At Home Resources
We hope you have enjoyed the resources the Y team has compiled over the past few weeks. We are redirecting our focus on re-opening for you and as such will no longer be adding new updates.
For the latest updates on your Island Y’s staged re-opening click here.
Mental Wellness Monday
- New This Week
Encourage your kids to Stop, Breathe & Think with this fun and easy to use app—designed to help kids discover the superpowers of quiet, focus and more peaceful sleep.
- Past Resources
This video teaches kids how anxiety is a normal biological response – called “Fight, Flight, Freeze” – that can get triggered inappropriately in the modern world. Anxiety Canada created this video with support from BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information. The BC Partners are a group of seven leading provincial mental health and addictions non-profit agencies: Anxiety Canada, BC Schizophrenia Society, Centre for Addictions Research of BC, Canadian Mental Health Association’s BC Division, FORCE Society for Kids’ Mental Health, Family Services of the North Shore’s Jessie’s Legacy Program and Mood Disorders Association of BC.
Everyone has heroic potential – SuperBetter builds resilience, the ability to stay strong, motivated and optimistic even in the face of change and difficult challenges. Playing SuperBetter unlocks heroic potential to overcome tough situations and achieve goals that matter most.
Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. People feel and express gratitude in multiple ways. Here are some ideas you and your kids can try out together!
Mindfulness The 5-4-3-2-1 method is a short, yet impactful mindfulness technique that benefits both children and adults. Kristen, a therapist with the Counseling and Social Services Branch at the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County in New Jersey teaches this one-minute exercise for coming back to the present and resting our minds.
Your living room has become your kids’ classroom. You’re navigating the challenges of remote working, or juggling lesson planning with home life. Life has changed overnight, and we know it’s not easy. WE.org provides free support and resources—from plug and play lesson plans and activities for parents, to well-being tools for families and workplaces, and more. Explore the resources below.
From Cosmic Kids, Peace Out is a new series of guided relaxations and visualizations for kids, give it try to start your week in the best way.
While no one if straying far from home these days, we can place messages oh hope and reassurance around our neighbourhoods for others to enjoy. This simple rock painting activity will surely bring a smile to someone’s face.
Resilient kids are more likely to take healthy risks because they don’t fear falling short of expectations. They are curious, brave, and trusting of their instincts. They know their limits and they push themselves to step outside of their comfort zones. This helps them reach for their long-term goals and it helps them solve problems independently. This article from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health teaching hospital and one of the world’s leading research centres in its field, provides a great primer in setting a successful framework for resilient kids.
If we’re physically unwell, we let people know, we ask for help, it should be no different for mental health. This animation from the National Centre for Children and Families is designed to give young people aged 11-14 a common language and understanding of what we mean by mental health and how we can look after it.
It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. Acknowledging some level of concern, without panicking, is appropriate and can result in taking the necessary actions that reduce the risk of illness. This article from the National Association of School Psychologist provides strategies for helping children cope during this challenging time.
Teaching Mindfulness to kids in an appealing way can be tricky, here are 25 fun activities for kids that they’ll jump right on board with!
Today more than ever, mental health issues plague our youth on a daily basis. Here’s a list of interactive games on topics ranging from anxiety, relationships, self-esteem and social media
Try it Tuesday
- New This Week
Try it Tuesday
Paper fortune tellers are fun little origami projects for predicting someone’s future. They can be for silly things like questions magic 8 ball would answer. The outside has a color or number. Someone picks the number/color and the fortune teller is open/closed the corresponding number of times. Then the person picks a number/color/letter/etc. on one of the inside tabs and whatever is says underneath is that person’s fortune!
- Past Resources
The Whale Tails Junior Naturalist Course provides children (4 – 12yrs) 12 educational activity sheets that will be released weekly by email. The aim is to teach the youth in British Columbia about the magnificent wildlife in the Pacific North West. Prince of Whales is an ardent supporter of conservation and believes education is foundation for these efforts.
If you’re looking for an interesting activity that will get you outside, consider taking up geocaching! This real-world, outdoor treasure-hunting activity has captured the attention of people around the world!
Try these 7 kid friendly games to play on trail walks and nature hikes.
Access a variety of games and puzzles, in addition to other resources, from Greg Tang Math to help make learning math fun. Puzzles are separated by grade level so you can easily find the appropriate one for your child.
Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. As children create with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, work collaboratively, and reason systematically. Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.
Stop motion animation is a film making technique that makes inanimate objects appear to move on their own. To make it work, you place an object in front of a camera and snap a photo. You then move the object a tiny bit and snap another photo. Repeat this process twenty to ten thousand times, play back the sequence in rapid progression, and the object appears to move fluidly across the screen. Try it out with theses Tinkerlab instructions.
Wuzzles are word puzzles consisting of combinations of words, letters, figures or symbols positioned to create disguised words, phrases, names, places, sayings etc. This type of puzzle is called a rebus — a word and symbol puzzle that dates back more than 2,000 years to the Persian Empire. Here are some wuzzles to work your way through.
Magic tricks for kids can be a ton of fun and are a great way for parents to keep the family entertained. After all, who doesn’t love a bit of magic and delight? Learning magic tricks at a young age builds confidence and helps with social building skills, especially if the child tends to be a little shy.
Ever have afternoon snack with a Shetland Pony? Or maybe a bath with a brown bear? With Google Search you can get hands on with 3D augmented reality filters and bring the animals indoors with you. Read these instructions to see how it works.
Research has demonstrated that adding the visual and kinesthetic elements (American Sign Language) to verbal communication helped to enhance the vocabulary, spelling, and reading skills in the participating preschool children. Try-out these sign language activities to get started.
Science Fun For Everyone is a team of passionate professionals with degrees in science and/or education, who have experience working with children in many different settings. Check out their science experiment ideas for kids at home. Or grab the biggest sheet you have, some tape and a fan and make a DIY Air Fort!
- New This Week
Physical literacy is about developing the fundamental movement skills that all children need, such as running, hopping, throwing, catching and jumping. These movement skills in turn give kids the confidence to participate in different physical activities, sports, and games.
In the same way a child learns to speak by interacting with her parents from an early age, the same is true of learning to move with confidence.
It doesn’t require special equipment or training, just a bit of knowledge and the simple and natural desire to give your kid the right building blocks from the start.
- Past Resources
Goldfish at Home, is a series of fun and interactive at-home workouts for kids inspired by the swim skills kids learn during swim lessons. This special edition of Goldfish At Home is entirely focused on water safety, meaning your kids will learn how to be safer in and around the water while practicing some of the important swim skills we teach in lessons at Goldfish. While your child is busy having fun and staying active, you can feel confident they’re also doing some serious learning that will lead to extraordinary results in the pool, and beyond!
Something a little different, give this Y360 DANCE FITNESS – HIP HOP a try! A high-intensity dance fitness class that starts with simple moves and builds into multiple combinations. Fun and challenging!
Are your kids missing the parks? An at-home obstacle course is great way to burn energy for them and for them to strengthen their moving skills! Plus, a good way to practice your creativity!
Keep yourself and your children active while practicing social distancing:
- Have a skipping competition
- Challenge your child to teach you a new skill or activity they learned in gym.
- Play Twister
Y Thrive GROW is a ser 15-minute total body workouts that are perfect for children 10 to 15 years of age. The workouts open up with a few easy to follow strength-based exercises and then finish up with a cardio circuit to get the heart and lungs working. Easy options are shown so kids of all levels can enjoy!
Low impact physical activity for children ages 5-9, YGym is instructed by YMCA certified fitness instructors and features content based on YMCA Canada’s Health & Fitness Programs and Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines. Give it a try!
Do you usually have a weekly swim lesson at the Y? If you’re like us, you’re missing your swim time! Here are some swim activities to work on your front swim, without dipping your toe in a pool. We’ll post activities for front crawl, back swim and back crawl in future weeks.
What could be more fun than gathering your kids and getting in tune with your inner animals? Your kids will LOVE acting out like the animal kingdom, and will burn off some of their energy.
Disney has created an exciting series Get Moving With Disney Family featuring creative Disney workouts and is the perfect way to break a sweat without leaving the comfort of your own home! Featuring Disney classics like Peter Pan and The Incredibles, these family-friendly workouts are so much fun you won’t even realize you’re exercising! So, what are you waiting for? Grab a water bottle and your favorite sneakers and let the magic begin.
May the force be with you, this Star Wars themed workout will have you well on your way to becoming a Jedi.
Whether your kid is into sports or just being a kid, these full-body conditioning exercises will have them ready for the game or the playground. All of these exercises can be done anywhere, anytime with zero equipment. Try the Active Kids Full Body Workout or give these free interval workouts for kids! Short, fun workouts to burn energy and increase strength. If there is a movement your child cannot complete, swap it for something simpler like jumping jacks.
- New This Week
Stenciling is a budget-friendly way to paint and decorate to create unique designs! In this video, you’ll learn 10 Stencil Crafts & Fun Art Hacks. This is a great way to add some personal style to everyday items and transform crafts into colorful masterpieces. Take inspiration from these projects to craft your own paintings along with an adorable heart tote bag, cloud pillow, and much more!
- Past Resources
Learning to knit is FABULOUS for kids. It engages both sides of the brain, has children working from the left to the right and in a circular manner, which helps children with reading skills. There is a ton of counting, skip counting, adding, subtracting, and patterning involved with knitting and a whole lot of problem solving too.
You might remember some of these moves from the 80s. Now see if your children enjoy them!
Grab a jump rope and learn these old fashioned rhymes. Exercise and have fun doing it!
The Wright brothers were two American aviation pioneers generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world’s first successful motor-operated airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft with the Wright Flyer on December 17, 1903, 4 mi (6 km) south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Here’s a video on the Wright Brothers accomplishment as well as a some interactive activities to help learn how modern day airports operate.
Humans landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, explore the International Space Station US National Laboratory website to become an at home astronaut and get a feel for what the astronauts may have experienced back in 1969!
Before COVID-19 becomes part of a history textbook, here’s a time capsule activity book to write down your own thoughts, feelings and memories about what you experienced.
Ever heard of Shrinky Dinks? They were a popular craft in the 80’s and 90’s, all you need is some recycled plastic containers, permanent markers and scissors and you’re on your way!
Summer’s just around the corner, so we need to start preparing ourselves to be safe in and around the water. Check out this vintage Lifesaving Society Watersmart activity book with connect the dots, word searches and colouring activities
Let’s go back in time and take a ride through the Mesozoic Era, or the age of dinosaurs. After your adventure, try out some dinosaur themed sensory play.
Cat’s cradle is one of the oldest games in recorded human history, and involves creating various string figures, either individually or by passing a loop of string back and forth between two or more players. Or grab some embroidery floss and create all the fun friendship bracelets! You can put them on zippers, jackets, backpacks, bookmarks or even hang them on your keychain! What one is your favorite?
- New This Week
The Bateman Foundation has curated a list of free digital activities for families including basic art skills and learning about nature. These range from quick activities like colouring in, to longer, more involved lesson plans.
- Past Resources
There are several easy hikes that are great for families of all ages to explore near Victoria. Like the city itself, the trails are often rich with history, yet full of scenery of the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Charades! Always a hit with the family. Plan a family night where you can all play, even online with zoom! If you’re stuck for what to think of, here are many ideas for you and your kids!
A new take on the old paper airplane! Straw Airplanes Make airplanes out of straws with Professor Bug from the YMCA of Greater Nashua in New Hampshire. Grab tape, construction paper, and straws to get started. Wait till you see your creation fly!
BBC Earth Kids! Combining fun facts, amazing creatures, your favourite faces and a whole load of cool stuff about our planet. Be prepared to squeal and squirm as creepy crawlies frolic over some famous faces, discover all the best tips, tricks and hacks to help you draw incredible animals, and poke your nose into every part of life with a pampered pet pal. Not to mention bringing you the best clips from the BBC’s natural history programmes, chosen specially for our most curious explorers.
A Mad Lib is an interactive story that you add words to; when prompted, you insert a specific type of word- verb, noun, adverb, etc. Once all words are added, the story is ready. The end story is usually quite funny. Gather the family around and get ready to laugh AND learn!
While it’s not easy being stuck at home, having a keepsake of your time together as a family is valuable. Here’s instructions for a Family Handprint art activity.
Movie nights might be on hold for the foreseeable future, but you can enjoy some theatre from the comfort of your own living room couch. Presenting Keep Calm & Theatre on direct from Electric Moon’s Isolation Station – a bit of virtual theatre fun to get you through difficult times.
These Sesame Street family resources aren’t prescriptions you have to follow—just ideas to help your family find ways to breathe, laugh, and play together!
Sesame Street Resources
We might not be able to be together with our whole family, but we can still play games as if we were! Check out this list of free online board games that can help us stay together while we’re apart.
Get creative with a few household items, you can make kidsafe sidewalk paint that will keep the kids playing outdoors for hours! Or take the family on the Spring Break vacation that didn’t happen… Canada’s Wonderland offers virtual rides on a number of their amusement park rides, you might not be able to make there in person, but you can add a little thrill to your day from your own home.
- New This Week
The word Indigenous explained – Indigenous people are the first people to live in a place. In Canada, our Indigenous people belong to a number of different communities or nations. CBC Kids News’s Sid and Ruby explain.
- Past Resources
CNN partnered with “Sesame Street” for a special town hall about racism, giving both kids and parents an opportunity to explore the current moment the nation is living through and to understand how these issues affect people.
“Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism” — discussed everything from how to fight racism when you see it and who to call when police officers are being unsafe.
The hour-long program featured “Sesame Street” characters like Elmo, Abby Cadabby and Rosita. Together, they — along with experts — answered questions submitted by families.
Listen to a classic Dr Seuss story with a modern twist.
Imagination Library Bedtime Stories. “Goodnight With Dolly” will feature Dolly Parton reading a series of Imagination Library books all carefully chosen for their appropriate content at this moment in time.
Harry Potter At Home is a way of bringing the magic into people’s homes, casting a Banishing Charm on boredom. These special video readings are just one of the many things you can do at home, whether alone or with your friends or family. Each chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will be read aloud by a celebrity, starting out with none other than Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) himself. You can listen along through the link provided below.
Canadian children’s authors are stepping up for families staying at home, by bringing their books to life online for young readers. The long “school holiday” has inspired Canadian kids’ lit authors to record themselves reading from their books for virtual story times, which are sorely needed videos, as many bookstores and libraries aren’t viable options for kids during this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are some favourite kids’ lit creators keeping children engaged online.
- New This Week
Taking inspiration from the world famous RCMP Musical Ride, the Harbour Ferry Captains set out to test their abilities by creating a synchronized performance. With no passengers on board, the Captains were able to push the their little boats to the limit, making them twirl around the water in and out of beautifully choreographed sequences.
And so began the affectionately named Water Ballet. The Harbour Ferry Captains who volunteered to become “ballerinas” had no idea just how popular their performances would become. They quickly realized that they needed practice—and lots of it! It was a pretty common sight to see five men in Harbour Ferry uniforms practicing their ballet moves on foot around the parking lot. It wasn’t long before the Water Ballet became a beloved local tradition but not without a little light hearted teasing from their fellow Captains.
- Past Resources
Like so many people around the world right now, families are re-evaluating their regular activities and making sure that what they’re doing during this ever-evolving situation is safe for themselves and everyone in our community.
While schools, public recreation facilities, and playgrounds are no longer options, health experts currently agree that the outdoors is one of the few locations that remains a good place to engage in physical activity and reduce stress. Here are 10 nature based activities to consider.
Sometimes we need some down time and to get back to nature, but it’s difficult with cars or sirens distributing the natural flow of nature sounds. Close your eyes and listen to these sounds and you might feel like you are there.
Explore the Boston Children’s Museum! Activities include everything from science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) activities to tinker kit activity sheets for young builders and engineers.
Looking up at the night sky on a clear and calm night is very peaceful, ever wonder what you’re looking at? Astronomy is the study of the Universe and everything in it, including planets, stars, galaxies, comets, and black holes. It’s full of huge distances, gigantic sizes, and long periods of time. It’s a BIG subject!
Origami, from ori meaning “folding”, and kami meaning “paper” is the art of paper folding, which is often associated with Japanese culture. The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Here are some options for kids to start learning how to fold paper in pieces of art.
Each resource on this list provides supportive games and activities to reinforce music concepts at home; these online music education games are organized into the following categories: aural training, composers, composition, instruments, notation, symbols/vocabulary and variety.
Cosmic Kids Yoga offers yoga, mindfulness and relaxation designed specially for kids aged 3+, used in schools and homes all over the world. Click the link to get started.
Slow, calm, deep breathing can help us relax, manage stress, relieve anxiety and depression, and get a good night’s sleep, among many other things. Breathing also helps quiet the mind in preparation for meditation.
Stories help. They keep young minds alert, active and engaged. While schools are on pause kids listen for free on audible.ca
It is not for nothing that mindful coloring books have been so popular lately. Being mindful is great not only for your mind and soul but also to your body. It is meditation, just like yoga, but without the physical part.
YMCA AT HOME: FREE PROGRAMS ANYTIME, ANYWHERE!
At the YMCA, we are committed to supporting you and your family’s health and wellness. YMCA at Home is our new virtual platform that provides you with the ability to connect with your favourite YMCA programs anytime, anywhere! New videos will continue to be added!VISIT YMCA AT HOME
YPlay will help you build strong kids and a strong family at home! Activities are designed for a variety of ages and levels of ability and can be done from your family room for FREE.
YThrive Home will help you get your daily dose of YMCA fitness and community with amazing workouts! Workouts are designed for almost any fitness level and can be done from your living room for FREE.
YWell will bring you strength in spirit, mind and body at home! Activities are designed for a variety of levels and can be done from the comfort of your home for FREE.