For flooding and recovery information from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, click here.
For the latest update on the YMCA of Northern Alberta’s response to COVID-19, please, click here. Because of the high volume of requests, we are unable to respond to phone inquiries at this time.
Colour-matching scavenger hunt

Go on a colour-matching scavenger hunt this weekend! All you need are some paint chips from a hardware store. The mission is simple: find items around your home or yard to match the paint colours! Try to get as close to each shade as possible.

Collect as many different items as you can to match each colour, and then see if there are other ways to sort the items you've found: large to small, hard to soft, heavy to light.

"Classification is a sorting operation in which objects are grouped according to common attributes, such as color, shape, size and thickness. The preschool child will begin to sort by one attribute at a time. The child may shift his focus midway through, moving from one attribute to another. For example, the child may begin sorting by color and then shift to size." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)


Create your own compost

With spring here in full bloom and gardens starting to get prepped for planting flowers and vegetables, our YMCA Child Care team is sharing their vermicomposting tips! This worm habitat will help compost your kitchen scraps and other green waste into rich, dark soil full of nutrients that can be then used in your garden to help your plants flourish this year. While doing this project, your children will not only learn about the science of composting but will also develop an understanding of the importance of being environmentally responsible. For interesting worm facts and a great step by step guide to building your own worm habitat, click here.

“Children learn environmentally and socially responsible practices:
• Reducing consumption
• Reusing and recycling
• Participating in care of plants and domestic animals, and stewardship of local plant, insect and animal life."
Makovichuk, Hewes, Litrette, Thomas, Flight. (2014). Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework.


 
Die your own flowers

Get a head start on spring with this science activity from YMCA Child Care. Grab a cheap bouquet of carnations next time you're at the grocery store and create a colourful bouquet of flowers!
Supplies:
πŸ’ Glass jars
πŸ’ Food colouring in a variety of colours
πŸ’ White flowers (carnations work great)
πŸ’ Water
πŸ’ Scissors

Directions:
πŸ’ Fill the jars with water and add food colouring to each. The more you add, the more vibrant your flowers will be.
πŸ’ Cut 1-2 inches off the stems of each of your flowers.
πŸ’ Place flowers in each jar.
πŸ’ Observe over the next day and record what you see. Ask questions like, "do the leaves change colours?" "What about the stem?" "Are the petals changing colour from the top of the petal down to the base, or the opposite?"
πŸ’ Once the flowers reach the colour you're happy with, take them out of the jars, re-cut the ends of the stems and arrange in a vase to enjoy!

“Science is the process of observing, thinking, and reflecting on actions and events.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)


egg carton greenhouses
Get your children involved in gardening! Make your own egg carton greenhouse, which can be brought indoors and fit into any home.

Click here to get started.

To expand this activity, try these suggestions:
🌱 Make labels for your plants
🌱 Chart the plant growth
🌱 Make a checklist for children to use for watering

“Science and discovery establish a foundation for lifelong respect for and interest in biology, the environment and ecological issues. This is achieved by exploring opportunities to experience the wonders of the natural world, as well as by developing attitudes of respect and responsibility for the environment.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

field trip: canadian farms

Let's explore the amazing world of Canadian farming. Click here to take your tour — you can pick which type of farm you'd like to visit!

Extend your field trip into more activities and learning with these tips:
πŸ‘¨‍🌾 Write about what you learned
πŸ‘¨‍🌾 Draw a picture of your favourite part
πŸ‘¨‍🌾 Build something you saw using LEGO, blocks or recycled materials
 
“Science is the knowledge of both the natural and physical world. It is also a 'way of knowing' – or the process through which understanding the natural and physical worlds comes about.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Field Trip: Let's go to Mars

Our YMCA Child Care team is taking us on a trip to the 'red' planet Mars on NASA's Curiosity rover. Navigate the real surface of Mars based on terrain photos that were taken when Curiosity landed on Mars. You can learn about the rover itself, as well as the different features that it found on the planet. Click here to go on this field trip!

After you are done:
πŸŒ• Make your own rover
πŸŒ– Build or draw a planet, or even the solar system
πŸŒ— Create or name you a planet
🌘 Research different stars and constellations
πŸŒ‘ Make black playdough with shiny objects in it to represent the night sky.

"Curiosity and wonder at the workings of the world should be nurtured and celebrated long past the early childhood years" (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015).

Field Trip: the calgary zoo
It's YMCA Child Care field trip time! This time we're taking a virtual trip to the Calgary Zoo! In their virtual "Zoo Along With You" program, you can go on live habitat tours with zookeepers, join in on virtual stories and activities, and keep checking in as they post new zoo adventures each week.
 
Click here to go to the zoo!
 
"Children are always interested in the living world... Young children are drawn to these experiences, which provide rich opportunities for discussion and discovery about animal science, ecology and environmentalism. Early childhood educators need to provide the activities and ask questions that support the discovery." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)
Field Trip: the Museum of Flight

Get ready to take flight, because our YMCA Child Care team is taking you to explore planes at The Museum of Flight. You can explore information and pictures in the aircraft of your choosing. Without going to the airport you can feel like you are truly flying by going into the cockpit and cabin for a virtual 3D tour! To start your tour, click here. For younger children, play a game of "I Spy" and have them describe what they see in the plane as you help them navigate.

Flight activities for when you are on solid ground:
✈️ For younger children, play a game of "I Spy" and have them describe what they see in the plane as you help them navigate.
✈️ Build your own paper airplane and measure how far it will fly. Don't forget to practice flying it from different locations and heights.
✈️ Go fly a kite! Better yet, make your own before you go.
✈️Build a plane and airport out of blocks or cardboard boxes.
✈️Draw a plane and label the different parts that you saw on your tour.

"The content of science for young children is a sophisticated interplay among concepts, scientific reasoning, the nature of science, and doing science. It is not primarily a science of information while facts are important, children need to begin an understanding of basic concepts and how they connect and apply to the world in which they live. And the thinking processes and skills of science are also important (Worth, 2010)" (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015).

Field Trip: Ripley's Aquarium

Our YMCA Child Care team is virtually taking you to the Ripley’s Aquarium! Explore aquatic life through live cameras, check out the calendar for live events, and there are even downloadable resources and worksheets to interact with for a variety of ages! To virtually visit this aquarium, click here.

"Science is the knowledge of both the natural and physical world. It is also a “way of knowing” – or the process through which understanding the natural and physical worlds comes about." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

field trip: royal tyrrell museum
Time for another field trip with YMCA Child Care! This week we're heading to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Walk through the museum from home and explore dinosaurs and more. You can zoom into the information panels as you navigate the exhibits to read about everything you discover.

Extend this trip into more activities! Have your child:
πŸ” Write about what they learned
πŸ” Draw a picture of their favourite part
πŸ” Build something they saw using LEGO, blocks or recycled materials
πŸ” Sculpt the dinosaurs out of playdough or clay

Click here to go on this field trip!

“Science and discovery establish a foundation for lifelong respect for and interest in biology, the environment and ecological issues. This is achieved by exploring opportunities to experience the wonders of the natural world, as well as by developing attitudes of respect and responsibility for the environment.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)
field trip: san diego zoo

Our YMCA Child Care team thought they'd take you on a trip to the San Diego Zoo. At this zoo, there are live animal cameras for a variety of animals living there. They also provide fun information about each animal so you can learn as you watch. Pack some snacks and head on your field trip here!

"Science and discovery establish a foundation for lifelong respect for and interest in biology, the environment and ecological issues. This is achieved by exploring opportunities to experience the wonders of the natural world, as well as by developing attitudes of respect and responsibility for the environment." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)


Lego race cars

It's time to build LEGO cars! With the snow finally gone, why not go outside, find a smooth piece of pavement and have a good old-fashioned car race! Have your child develop their building skills while creating their own balloon-powered LEGO car. For a great resource on the construction of these vehicles, our YMCA Child Care team reccommends this article.

“There is no area of play that contributes more to the development of science and discovery than block play. Playing with blocks establishes a foundation of architecture and many fields of design and technology” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015).


scientific inquiry with an eggsperiment!
Try this science experiment that your child can engage with over the next week! Using household ingredients, your child can observe the effects vinegar has on an egg's shell over time.

Find instructions for this activity here, then use our tips for getting the most out of this activity:

πŸ₯š Ask your children what they see and have them use descriptive words
πŸ₯š Encourage them to make predictions by asking, "what do you think will happen next?"
πŸ₯š Help them draw their experiment or even label it
πŸ₯š Make a chart to track changes and vinegar refills
πŸ₯š Take a picture a day and make an experiment timeline

This science experiment can be fun for all ages but preschool-aged kids and older will be able to truly engage in the science inquiry process.

"Inquiry is born of play at any age, from birth through maturity. Exploring materials, ideas and relationships refines the capacity to think. Children are compelled to inquiry by a deep curiosity and a need to explore and understand their world. Through inquiry, children strive to form relationships among ideas and synthesize new discoveries into existing frameworks of understanding.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)
Volcano Eggs
Let's make extra special, extra fun eggs with this activity from YMCA Child Care that's half art, half science: it's Volcano Eggs!

Ingredients:
πŸ₯š Baking soda
πŸ₯š White hard-boiled eggs
πŸ₯š Food colouring
πŸ₯š Water
πŸ₯š Vinegar
πŸ₯š Paint brushes
πŸ₯š A big tray, bowl or bin with a good lip on it to contain the mess

Directions:
πŸ₯š Mix a couple of tablespoons of baking soda with a few teaspoons of water and as much food colouring as it takes to get the colour you want. Adjust until you get a good consistency — thick, but paintable.
πŸ₯š Paint your eggs with the mixture! You can splatter extra food colouring on if you want, too. Be creative!
πŸ₯š Pour vinegar onto a painted egg and watch the volcanic eruption that occurs when vinegar meets baking soda!
πŸ₯š Pat the eggs dry or let them air dry This activity is fun for all ages, but needs varying degrees of parent participation, depending on the age of your child.

“Scientific reasoning begins in infancy (Gopnik, Meltzoff & Kuhl, 1999). Babies see how objects move and behave, gather information, build patterns of expectations about the world around them and form general categories.” – Early Learning for Every Child Today: A Framework for Ontario early childhood settings, 2007 (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)