what you see and hear. The more you pay attention to the birds, the more you’ll notice.

SHADOW TAG
In this fun version of Tag, you tag each other’s shadow with your feet instead of tagging their body. Thus, it must be played on a sunny day.

THE CONCENTRATION GAME
Place random objects in front of participants for 15 seconds, then remove the objects and see how many they can remember. Start out with five and keep increasing the number as they master the task.

WEEK OF APRIL 27 – MAY 1, 2020

   
 
 

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EYE MAGNET
Visit a park as a family. Have each person walk toward the first thing that catches his or her eye (drawing you to it like a magnet). Let each family member explain what he or she likes about the first thing that caught their eye.

WHOSE STORY IS IT? (Family Fun)
Pass out slips of paper and pens. Have everyone briefly write down a true story or experience that happened to them on the paper along with their name. The more bizarre, the better. Fold the slips of paper and put them into the container, shuffling them and mixing them up. A mediator picks out four slips of paper and calls out the names of the people. These people go and sit apart from the group. The mediator reads off the stories and then the group tries to figure out whose story is whose. The group does this by asking different people to tell different stories. The four selected participants try to convince the group that the story they tell really is theirs. After everyone has told a few different stories, the group votes. This repeats until everyone has gone up. The main goal of the game is to have fun telling stories and learn a few interesting or humorous facts about each other.

LEAF RUBBINGS (Video)
Place a leaf under a sheet of paper and color with a crayon until the pattern of the leaf is clear. Display these nature-oriented works of art throughout your home for all to enjoy.

MIRROR, MIRROR
Have youth find a partner and spread out. Have one participant be the leader and the other the follower. The follower should always be six feet away from the leader. On the signal the leader can walk anywhere within the boundaries. The follower is to follow the leader as best they can to try and stay six feet away. Also, the follower should mirror the leader’s actions. Periodically stop the activity to check if the follower is still six feet away from the leader. When given the signal the leader becomes the follower and vice versa.

STRING PAINTING (Video)
Give youth a variety of pieces of string, cord, or yarn, and help them think about what their design will look like. Show them how to dip the string in the paint and allow them to make a design by applying the paint on paper with the string.

1, 2, 3 SHOOT
First, partners agree to add, subtract, multiply or divide. They then place both hands behind their back. On the count of…”1, 2, 3 Shoot,” both people hold out their fingers displaying 0 (two fists) to 10 digits. The first partner to add, subtract, multiply or divide the digits correctly “wins” the round.

WEEK OF APRIL 20 – 24, 2020
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BOUNDARIES POSTER - (Video)
Have youth create an “If I Set the Rules!” Poster. Display the poster in your home. Parents and ywouth will cut out several of their favorite shapes on colorful construction paper. What words or symbols help you remember your house rules? Could a picture of a clock set at a certain time remind you not to be late? What symbol would tell you no running in the house? Some famous symbols, such as Mr. Yuck, remind us “It may look pretty, it may smell good, but before I taste, I need to ask if I should.” Decorate your poster around the shapes. Hang your “If I Set the Rules!” Poster in a place where you’re sure to see it!

MAKE YOUR MOVE (FAMILY FUN)
Parents and youth, your challenge is to take an old board game and recycle it. The board, the game pieces, and all the accessories into something new. You can remake it into something totally different and unexpected or perhaps even make it into a new game altogether. Whatever you’re inspired to do with the board game you choose! Parents and youth are encouraged to be creative and have lots of fun.

10-MINUTE WALK; NATURE'S COLLAGE (HANDS-OM NATURE)
Before you start this project, have youth go on a scavenger hunt for the items to use in the collage. Then have youth spread out glue over construction paper and arrange all the nature items that they found right on top.

BALLOON SOCCER SKILLS - (Video)
Each participant is given one balloon and will be allowed to find personal space and begin to use their feet to juggle the balloon. The participants can juggle with one foot, both feet, their knees, and head. They can keep track of how many times they hit the balloon before it hits the ground. The objective of this activity is for the participants to understand the basic legal hits of soccer and practice in a controlled setting. The major advantages of a balloon over a soccer ball for children is that it floats, isn’t as hard, and will not go far when hit, which is essential for control.

TIME CAPSULE
Instruct participants to decorate any container or box as a "Time Capsule." Each participant will fill out a short interest inventory including; a handwriting sample, a tracing of their hand, a self-portrait and any other objects that may be desired to be included. Participants will place their sheets into their time capsule and have a ceremony to put them away until a designated timeframe. At the end participants complete the same sheets and then open their time capsule to compare how they have changed during this timeframe.

RECYCLABLE SCULPTURE ART
Allow participants time to collect recyclable items, such as toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, gift wrap rolls, empty tissue boxes, and any small cardboard containers. Have participants create their own work of art out of recyclable items collected from around the house.

WEEK OF APRIL 13 – 17, 2020
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BUILD A FAMILY TREE TOGETHER (Video)
Building a family tree will give each member of the family a sense of identity as you learn where you came from. Start off by simply drawing a tree that allows you to easily add family members. Give each member of your family meaningful tasks to explore the history of your family with a fun and engaging craft project.

CHARADES RELAY (FAMILY FUN)
Start a charades race and name the categories such as fast food, electrical appliances or cartoon heroes. Teams compete against each other trying to be the first to guess all items on the list. To start, whisper the first word into the ears of one member from each team. Each person will return to their group and act out the word. Once a member of the group guesses the word correctly, someone new runs to the instructor for the next word. No one can come up twice until everyone has acted out an item from the list. The new member must tell the instructor the word they just guessed to receive the next word from the list. The game is over once a team completes the entire list.

10-MINUTE WALK; CREATE A ROCK ART GALLERY (HANDS-ON NATURE) (Video)
Take a 10-minute walk hunting for and gathering rocks of different shapes, sizes, textures, and colors. When you get home, pull out the paints, markers, crayons or stickers and decorate them. Encourage everyone to be creative and express themselves through art. Display your masterpieces in an open area of the house creating a Rock Art Gallery for your family to enjoy.

GRATITUDE JOURNAL (Video)
Write or draw about things that you are grateful for. Share your gratitude with members of your immediate family!

ASK FUN QUESTIONS
Asking participants questions about what they would like to accomplish is a standard component of the goal-setting process. However, you can get creative and make the process more enjoyable with fun questions like:

  • What would you do if you won the lottery?
  • What is your biggest dream?
  • If you had a superpower, how would you use it?
  • If you found a genie and could ask for three wishes, what would you wish for?

Of course, some of these questions may prompt unrealistic answers from participants, but you can help tweak them to be more achievable.

FORTUNATELY / UNFORTUNATELY – THINKING GAME
One player starts a story with a sentence such as “Fortunately, the bus is coming.” The next player counters with a sentence such as, “Unfortunately, it turned into an airplane and flew away!” The next player starts again with “Fortunately…”

Other Resources for Virtual Family Fun

ZOO VISITS