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 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