Youth and Family Engagement Activities
Looking for some fun family activities to stay busy while you’re practicing safe social distancing and staying at home? Our Community Center staff is here to provide you with weekly programming that you can do at home with your family. At the beginning of each month, we will update this page with new activities for you to enjoy at home with your family, so come back regularly.
- Week of January 24 - 28, 2022 (Download PDF)
How To Make Slime
Materials: Glue, water, borax, food coloring
1. Bowl: Pour 1/4 cup glue, 1/4 cup of water and 4 drops of food coloring into a large mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon.
2. Cup: Mix 1/2 teaspoon borax into 1/2 cup of water and stir until borax dissolves.
3. Slowly pour the borax solution from the cup into the large mixing bowl with the glue and stir slowly.
4. Continue stirring until a slimy mixture forms.
5. Once the slime has formed, knead the mixture until it becomes less sticky.
Nature Treasure Hunt
Work with children to brainstorm a list of “treasures” found outside (e.g. flowers, a bug, animal tracks, a smooth rock, etc.) Explore the backyard, playground, or park to see what all can be found. Invite children to draw, journal, or take a picture of what they find and compare to other outdoor spaces. To make it a little more challenging, have children identify or look for certain items that have a specific shape, color, or purpose (e.g. used for cooking or in medicine, can be used to build a shelter, food, etc.).
Put anything you want to remember along with your resolutions in a container and then hide it till next year.
- Week of January 17 - 21, 2022 (Download PDF)
Materials: Shallow trays with rims, cardstock or heavy paper cut to fit the bottom of the trays, food coloring in various colors, cups, eyedroppers or small spoons
1. Fill the cups halfway with water.
2. Place a few drops of food coloring into each cup.
3. Use your eyedropper or small spoon to drop the colored water onto your paper. Try to use different amounts of water each time, so that you'll be able to see the different rates of evaporation.
4. See how your artwork changes as it dries, and the water evaporates!
Everyone writes the name of a celebrity, famous person or character on a piece of paper and then they stick to the forehead of the player on their left (use tape or office Post-It notes). Make sure they don’t see the name. The objective is to work out who you are. Going around the table, each payer takes a turn to ask the party questions about who they are, answers can be YES or NO only. If you get a YES you may continue asking, if you get a NO play moves on to the left. First person to guess their name is declared the winner.
- Week of January 10 - 14, 2022 (Download PDF)
Toilet Paper Bowling
Aim for a strike with toilet paper bowling. Stack toilet paper rolls into a pyramid and use a soup can or a ball for an easy (and quiet) game of bowling! Stack the rolls in different shapes or at different heights to shake up the game.
Materials: Piece of paper (one for each participant), pencil or pen, compass (optional)
1. Go somewhere in your house, your backyard, a park, or another place with lots of different sounds
2. When you’ve found your spot, put a mark in the center of your paper. Your mark can be an “X,” a dot, or even a drawing of yourself. This mark represents you. The blank space around your mark represents your surroundings.
3. If you’d like, use a compass to mark north, east, south, and west on your map.
4. Close your eyes and listen for any sounds.
5. When you hear a sound, notice the direction the sound is coming from. Is the sound moving or is it still?
6. Mark the sound on your paper in the direction you heard it. If the sound came from your right, put a mark on the right side of your paper. Draw or write what sounds you heard to help you remember later.
7. Continue listening and filling your paper with all the sounds you heard.
8. Review your map. If doing this experiment with friends, it’s always fun to share your data.
Gather pretty leaves, branches, or twigs. Lay the items out on a table and grab two pieces of paper and crayons. Lay one leaf on a piece of paper and place the other piece of paper on top. Hold the leaf in place by pressing down on the paper and rub the side of a crayon across the leaf. You’ll start to see the print of the leaf come through almost like magic! Repeat to make a collage with all of the items you’ve collected and use different colors.
- Week of January 3 - 7, 2022 (Download PDF)
Make Your Own Rainbow
Materials: Big bowl full of water in a clear container, small mirror, sheet of white paper, sunlit window
1. Place the bowl in front of the window.
2. Place the mirror part-way into the water facing the light.
3. Hold the piece of paper up to intercept the reflection.
4. A rainbow should appear on the paper in bands of color.
Guess the Resolutions
Make each participant write down resolutions, each on its own slip of paper. Pull one slip of paper out of a basket at a time and read it out loud. Everyone must write down who they think made each resolution. At the end of the readings, the person who guessed the most correctly wins a prize.
Glue an empty paper towel roll to the center of a paper plate. Grab a handful of paper plates and cut out the middle to make a ring. Take turns tossing and see how many you can land! You can also turn it into arts and craft exercise and decorate the rings with crayons, paint, or markers.
- Week of January 31 - February 4, 2022 (Download PDF)
Supplies: Pom Poms, Pipe Cleaners, Googly Eyes, Construction Paper (White, Red, Pink), Glue Stick.
Cut one pipe cleaner into 4 equal pieces. Each Love Bug gets two pieces for their antennas. Curl the ends of the pipe cleaner a third of the way down and set it aside. Choose a color of paper and cut out a small heart. This will be the bug’s feet. Next glue a pom-pom to the heart with the curves of the heart facing you. Then take the two pipe cleaners and glue them to the top of the pom-pom. After that, glue the googly eyes on and your love bug is complete.
Happy Baby Pose
Start laying on the floor, back on the ground, slowly bringing your knees to your chest. Next extend your legs to the ceiling/sky, hold for 30 seconds, then bring your knees back to your chest, this time grabbing your feet and holding for 30+ seconds. You will feel this stretch in your entire back, in your tail bone, as well as in your arms and shoulder blades.
- Week of February 7 - 11, 2022 (Download PDF)
Chinese New Year 3D Lantern
Supplies: Construction Paper (Red, Yellow), Scissors, Glue, Tape, Pens, Crayons, Pencils, Markers, Glitter (If you want), and some string.
First, take a red and a yellow sheet of paper and glue the edges together. Do not put glue in the middle of the paper. Let the paper dry, then fold the paper in half, the hot dog way. Next, cut a 2-inch-wide fringe, starting at the fold, up to the open side, stopping about 2 inches from the end of the paper. Twist the paper a little and glue both ends to each other. Lastly, add on the handle using the string.
Start laying on the floor, face to the ground. Bring one leg up and place your foot on the ground. Keep the other leg flat, behind you. If you are unable to do this, lift your body up as if you are in a deep lunge. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
Supplies: Empty Toilet Paper Roll, Markers, a Balloon, Scissors, a Rubber Band, and some Confetti (store bought or handmade.)
First decorate the toilet paper roll. Next, cut a medium sized hole in the top of the balloon. Then tie a knot in the end of the balloon. After that, stretch the open side of the balloon over the toilet roll. Secure the balloon with a rubber band. Lastly, fill the toilet paper roll up with confetti, then hold onto the rubber band, and pull the knot at the end of the balloon.
The confetti is launched! If you want to make it into a contest, try to see who can launch the confetti the farthest.
- Week of February 14 - 18, 2022 (Download PDF)
Mardi Gras Handprint Mask
Supplies: Construction Paper (Green, Purple, Yellow), Scissors, Tape, Pens, Crayons, Pencils, Markers, Glitter (If you want), and a straw.
First take a piece of paper in your choice of color and fold it hamburger-wise. Place your non-dominant hand on top of the paper with the crease of the paper near your wrist. Next trace your whole hand, and cut it out, not cutting apart the fold. Then cut out eye holes and begin decorating. Lastly, tape the straw to the back of the mask, and it’s done.
Fit for a King/Queen
Go outside and find an open space, mark off 5 spots starting 1ft apart, 3ft apart, 6ft apart, and 9ft apart. Sprint from the starting spot, back to the line. Then continue until you have reached the 9ft spot and sprinted back. Do this 3 times.
Simon Shows Parade Line
Everybody gets in a line, standing directly behind each other. One person stands in the front of the line, facing everybody else. That person is Simon. They are to move their body without speaking, and the person facing them is to do as Simon does. The rest of the people in line are to figure out what Simon did, by watching from the back of the person in front of them. After each round, move up one spot and the Simon, goes to the back of the line.
- Week of February 21 - 25, 2022 (Download PDF)
Madame C.J. Walker’s Relay
Background Information: Madame C.J. Walker was the first black woman millionaire in North America, but her passion was to improve the lives of impoverished women by developing hair care products. Although she grew up poor, she showed the world that anyone with determination and good work ethics could improve one's life and the lives of others.
Supplies: Equal number of hair care items for each group (comb, brush, travel size shampoo and conditioner, hair ornaments such as headbands), two buckets or hoops for each group.
Divide youth into equal teams, no more than three or four on a team. The teams will stand at one end of the play area next to their bucket or hoop, run to the other end of the play area to retrieve an item from the bucket and return to teammates to place the item in the "home" bucket. The next person will run to the other end of the play area and retrieve the next item, and the game continues until all items are retrieved.
Garrett Morgan’s Traffic Light
Background Information: Garrett Morgan is famous for his invention of the traffic light. Many lives were saved through using a traffic light to control the flow of traffic.
Two lines are established at opposite ends of the playing area. One line is the goal line, the other is the starting line. One player is “It” and stands on the goal line and closes his eyes. The rest of the players are at the start line. When "It" calls “green light,” players move toward him. When "It" calls "red light" he opens his/her eyes, and all the players must stop moving. Any player who is caught in motion must return to the starting line. Keep playing until a player reaches the goal line, then select another person to be "It".
- Week of February 28 – March 4, 2022 (Download PDF)
This is a great indoor game that doesn't require a lot of room or equipment, and everyone can enjoy it. Each person receives a small bean bag or coin to put on the tops of their feet. Keeping feet together, the players "shuffle" their feet forward a little at a time letting the object fall off their feet. Create a finish line and have each player race to the end. Try racing an adult against a child or to have a tag team event if you have several children.
Musical Freeze Improvisations
Play several snippets of music. Each will be different in character, and participants are encouraged to move "the way the music sounds." Stress the importance of freezing INSTANTLY, in whatever position you find yourself in. After the group has got the hang of it, start adding instructions during the freeze. After the music stops and everyone freezes, say, "Go!" and each participant launches immediately into a spontaneous improvisation, suggested by the position in which he or she is frozen. Only let the improvisation go for a few seconds, then yell, "stop!" Start the next piece of music, and once again participants move to the music.
Heads, Bodies and Tails
This old-fashioned parlor game requires two or more people, a piece of paper and at least one pencil. In Heads, Bodies and Tails the first player draws a hat and then folds the paper over to reveal only the brim. The next player, without looking at the first picture, draws a head, leaving only the neck. Player 3 (or the first player again) draws the body, leaving the waist. The next person draws the legs, and then finally someone draws the shoes.
- Week of March 4 - 11, 2022 (Download PDF)
Spring has Sprung!
Materials Needed: paper plate, paint & paintbrushes (or Dotters), piece of white cardstock, piece of pastel colored cardstock, scissors, glue stick, green markers, and a Sharpie.
- Turn your paper plate over and have youth paint the back of the plate.
- While the plate dries, have youth use green paint and green markers to cover the white piece of cardstock.
- Draw a tulip or flower with a Sharpie on the front of the paper plate (non-paint side). Then use scissors to cut out the flower tops.
- Cut out leaves and stems from the green painted white piece of cardstock.
- Use a Sharpie to draw the outline of the flower, leaf, and stem onto another piece of pastel cardstock. This outline will help your child when he is positioning the parts (leaves, flowers, stem) and make it kind of like a puzzle.
- Have youth cover the back of the pieces with glue and stick them to the outline on the pastel piece of paper.
- Hang your flowers where you can see them often and get even more excited that spring has arrived!
Freeze and Justify
The group sits or stands around the acting space. Two people enter the space and begin to improvise a scene, with dialogue and as much physical action as possible. At any moment, anyone else in the group may shout, "FREEZE!" The actors freeze instantly and exactly. The person who stopped the scene taps one of the actors on the shoulder. The actor sits down, and the new person takes his or her position exactly. The new person must now initiate a new and DIFFERENT scene. The scene must flow naturally from the positions of the two bodies, and it is the new person's responsibility to communicate to his or her partner and to the audience what the new scene is about. At any moment another person may shout, "FREEZE!" and it begins again.
It is a basic game of freeze tag, but in this case the person that unfreezes the frozen player must call out a TV show title each time. The catch of the game is that every TV show can only be used once!
- Week of March 14 - 18, 2022 (Download PDF)
Water Lilly Paper Plate
Materials Needed: paper plate, green acrylic paint, paintbrush, scissors, pencil, glue stick, rose and yellow papers
- Start by gathering all your materials to make this water-lily paper-plate craft. Draw the shape of the water lily leaf on a paper plate and cut it out. Make a circle on the pink paper. Cut out the circle. Cut out the leaf’s template. Draw around several times on the pink paper. Cut everything out. Pull the petals with the edge of the scissors to curl. Keep curling the leaves with the scissors. Glue them to the circle in several rows. Keep gluing. Keep going until the flower is complete. It should look like a curly flower when you are done! Cut a long strip of the yellow paper. Fold in half and cut with scissors from beginning to end. Go ahead and wrap the yellow piece of paper up. Glue it together. Gluing this together is going to give the flower an amazing real look! Go ahead and add it to the center of the flower. Look at how beautiful the yellow POP of the center is. Place the flower on the lily pad. Now you have a complete Water Lily Paper Plate Craft.
The Martha Game
Group stands outside a designated performance space. One person runs into the space, forms her body into a statue and announces what she is, as in "I'm a tree." Instantly the next person runs on and forms something else in the same picture. "I'm a bench under the tree." The next person further adds to the picture. "I'm a man sitting on the bench." "I'm the newspaper the man is reading,” etc., until the whole group is part of the picture. Start again. And again. Coach this to go very, very fast. There is no time to think--just go! If there are two teams, they alternate.
- Week of March 14 - 18, 2022 (Download PDF)
Have participants sit with their feet in front and hands behind, then lift their hips off the ground so they're walking like a crab.
Materials Needed: light blue cardboard, yellow crepe paper, paper (green, red, and black), googly eyes, pencil, glue, and scissors
- Cut from the yellow crepe paper approximately 1-inch strips. Fold in half and cut with scissors to make nice incisions. Apply some glue onto the edge and roll it up to make a dandelion flower. If needed, add some more glue at the end so the flower will stick together nicely. Cut off the excess of the flower heads. Now make a bunch of dandelion flowers by repeating the steps above. Cut thin strips of the green paper for the flower stem. Draw some leaves on the green paper. Cut them out and zig-zag their edges with scissors. Glue the flower stems. Add the flowers and leaves to the cardboard. Now draw a ladybug shape on the black paper and cut it out. Draw around that shape on the red paper and cut it out as well. Cut off a small piece from the red shape to make the ladybug’s wings. Glue together the ladybug’s body, wings, and googly eyes. Draw some dots onto the ladybugs with a marker and stick them onto the cardboard. Your paper dandelion scenery is all done!
It’s easy to grow a container garden. Even if you live in an apartment, there is room on a windowsill for a small potted plant or herb. The easiest and most rewarding plants for a patio or indoor garden are culinary herbs or leafy salads: great for cooking and garnishing! For good success from seed, try parsley, chives, rosemary and arugula.
- Week of March 28 - April 1, 2022 (Download PDF)
Paper Bee Craft
Materials Needed: construction paper or regular paper in various colors, scissors, and glue
- Start by making the base for your craft. You can make it as big as a full-sized letter paper. Cut a strip of yellow paper. This one will make the bee body. You can draw the black stripes with a marker or glue the black paper stripes. Apply glue on one end and make a paper roll. Stick the paper roll on the base. If you haven’t already, stick the black paper stripes on the bee body. This is how your body should be looking right now. Make a smaller yellow paper roll and stick it on top of the body one. This will make the bee’s head. Add googly eyes or draw eyes. Cut a pair of wings out of white or light blue paper and glue them onto the bee’s body. Cut a long triangle (stinger) out of black paper and stick it inside the bee’s body. Lastly, cut two antennae and stick them above or on the bee’s head. All done! Now you know How to Make a Paper Bee Craft.
Choose a family fun movie, make some popcorn and relax! Watching a movie as a family activity means lots of bonding and your home cinema experience will be a fraction of the cost of going to the cinema. For a totally stress-free evening, why not order a pizza so Mom and Dad don’t have to cook? Many families make movie night into a fun weekly routine.
- Week of April 4 - 8, 2022 (Download PDF)
Write or draw about things that you are grateful for. Share your gratitude with members of your immediate family!
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 (e.g. 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.
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…”
- Week of April 11 - 15, 2022 (Download PDF)
Easter Egg Rolling Race
Let the good times roll with this fun nature-based relay race. Start with a dozen (or more) hardboiled eggs, one for each racer. Mark off a straight racetrack with multiple lanes using items you find in nature. Each player begins by placing his or her egg at the starting line in his or her lane. Similar to the popular White House tradition, each player then uses a wooden spoon or stick to roll the egg down the lane and across the finish line. The first one to cross the finish line wins!
Capture the Egg
Get ready for a little friendly competition with this fun take on "Capture the Flag". Divide all your players into two teams. For this game you'll need eight eggs, four each in two different colors. Have each team choose a color and then line up their eggs on their end of the field. Each team must try to capture the other team's eggs and bring them to their side of the field without being tagged by a member of the opposing team. If a player is tagged by an opponent, they are out. To win, a team must successfully capture all the other team's eggs or must have the last man standing.
Easter Egg Treasure Hunt
X marks the spot with this Easter-themed spin on treasure hunting! Fill an Easter basket with goodies. Hide the basket somewhere and then fill plastic eggs with clues that will help players locate the treasure. The first to reach the basket wins the treasure!
- Week of April 18 - 22, 2022 (Download PDF)
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 and 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.
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.
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.
- Week of April 25 - 29, 2022 (Download PDF)
The Crab Walk Workout
Start by sitting on the ground with your hands and feet flat on the ground. Make sure your fingers are pointing away from your body or else you will put too much pressure on your wrists. Now, raise your torso up towards the sky, about level with your shoulders. Then start to walk with your hands and feet. Let’s see how long you and the kids can keep this up!
Touch and Feel Boxes
Start by putting interesting objects into containers that a child must reach into and identify by touch. Shoe boxes work well as they are usually readily available, can be easily cut with scissors, and do not let light through. Making the boxes is part of the fun, have the kids decorate them, just make sure to cut out a child-sized hand hole on the side of the box beforehand. Place an item in each box and have your kids take turns guessing what the items are. Encourage questions and offer clues as needed.
Sock Bean Bag Toss
A great use for that large cardboard box you were about to recycle. Cut holes of various widths and shapes and assign point values to each one. Flip the box upside down and you’ve got an instant carnival-style bean bag toss. You can use soft socks to toss or small balls such as ping-pong balls. Little prizes are totally optional as a fun incentive.
- Week of May 2 - 6, 2022 (Download PDF)
Sidewalk Obstacle Course
It’s like hopscotch, but better! Make the obstacle course go in a circle. For a bigger group, consider making two of the exact same obstacle courses next to each other and have relay races. Here are a few ideas for the chalk obstacle course:
• Leap like a frog to lily pads (draw lily pads)
• Pop the bubbles (draw bubbles)
• Skip/tip toe down a squiggly line
• Hop over a pile of rocks or sticks
• Spell your name (draw each letter all of the kids’ names)
• Walk backwards (draw a line)
• Follow the paw prints (draw paw prints)
• Crab walk (draw 2 straight lines)
• Jump spin (draw a swirl)
Draw large rectangles on the ground ( draw as many as the number of youth who will be playing) and give each youth sidewalk chalk. Ask them to start drawing a picture in their space. Set a timer for 3 - 5 minutes and when time is up having the youth rotate to another rectangle and have them draw on that space. Continue until all the artists have had a chance to color on all the rectangles.
Sidewalk Chalk Maze
Draw a large maze on the ground that youth must maneuver through on their bikes, scooters or on foot.
- Week of May 9 - 13, 2022 (Download PDF)
There is one thrower, and every other player is a catcher. The catcher throws a ball high in the air for the catchers to try to catch. The thrower can decide a catch is worth a certain amount. The winner is the person who exceeds a previously decided jackpot number (i.e., “Game is to 1,000”). More fun can be added by the thrower yelling one of the following terms: Jackpot (automatic win); Bomb (receiver who touches ball loses a designed number of points); Bankrupt (lose all points); Ice Ball (stay frozen for one throw); Fireball (steal one point from opponent).
Sardines is the opposite of hide-and-seek. One person is designated to hide while the others count. If you find the hidden person, you join them. Last person to find them loses.
Builders and Bulldozers
For this game you’ll need two teams. One team will be the Builders and the other will be the Bulldozers. Before the game begins set up a series of cones in a wide-open space. When you call go, all the players will run onto the field. The objective for the Bulldozers is to knock over cones, using their hands only to gently tip them over- no kicking! The objective for the Builders is to return the cones to their upright position. Each player keeps track of their own points (one point for each cone either knocked over or picked up).
Stuck in the Mud
This game is a fun version of tag. One or two people are designated as taggers, or “It”. Set boundaries and call go. The objective is to run (or skip, or gallop, etc.) and not to get tagged. If a player does gets tagged, they must stop and stand with their feet planted on the ground in a wide stance (like they are stuck in mud). They only way they can get back into the game is to be released by someone who crawls under them, through their legs. After a set amount of time, choose new taggers and continue.
- Week of May 16 - 20, 2022 (Download PDF)
Geocaching is like a modern-day treasure hunt. Instead of using paper maps and compasses, geocachers rely on the Geocache app on their phones and GPS to find the treasure. The cache can be as simple as a Tupperware, or it might be a weather-proof container specifically for geocaching. Typically, there is nothing of monetary value in the cache.
Rockhounding is a lot more fun than you think! Starting is easy. Brainstorm a list of the top 5 rocks in your region. Next, challenge youth to help you find them.
- Week of May 23 - 27, 2022 (Download PDF)
Have the players jog around the infield, using the whole infield to jog around and jogging around in random patterns, not the base path. Call out a base or position and all players must run to that spot. Players must touch the base with their foot. Make sure the players are not getting too competitive and pushing each other. Once all players have touched the base, the coach calls for them to start jogging around again. The coach then calls out a different base for the players to run to. Continue this process until the players have run to each base multiple times
Steal The Bacon
Split team in half with one team lined up between first and second and the other between second and third. Players will be assigned a number within their group. Both coaches will stand at home with the bucket of balls. The coaches will yell out numbers randomly. The player assigned that number from both teams will run out to catch the ball. The player that thinks they have it should call for the ball by yelling “Ball, ball, ball.” Be sure to incorporate both ground balls and fly balls and have them practice fielding on the move. Call out multiple numbers to add competition.
- Week of May 30 - Jun 3, 2022 (Download PDF)
Create a croquet course with pool noodles (or hula hoops), then have youth kick bouncy balls through the wickets. First, cut up different colored pool noodles, making sure they are long enough to create an arch to kick the balls through. Design your own croquet course with the arches and use garden stakes to secure them to the ground. To play, have youth kick their balls through the course. Tally up points for the number of wickets passed or for the youth who gets through the course first. You could also call out colors and simply have them kick it through the ones that match what you’ve called out.
Have youth throw soft foam flying discs into buckets, baskets, cardboard boxes, and other goals positioned all around your outdoor playing space. This game can be played by taking turns in a big group or in teams, and you can incorporate extra rules, such as having youth dance in place for five seconds if they don’t land the frisbee in the goal in three or fewer tries.
Divide youth into teams of four and set up one cone per team with a tennis or whiffle ball balanced on top. Have youth take turns rolling other balls toward the cones, trying to topple them over. When the ball on top falls, the youth who toppled it must try to chase it down and grab it within five seconds to win a point for their team. They also must set up the cone and ball on top for the next teammate to take their turn.
- Week of Jun 6 - 10, 2022 (Download PDF)
The Crab Walk Workout
Start by sitting on the ground with your hands and feet flat on the ground. Make sure your fingers are pointing away from your body or else you will put too much pressure on your wrists. Now, raise your torso up towards the sky, about level with your shoulders. Then start to walk with your hands and feet. Let’s see how long you and the kids can keep this up!
Cherry Blossom Painting
Because this cherry blossom painting is more of a branch than a whole tree, you want to cut your paper in half for a horizontal painting. Mix up your paints. If you have a nice sky blue and two shades of pink already, great! If not, you will need to mix your colors. Paint the entire canvas with blue for the sky. Allow the sky to dry completely. Draw in your branch with a pencil and use black paint to fill in your branch. Allow the branch to completely dry. Now the fun part! The kids will make paint brushes using clothespins and cotton balls. Using two shades of pink, one light and one dark, have the kids paint in the cherry blossom flowers with their cotton ball paintbrushes. Start with the darker shade first, then add the lighter pink.
Story Telling Bag
Put many different small objects in a bag. Sit in a circle and begin your story with “Once upon a time…”. Take turns drawing an item from the bag without looking and fitting it into the story. Pass the bag around the circle to continue the story until you run out of items.
- Week of Jun 13 - 17, 2022 (Download PDF)
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.
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 a piece of art to display.
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.
- Week of Jun 20 - 24, 2022 (Download PDF)
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.
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
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.
- Week of Jun 27 - Jul 1, 2022 (Download PDF)
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.
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.
Coffee Filter Flowers
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 Jul 2 - 8, 2022 (Download PDF)
Have a Picnic (#RiseUpJuly)
Parks are excellent spaces where families and friends can gather to enjoy fresh air and scenery. Having open areas or furniture available encourages people to prepare and bring picnics to your park. Picnics are great social activities that people of all ages can enjoy and adapt to their wants. People can settle in a grassy field with a blanket next to some natural scenery for a quiet, peaceful afternoon, or they can sit down at a picnic table in a more populated area with access to other park amenities. Many people seek parks for picnics because they are natural social gathering places.
Hike a Trail (#RiseUpJuly)
Many parks include hiking trails where visitors can explore the local ecosystems or exercise outdoors. Houston Parks and Recreation Department parks provide various paths for visitors to choose from, they can select the one that best fits their difficulty level and length. Hiking trails are an excellent opportunity to interact with local flora and fauna. Visitors can use the trails to seek out local wildlife through bird-watching and other activities, or they can enjoy the time outside surrounded by greenery. Users can enjoy alone time in nature or enjoy the scenery with friends.
Hunt for Bugs (#RiseUpJuly)
Interacting with wildlife in parks lets people learn about ecosystems. Many adults and children enjoy interacting with bugs, and the park is a space where many people feel safe and comfortable exploring the environment to find cool bugs. Visitors may look in the trees or under rocks to find bugs, whether they have a specific one in mind or want to see any bug.
Host a Photo Contest (#RiseUpJuly)
If you want to show off your park’s beautiful natural features and promote your park, consider hosting a photo contest for your community. Frequent and new visitors will explore your park, searching for the perfect location to take a picture to win the competition, potentially drawing visitors to parts of your park they’ve never been before.
Complete a Scavenger Hunt (#RiseUpJuly)
Parks are great places for kids and families to host scavenger hunts. Kids love looking for clues and the promise of discovering hidden treasure at the end. It creates an exciting outdoor activity that lets them enjoy the outdoors and nature. Parents can set up scavenger hunts themselves, by writing hints and hide prizes throughout the park.
- Week of Jul 9 - 15, 2022 (Download PDF)
Learn a New Sport (#RiseUpJuly)
Many families and kids come to your park to teach themselves a new sport. Open fields allow visitors to play group sports, including:
• Soccer: Open fields are great places for kids and adults to play soccer together. Visitors can bring balls from home and use open spaces to create their boundaries, or you can provide goals. Soccer is an excellent sport for kids to play together to socialize and exercise and using their legs to kick can help improve muscle coordination and overall dexterity.
• Football: Like with soccer, visitors of all ages can come to play football. Football is a game people can play anywhere they have the space; all you need to do is determine where end zones are and how much of the field you are using. Visitors can also use different versions of football, like flag football, to better meet site needs or change the stakes.
• Kickball: Another group sport that people can play is kickball. Because of bases, this game can be a great way to reuse baseball diamonds at your park. Visitors can also play this in other fields by using bases they brought from home or other markers they find around the park, testing their creativity and resourcefulness.
• Flying discs: Flying discs are an excellent park activity because of their adaptability. Visitors can play with just a couple of people tossing a disc around, or they can divide larger groups into teams and play competitively. You can even add disc golf equipment to open areas. Flying discs are also popular with dog owners, encouraging them to bring their dogs to the park.
Use Sidewalk Chalk (#RiseUpJuly)
Park visitors can use the many amenities and facilities available to enhance their park experience, even features as simple as streets and sidewalks can help entertain. Visitors can bring sidewalk chalk to play staple outdoor games, like hopscotch. Kids love to use bright colors to express their creativity and draw whatever their hearts desire.
Visitors can use sidewalk chalk for various games, including:
• Word games: Clear sidewalks provide visitors with the opportunity to play whatever comes to mind, including their favorite word games. Visitors can draw pictures on the pavement and guess which words their friends are thinking of, or children can try to make long lists of rhyming words. If they can write it, they can play it with chalk.
• Tic-tac-toe: Another classic game kids and adults can bring to the sidewalk is tic-tac-toe. Kids can cover the pavement with endless rounds of tic-tac-toe. Because it is an easy game, kids of all ages will have fun participating.
• Four square: Four square is a great ball game visitors can play after drawing squares on the pavement. This is a great group game where kids and adults interact with other park visitors and make new friends while exercising. People can enjoy the game for days since the chalk will remain until it rains.
- Week of Jul 16 - 22, 2022 (Download PDF)
Jump Rope (#RiseUpJuly)
Jumping rope is a great way to have fun in the park. Whether visitors choose to use jump-ropes as a group game with other children or as a form of exercise, jumping rope is a great way to enjoy the fresh air while getting some aerobic exercise.
Participate in Water Activities (#RiseUpJuly)
Parks offer visitors many different types of amenities, including sports and water facilities. While visitors can work up a sweat on the various courts, they can cool off at one of the park’s water attractions, like:
• Swimming pools: Pools are great attractions to parks, giving people a space to cool down in the summer and hang out with friends. People of all ages can use the pool to learn how to swim or strengthen their swimming skills.
• Splash pads: For another alternative to water play, splash pads are areas where kids can play in fountains and escape the summer heat. Fountains are interactive, allowing kids to explore the water. As open spaces, they are available to kids of all ages to play and make new friends.
Learn About Nature (#RiseUpJuly)
Are you interested in some close encounters of the natural kind? You can expose your children to the wonder of nature and learn about native plant and animal species that inhabit various environments. Take along your camera to capture the weird and wonderful things you find. Later, you can make a scrapbook detailing your discoveries.
Family Field Day Challenge (#RiseUpJuly)
Bring a few simple props and set up your own family field day. Here are some examples:
• Hula-hoops or jump ropes for an endurance challenge
• Eggs and spoons for a balance testing relay challenge
• Soccer ball for a dribbling challenge
• Plastic cups and water for a balance testing on the head race challenge
• Rope for tug-of-war challenge
- Week of Jul 23 - 31, 2022 (Download PDF)
Activities to Do at the Playground (#RiseUpJuly)
If you want to find new activities to do at the park, the playground is a great place to start. Playgrounds are spaces where kids can stay active and practice essential social and physical skills.
Create an Obstacle Course (#RiseUpJuly)
Houston Parks and Recreation Department playground’s have multiple structures and equipment located on the site, that can transform the space into an obstacle course for kids to work through. Kids will love the change in scenery and trying to work through the obstacles. Obstacle courses can help kids develop their motor skills as they work through the equipment, practicing their coordination and muscle movements. Obstacles can vary in difficulty to cater to different ages, starting with something simple for younger kids and more complex obstacles for older ones.
Complete a Fitness Challenge (#RiseUpJuly)
While many people target playground equipment for kids, adults can use playgrounds with outdoor fitness equipment to complete exercises. Kids use playtime to stay active, keeping their bodies and minds healthy, but adults can use equipment like benches and bars for various endurance and strength exercises. Encourage exercise at your playground by advertising fitness challenges motivating people to take part and reach their fitness goals.
Host a Play (#RiseUpJuly)
Since play equipment rises above the ground, allowing people to see from various standpoints, you can transform them into a stage for a night and host a play. Your play can feature adult actors who put weeks of work and care into their performance or put on a children’s show to highlight the kids’ talents. Regardless of how you approach this event, you can host a fun evening at a unique venue that families and friends of your community will surely remember and cherish.
Play Hide and Seek (#RiseUpJuly)
You can use playground equipment to host large-scale games for all kids to participate in. Hide and seek is a classic kid’s game. Invite kids to play hide and seek in your park with the playground as one of the options. Kids can use equipment and surrounding scenery as spaces to hide. Just be sure to establish clear boundaries when advertising your game.
Meet New People (#RiseUpJuly)
Playgrounds are critical social fixtures in communities, where kids and families gather to meet other people in the area. You can use playgrounds as locations for meet-and-greet events, inviting new families to come and discover places where their kids can play and potentially meet new friends.