Healthy Living

Your Kid Care Kit: 35 games, crafts, physical activities, mood boosters, and expert tips

17 June 2020 - by Nicole Meredith
We get it: keeping your kids entertained and engaged gets tricky when you’re trying to stay in as much as possible, and don’t want to let them sit in front of the TV/tablet/smartphone all day. These activities are sure to pique their interest and teach them something new!

If you're looking for short-and-sweet one-offs, scroll on down to see our activities organized by theme. But if you want to get your family excited about a longer-term team project with activities for everyone, check out our time capsule! Together, you'll get to capture this crazy moment in history and remember the times you spent safe at home together.

Arts and crafts 🖌️🎨

1. Window gel clings
Making these colourful cuties will help develop your kids’ tactile senses — and they’ll also brighten up your windows on a rainy spring day!

2. Marbled paper
Level up your stationary/journaling paper/doodling pad game with this YMCA Camp craft that’ll delight your kids as plain old paper transforms before their very eyes.

3. Rock painting
These cute creations can spruce up your mantle, decorate your kids' bedrooms, or keep watch over your garden! They'll also take up a good chunk of your kids' time and energy this #crafternoon.

4. Video: Magazine silhouette animals 🎥
Collaging is all the rage right now, but our YMCA Camps team members are the OG masters 😉 Campers usually make these cool collage silhouettes with us in the summer, but today, we're bringing you in on the fun, using materials you already have at home.

5. Blow art cartoons
Let your little Monet loose! They’ll never look at paint the same way again after they see the pretty shapes it can make when they use it in a new, creative way.

6. Homemade picture frames
Now that your poor fridge is plastered with paintings, drawings, and other crafts, get your artists-in-training to craft their very own frames to display their masterpieces.

7. Scratch-off magic paper
Your kids will love writing letters to their future post-lockdown selves on this fancy paper by our camps team.

Mind and mood boosters ⚗️🤔

8. Birthday party memory game
Back in our day, there weren’t smartphones or tablets to entertain us day in and day out; we made our own fun. Give your kids a break from their devices and try a new form of entertainment. All you need to play is your imagination!

9. Video: Lava lamp science experiment 🎥
Qs for your little QTs: Do water and oil mix? Does food colouring mix with water, or with oil? Are we going to have a lot of homemade crafts around the house by the time this is all over?! Teach them the answers using this fun science experiment.

10. One-step hike
If you have your own backyard, this YMCA Camp classic can get the kids outside for some fresh air, while ensuring they keep their distance from others (and from any potentially-germ-laden monkey bars, swing sets, play structures, handrails…)

11. Video: Explore a fire station 🎥
YMCA Early Childhood Educator Carol takes us on a hunt through a fire station for equipment from gloves and goggles to hoses and buckets, helping your children practice their counting along the way.

12. Soloing
During stressful times like these, it’s critical to take time for yourself, reflect quietly, be mindful, and live in the present moment. Soloing can help you and your family stay strong and positive.

13. Dancing oobleck
Pique your budding scientist’s interest with this simple experiment that will teach them about sound waves. Plus, they get to get their hands a little gooey, and we all know how much of a kick they’ll get out of making a little mess!

14. Cardboard bead threading
The nice thing about this activity is that it’s designed to give everyone — including you! — a little quiet time. Your little ones will occupy themselves, and even build their fine motor skills, while you can enjoy some “me” time.

15. Video: How to count to ten in English and Korean 🎥
Lily, one of our Registered Early Childhood Educators, has a fun song for your kids to sing along with while they learn to count to ten!

16. Video: Singalong with Carol 🎥
Help your little ones practice their French in this singalong with YMCA Early Childhood Educator Carol.

17. The Pearson Airport Explorers Club
Have you ever wondered how your bags get from a ticket counter to the belly of an airplane? Or how air traffic controllers watch the skies? Our friends at Pearson are here to give you a virtual tour and answer all your questions!

Games 🎲

18. Spot the difference
A little detective work is sure to feed your kid’s craving for excitement, keep you sane while you work from home, and even stimulate a little memory development to boot!

19. Going on a camping trip
Satisfy your wanderlust by taking a mystical camping trip with us into the future! The more, the merrier with this one, so get a virtual play date in the books.

20. I Spy
This is an oldie but a goodie best known for cutting out the “Are we there yet?!”s on thousands of family road trips past. So peel your kids' eyes away from whatever screen they're glued to and use 'em to spy all sorts of things in "The Real World" instead!

21. Pencil and paper games
While we’ve never had to practice physical distancing before, we do have a lot of practice keeping kids occupied. These simple games you can play with a pencil and paper will help you and your kids stay occupied — and you certainly don't need to leave the house to get supplies.

22. Outdoor games inside
You know, learning how to entertain themselves is a skill all children need: it develops their imagination and creativity! If they need a little inspo to get started, teach them the basic concept of these classic games, and let them take it from there.

23. Flashlight fun
All kids love flashlights, so playing around with one is bound to keep your little one squealing with delight. They’ll be having so much fun, they won’t even realize you’re teaching them their shapes, letters, and numbers at the same time!

24. Ping pong ball catch
This simple game builds hand-eye coordination, and (depending on your kid’s arm), might even give you a little workout.

Physical activities 💪🕺

25. Energy burners
This mini-collection will help your kids develop the five physical literacies: hopping, walking backwards toe to heel, running back and forth, throwing, and kicking.

26. Video: Soccer drills 🎥
Do your kids miss their soccer lessons? Well, Naya's challenging them to master these drills so they can keep their skills sharp until they get back in the game! All they'll need is a ball and about two square feet of floor space.

27. Hand-eye coordination challenge
If there’s one thing all this social distancing is good for, it’s that we have more time to master our mind and body skills. This fun eight-step challenge will work double duty for you right now, helping your kids burn off some pent-up energy, while getting them primed to leap, catch, and jump with precision and confidence.

28. Video: The workout for kids—disguised as a game! 🎥
Even superheroes like Y Girl and Super A are doing their part by staying inside as much as possible, but that doesn't mean they're putting fun on hold! These two are here to save the day with a high-energy game you can play at home, using nothing but a deck of cards and your imagination.

29. Fitness challenges guaranteed to tire your kids out
Does it feel like your kids are bouncing off the walls? These fitness challenges will let them burn off some of that pent-up energy and give the whole family something fun to do while you’re at home together.

Expert tips and tutorials 

30. 2SLGBTQ+ books to celebrate Pride
Educating your child about the 2SLGBTQ+ community is crucial, but it isn’t always easy. These five picture books hand-picked by YMCA Child Care staff can help you start a conversation about diversity and social inclusion.

31. Can your kid learn from screen time?

Your tech is probably getting a lot more love these days. These guidelines from our Child and Family Development experts can help you filter out the "junk food" of apps for kids.

32. Strategies to help your child cope with stress
COVID-19 has disrupted life for everyone, children included. So, it's perfectly normal if they're feeling a little scared, worried, or anxious. Try these five simple strategies to help them cope in healthy ways.

33. Picky eater pleasers
Here are three fruit and veg-packed variations on popular sandwiches from our Child and Family Development team, guaranteed to make your kids clear those plates.

34. Video: Cooking with Jenna 🎥
Follow along with Jenna from YMCA Camp as the shows you, step by step, how to bake these delicious and nutritious egg bites. Your kids will have a blast AND you'll get another meal prep sesh off your plate ;)

35. Quell your kids' "I'm hungry!"s with snack baskets
This trend took off amidst COVID-19 school closures. While parents love it for making their stay-at-home days easier, the ones benefiting most may be your little snackers themselves.

Between our YMCA Child Care and Camps teams, we've got a small army of pros whose literal job is to keep kids busy, active, learning, and having fun. So stay tuned for tons more activities coming your way!


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