Outdoor and Gross Motor

Outdoor and Gross Motor

Outdoor Forts for Shade

For anyone spending time outdoors in these hot temperatures, you can get your children to help you create shady spaces where they can play while staying cool with today's YMCA Child Care activity! We're creating tents from stringing tarps or sheets between trees, or they can be draped over structures that you create with sticks. You may want to try out your wilderness skills and make a lean-to structure. Just remember there is no perfect way to build your structure, and you can change it over time to suit your needs!

"A block structure is a system based on balancing parts to create a whole. Through repeated experiences, the child comes to understand that there are particular sequential patterns that can be followed in creating the system. The child also establishes sets of these patterns for efficient and successful construction" (Martin and Huggins, YMCA Playing to Learn, 2015).

Bean Bag Toss

Today's YMCA Child Care activity is a fun target practice activity that allows your children to work on their accuracy skills, small and large muscle movements as well as number recognition! You'll need:

Bean Bags
Set of Stairs
Cue Cards or small pieces of paper
Masking Tape
Marker

Directions:

  1. Using cue cards, marker and tape, number each of your stairs in numerical order from one until you reach the top stair, or ten, whichever comes first.
  2. Grab your bean bags and place yourselves at the bottom of the stairs. Call out a number and toss your bean bag to see if you can get the bean bag to land on the corresponding stair.
  3. Once you have mastered this, add a challenge and see if you can get the bean bag to land on each stair in numerical order by only having to toss the bean bag once on each stair. If you miss, start from one again until you are able to successfully complete the challenge!

“Children need to be active every day to promote their healthy growth and development. Kids who establish healthy lifestyle patterns...will carry them – and their benefits – forward for the rest of their lives" (Martin and Huggins, YMCA A Place to Connect, 2009).

 

Community map

This week our YMCA Child Care team is focusing on building strong communities as we begin YMCA Month of Giving, presented by Flaman. Help your child understand the people and places that make your community special by creating a community map! You can even make maps of numerous communities that you may be part of throughout the city or around the world. Here are some ideas for creating your community maps:
🗺️ Go on a community walk to get inspiration. Bring a clipboard or notebook with you to be able to draw your map as you go. 
🗺️ Take pictures! You can make your map with pictures of real places you see out in your community.
🗺️ Create a map legend. Just like a real map, use symbols to mark different features like roads and parks.

"School-age children gradually become aware of their world beyond home, school and their neighborhoods. While they first need to feel secure in their sense of belonging to the family unit and in their education and child care settings, their worlds can be extended to the community at large. This can be a two-way process that ultimately benefits the community and each child" (Martin and Huggins, YMCA A Place to Connect, 2009).

Paper Plate Skates

For today’s YMCA Child Care activity,  we're taking the classic winter sport of skating and bring it indoors for some gross motor fun! Here's what you'll need:
❄️ Paper plates
❄️ Carpeted area 

Find a wide carpeted area indoors, and using the paper plates as skates, skate around your indoor rink. Have fun practicing racing like a speed skater, moving like a figure skater or shooting some goals like a hockey player.  

“Enjoying himself in discovery activities, games, sport, and playful physical activities is important for the child’s development in mind, spirit, and body; the whole child. Physical activity supports overall wellness in many ways…When children engage in and learn to enjoy being physically active, they are establishing good patterns for life" (Martin and Huggins, YMCA A Place to Connect, 2009).

Indoor Snow Painting

Even though it’s starting to warm up this week, we can still bring nature and the outdoors inside to explore. Today’s YMCA Child Care activity does just this. Put some warm clothes on, take a bucket and a shovel and head outside to collect some snow for this fun art activity. Here's what you'll need:

❄️ Eye droppers
❄️ Paintbrushes
❄️ Cups or small containers
❄️ Water
❄️ Large shallow tub
❄️ Snow
❄️ Food colouring

Directions:

  1. Before you head outside to collect your snow, make sure that all your materials on the list have been collected and you have made your snow paint. To make your snow paint, mix some water and food colouring in your cups or small containers. The more food colouring you add, the more vibrant the paint will be.
  2. Once all items have been prepared, head outside with a bucket and collect some snow! This will be your canvas, so try to find as much fresh snow as you can. Icy snow will work, but the colours won’t be as vibrant.
  3. Bring your snow inside and spread it out in the large shallow tub. Grab your paintbrushes, eye droppers and paint and start creating some wonderful artistic masterpieces.

“Learning through the arts has the potential to improve school achievement significantly. Given the importance of the arts in early development, early childhood educators can do no more valuable service for children than to preserve and value their right to be artists. Children have an affinity for creating with natural materials. Adding tools and resources will expand the possibilities for artistic creation" (Martin and Huggins, YMCA Playing to Learn, 2015).

Frozen Bubbles

Today’s YMCA Child Care activity uses the cold weather to create a cool science experiment by taking a fun summertime activity of blowing bubbles outside in the winter! Here's what you'll need:
❄️ Bubble solution — either store-bought or this homemade version: 1-part water, 4-parts dish soap and a drop of corn syrup
❄️ Bubble wand

Directions:
1.    This experiment needs to happen on a cold day that isn’t windy. The temperature should be around -20 for the bubble to freeze before it pops. 
2.    Find a calm spot and start blowing bubbles. Watch as the ice crystals start to turn the bubble into an orb of ice. 
3.    Once you are finished making some frozen bubbles head inside to warm up and research some of these questions together:
a.    What causes liquid to freeze? 
b.    Why do you get patterns (look like feathers) in your ice?
c.    What happens as the ice warms up?

“Just as children learn about mathematics through manipulation and discovery, they also learn science by manipulation, observation of the results of their manipulation, and discovery of relationships and effects. The role of experience in science is primary – science requires a child to touch, taste, feel, smell, pull, push, rotate, mix, compare and so on. Young children must construct their own understanding of science from their experiences.” (Martin and Huggins, YMCA Playing to Learn, 2015)

Yoga Mat Hopscotch

When it is a bit chilly outside, it's great to bring a popular sidewalk game indoors. Our YMCA Child Care Team is bringing you a new way to play hopscotch in your home! If you have carpet or you are worried about marking up your floors, we have a solution for you. All you will need is some masking tape or painters' tape and a yoga mat!

Mark out your hopscotch course on the yoga mat, and get ready to hop! If you have more than one yoga mat at home, then you can put them end to end to create an extra-long hopscotch course. This will also make it easy to move the course around your home!

"Ensuring children have access throughout the day to gross motor activities indoors and outdoors is critical to healthy growth and development. Equipment, both inside and out, should be available for children to choose freely whenever their bodies require these activities." (Martin and Huggins, YMCA Playing to Learn, 2015)

Winter Wonderland Walk

Grab some mugs of hot chocolate to go, get your singing voices ready and explore your neighbourhood’s light displays. Make a game out of it and turn it into a carolling session for your neighbours or a mini scavenger hunt by looking for these holiday displays:

  • A reindeer
  • A snowman
  • Santa
  • The Grinch
  • An outdoor decorated Christmas tree
  • A Christmas wreath
  • A polar bear
  • A candy cane
  • A star
  • A penguin

“Children grow in the understanding of their roles as responsible citizens as they participate daily in communities where their voices are heard and their contributions valued, and where they learn to value the contributions of others.” Makkovichuk, L. Hewes, J., Lirette, P., & Thomas, N., Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework, 2014, pg. 112

Indoor Snowball Fight

Want to bring a classic winter activity inside while moving around, working on your physical literacy skills and getting some exercise? Grab some white paper and scrunch it up into individual balls for an indoor snowball fight! Create two teams, divide up your paper balls between each team, find a large space and let the games begin. Here are some modifications that you can add to change the game:

  • Write kind words or funny jokes on the snowballs and play a game of catch the snowball. As they are being caught, take turns reading them out loud. 
  • Add an extra challenge and turn it into a big game of snowball dodge ball.

“School-age children who are active are more likely to: manage stress well; make new friends; be in a healthier weight-range; have a stronger heart, bones and muscles; enjoy greater flexibility; have optimal gross motor skills; relate positively to others; concentrate better in school; have a realistic sense of self; operate successfully in a team; approach new activities more enthusiastically; enjoy their relaxation; increase their resilience to stressors, and avoid Type 2 diabetes and premature heart disease.” (Martin and Huggins, YMCA School-Age Curriculum: A Place to Connect, 2009)

Winter Scavenger Hunt

Your YMCA Child Care Team has an activity that takes advantage of the beautiful weather that we have been having! Get your children outside and have them hunt for different winter-themed places and things. You can even hide items in your backyard in spaces that encourage your children to move their bodies in different ways to find their treasures. To get you started here is a list of winter-themed items that you can hunt for in your community!

❄️ Melting Ice
⛄ A Snowman
🎄 A Christmas Tree
🐾 Animal Tracks
✨ Holiday lights
⛸️ A Frozen Puddle
👷‍♀️ A Shovel
🌲 A Pinecone
⭐ Yellow snow
🍒 Berries
🐦 A Feather
🎩 A Hat
🧤 Mittens

"Children explore body and movement by releasing and restoring energy in outdoor places." (Makovichuk et. all, Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework, 2014, page 95)

Hammer and Nails

Help your child develop their hand and eye coordination while having fun making patterns and shapes in this YMCA Child Care activity! Here's what you'll need:
👷‍♂️ Child safe hammer
👷‍♀️ Golf tees of different colours
👷‍♂️ A thick piece of cardboard, Styrofoam or dirt

Directions:

  1. Collect materials and find a space to spread out
  2. Using the hammer and golf tees, help your child hammer shapes and patterns into one of the surfaces you have picked to use (cardboard, Styrofoam or dirt)
  3. Add some new challenges once your child has mastered this
    • Find smaller golf tees or actual nails for your child to use
    • Have them create letters and numbers to change this into a literacy activity

“As children gain greater understanding and control over objects in their world, they grow in self confidence and in their sense of well-being.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Eden and Huggins, 2001)

Circus Hoops

This activity will all you to work on your physical literacy skills of crawling, jumping, and balancing while pretending you are the main act at the circus?

Click here for this fun gross motor activity.

“Children experience a safe and nurturing environment where healthy eating, daily physical activity, and safety – indoors and out – are practiced. Learning requires that children have time, space and encouragement to practise personal care skills; to enjoy familiar and unfamiliar foods; to develop food tastes and prepare food; to move, play, and challenge their physical capacities.” (Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework, Makovichuk, Hewes, Litrette, Thomas, 2014)

Crossing the Brook

Get the whole family involved in this next YMCA Child Care activity because we're working on your jumping skills! Here's what you'll need:
- Chalk or two long skipping ropes
- A large area outside

Directions:
1.    Lay the skipping ropes down, side by side, gradually separate them away from each other. If you are using chalk, draw two lines side by side, that again gradually get further away from each other as you go down the line. This will be your brook or stream.
2.    Starting at the narrowest part of the brook, have everyone line up on one side and attempt jumping across to the other side. If you step or fall into the brook, you now have wet shoes. Move down the line together to see who can keep their shoes dry the longest. 

“Having all manner of toys and equipment to swing from, and jump, climb and balance on provides the infants, toddlers and preschoolers with the repetitive movements required for well-rounded development.” (YMCA Playing To Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Animal Walk

For our first YMCA Child Care activity, let's channel our inner animal and learn to walk as the animals do! To get you started, here are some that you and your child can do to work on different muscles and gross motor skills:
🐦 Bird: Move around with your arms outstretched flapping them up and down like bird wings. 
🐍 Snake: Down on your tummy, wiggle across the floor. 
🐻 Bear: Walk on all fours.
🐸 Frog: Use your arms and legs and hop around.
🐧 Penguin: Pin arms at your side and shuffle with your ankles close together.

Need more inspiration? Here is another set of animal movements you can do!

“Gross motor skills are those of the large muscles, and fine motor skills are those of the smaller muscles. These can be confusing categories, as most movement involves both types of muscles, but we usually think of the large muscles involving the legs and mobility. The hands and fingers are most frequently the fine motor areas thought of by ECEs, but the wrists, feet, toes, mouth, and other small muscles can also be included.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Building Obstacle Courses

Combine creative building and physical literacy skills with this activity from YMCA Child Care! You and your kids can build an awesome obstacle course inside or outdoors for your family to explore and race through.

Click here for 25 great obstacle course ideas!

Have fun and get racing!

"Having all manner of toys and equipment to swing from, and jump, climb and balance on provides the infants, toddlers and preschoolers with the repetitive movements required for well-rounded development." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Chalk Drawn Obstacle Course

Let's enjoy the last of our summer days with this classic chalk activity from our YMCA Child Care team! Using chalk, draw out an obstacle course on the pavement. The options are endless for setting up your obstacle course! You can use different lines and shapes to represent different movements too. For example, use dotted lines for skipping, swirls for spinning, or rectangles for jumping. Make it even more challenging by experimenting with spacing by making steps and movements further and bigger. You can also replace lines and shapes for letters or numbers. Jumble up the alphabet and watch the children work through the maze of letters to get from A to Z or even 1 to 50! 

"Ensuring that children have access throughout the day for gross motor activities indoors and outdoors is critical to healthy growth and development. Equipment indoors and outdoors should be available for children to choose freely whenever their bodies require these activities. When a toddler's body tells her that she needs to climb, crawl, run or jump there is no stopping her... The physical desire is strong for these activities because they are such an important developmental component and they also may be helping her to self-regulate." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Fly Swatter Painting

Have fun exploring your creative side by making a painting with your child while enjoying the great outdoors in this next YMCA Child Care activity! All you'll need is fly swatters, paper, paint and creativity. Click here to get started! 

“Through play, children invent symbols to explore relations of power, truth, and beauty as they move between the world as it is and the worlds they create…Learning to be imaginative and creative requires open and flexible environments, rich in materials and role models that reflect the cultural life of their communities – the songs, crafts, languages and artifacts” (Makovichuk, Hewes, Litrette, Thomas, Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework, 2014)

Foil Rivers

This cool YMCA Child Care activity will help your child learn about water flow, currents and water systems that cover our planet. The best part of this activity is that you don't even need a body of water near you! Here's what you'll need:
🌊 Aluminum foil
🌊 Small odds and ends from around the house that will float (plastic bottle caps are a great option)
🌊 A garden hose and faucet
🌊 A small hill or down-facing slope in the backyard

Instructions:

  1. Using the aluminum foil as your riverbed, set it up on the ground along the base of your small slope, creating edges on both sides to keep the water in and flowing down the river.
  2. Place your hose at the top of your river (slope) and turn the faucet on allowing the water to run down your river. 
  3. Using your odds and ends, observe how they float down the river. The pressure of your hose will determine how fast or slow your river flows. Change the pressure throughout the activity and have your child observe the change in river flow. 

“Children develop a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural world
-    Bringing all their sense to exploring nature
-    Taking pleasure in natural beauty
-    Connecting to and respecting the natural world”
(Makovichuk, Hewes, Litrette, Thomas, Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework, 2014)

Tree Bark Rubbing

Going outside isn’t always about running around, it can be the perfect environment for your child to relax. For this YMCA Child Care activity, all you need is white paper, crayons and trees! Bring your child outside for a walk and challenge them to see what design can come from tree bark. All they'll do is place a piece of paper against the bark of a tree and colour away! Different tree species can produce different designs, so try to find different trees and see what designs are created. For even more learning, come home and research the difference between each tree you did the crayon rubbing on! 

“Artistic endeavours have always been inspired by the outdoors and nature. Early learning educators must plan for artistic, creative pursuits outdoors with as much vigour as indoors…Providing open-ended visual art experiences for all ages allows the child to draw from nature’s inspiration in all seasons and weather.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Pool noodle boat races

Get ready to be creative with this YMCA Child Care activity because today, we're having pool noodle boat race! Here's what you'll do:
🚤 Use a marker or a yardstick to draw a line down each side of the pool noodle. To help, you can use a measuring tape to find the halfway point.
🚤 Use a utility knife to cut the noodle into equal halves. This will be your water track.
🚤 Cut a 1/2 inch piece off the bottom of the pool noodle. This will be used as your boat.
🚤 Create a flag for your boat using a toothpick and paper. 
🚤 Using water from a hose or watering can create a stream down the halved noodle and send your boats sailing away! 

Enhancing this Experience:
🚤 Experiment with using different amounts and speeds of water.
🚤 Have your child predict how the boat will move differently with different liquids.
🚤 Have a boat race using both sides of the noodle.
🚤 Use different materials around your home to make new boats and see which ones travel better in the water.
🚤 Try putting the noodle streams in different positions or elevating one end to create a ramp.
🚤 Make your tracks longer or shorter by cutting them smaller or using duct tape to tape tracks together.

"This trial and error allows for problem solving and hypothesizing. This is physics in action for a young child." (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Pool noodle water wall

Our YMCA Child Care team love to be outdoors, especially when the sun it out! Here’s a fun way to be outside and play with water while exploring the properties of water and what makes it flow. Here's what you'll need to get started:
💧 Pool Noodles
💧 Zip ties 
💧 Buckets or tubs
💧 Funnels
💧 Bottles

Directions:
1.    Using the zip ties, attach your pool noodles to an outdoor fence. To make things interesting, have the noodles cross over each other and point in different directions. 
2.    Place your buckets or tubs under the pool noodles to catch falling water.
3.    Fill up your bottles with water and, by using the funnels as a guide, pour the water down each of the pool noodles. Make a game out of it by having your children guess which pool noodle they think will have the water pouring down faster or slower! Add another element to the game by using different colours of water to see how they mix as the water falls into the buckets below. 

“It has become clear that math and science must be learned actively, and the learner must construct her own understanding of the concepts. Science is the process of observing, thinking, and reflecting on actions and events. Science is an attitude exemplified by curiosity and interest.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Colour & Shape Sidewalk Chalk Game

We love to take advantage of the sunshine when we can, especially with all the rain we've had recently. For the next sunny day, our YMCA Child Care team is bringing you this sidewalk chalk game created by Corey. While creating this activity, her goal was to work with her child and to help her move and shake as she enjoys to do. If this sounds like your toddler or preschool-aged child, click here to get started!

“All the basic mathematical operations are evident in the young child’s play outdoors, and the educator must use these natural and spontaneous experiences to scaffold math learning.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Outdoor animal game

This outdoor experience is sure to work for your children regardless of their age and development. This activity showcases how you can adapt one experience to each child’s developmental ability and challenge their skills. Follow the link to see how Nicole Franklin came up with different variations to one experience. All you need is a sidewalk or driveway and some chalk! Click here to get started.

“All domains of development are interdependent, but none more clearly than physical and brain growth. As physical development is dependent upon the central nervous system, of which the brain is the key part, we need to consider the two together. The amount of physical transformation in the first years of life is paralleled by the brain’s changes.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

make your own bird feeders

It's finally spring! What better way to celebrate than to make a bird feeder for your backyard or balcony. Our YMCA Child Care team has these simple ways to make a birdfeeder with your kids this weekend:

🐦 Using bread 
🐦 Using ice cream cones
🐦 Using pine cones (a classic)

Here are some learning opportunities when birds come:
🐦 Have a bird-watching day and point out the different birds that come to the feeder
🐦 Draw the birds that are coming to your feeder
🐦 Make a chart of how often the birds are coming
🐦 Do further research about the birds coming to your feeder

“Children develop a sense of wonder and appreciation for the natural word by connecting to and respecting the natural world.” (Flight: Alberta’s Early Learning and Care Framework, Makovichuk, Hewes, Lirette, Thomas, 2014)
outdoor scavenger hunt

Go for a walk today! If you have kids, turn it into the chance to work on some gross motor skills and have fun checking items off this scavenger hunt from our YMCA Child Care team:
🍃 A puddle to jump in
🍃 A yard or pathway with some snow still on it
🍃 A Canada goose
🍃 A robin
🍃 Feathers
🍃 Twigs
🍃 Leaves
🍃 Stones
🍃 A tree or plant with some buds on it

Find an open space and:
🍃 Throw or kick a ball 10 times
🍃 Do 20 jumping jacks
🍃 Do 15 knee bends
🍃 Run on the spot for 30 seconds

Want to make it an extra long adventure? Add your own items or activities to this scavenger hunt based on what's in your community.

“Ensuring that children have access throughout the day to gross motor activities indoors and outdoors is critical to healthy growth and development.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Painters Tape Activities

This gross motor skill development activity from YMCA Child Care is super simple! All you need is painters tape and an open space in your home.

  1. Tape a straight line onto the floor and have your child do the following movements:
    🔹 Walk forwards balancing on the piece of tape — then repeat walking backwards and sideways
    🔹 Balance on the tape on your tippy toes
    🔹 Move down the tape by jumping from one side to the other as you go
    🔹 Move down the tape by doing a squat and putting a sticker on the tape each time

  2.  Make a ladder on the floor with tape and have your child jump to different rungs.

  3. Create a square on the floor or wall and have your child throw bean bags (or balled up socks!) into the square from a couple feet away. Increase the distance as you need!

  4. Create a maze and have your child kick a soft ball through the maze from start to finish.

  5. Create an indoor hopscotch game!

“ Children experience a safe and nurturing environment where healthy eating, daily physical activity, and safety – indoors and out are practiced. Learning requires that children have time, space and encouragement...to move, play and challenge their physical capacities." (Flight: Alberta's Early Learning and Care Framework, Makovichuk, Hewes, Litrette, Thomas, 2014)

physical activity dice

Get your kids active with this tip from YMCA Child Care: it's physical activity dice! Together you can come up with a list of different movements and roll the dice for each movement to determine how many times you need to do each one. Here's a sample list of movements for children that will enhance their physical literacy:

🏃‍♀️ Jumping jacks
🏃‍♀️ Toe touches
🏃‍♀️ Stomps
🏃‍♀️ Spins
🏃‍♀️ Knee bends (squats)
🏃‍♀️ One leg balances
🏃‍♀️ Sit-ups
🏃‍♀️ Hop
🏃‍♀️ Gallop
🏃‍♀️ Skipping
🏃‍♀️ Running on the spot

Some tips:
🏃‍♀️ Have children invent their own movements to do
🏃‍♀️ Create your own dice out of cardboard so they can enhance their throwing skills while throwing the dice
🏃‍♀️ Make a "workout playlist" with your children
🏃‍♀️ Make a video of the workout so your kids can watch it later
🏃‍♀️ Do this activity outside as much as possible

“All domains of development are interdependent, but none more clearly than physical and brain growth. As physical development is dependant upon the central nervous system, of which the brain is the key part, we need to consider the two together. The amount of physical transformation in the first years of life is paralleled by the brain’s changes.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Rock Balancing

Rock balancing or stone sculptures are also known as stone cairns and date back to ancient times. These cairns, from the Gaelic term meaning heaps of stones, have been used by numerous cultures for many different reasons. Many people today use it as a very soothing, calming activity. Incorporating these cairns into an outdoor classroom activity will not only allow children to learn about stacking properties but also create a piece of artwork in the outdoors. Our YMCA Child Care team recommends researching cairns together online and then head outdoors to a local water feature (riverbank, pond or creek). Look for smooth river stones and collect a variety of sizes and shapes. Either bring these rocks home with you and add a beautiful stone sculpture to your yard or build one beside the pond, creek or riverbank for others to enjoy.

“Here are some of the advantages of outdoor play spaces over indoor ones:
☯️ A way to connect with nature – hearing the birds sing and the leaves rustle, seeing a spider web glistening with early morning dew, having time for stillness and connection, smelling the clean freshness of soil after a spring rain.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Sidewalk Paint

Have an artistic weekend making your own sidewalk paint with this afternoon's YMCA Child Care activity! It's simple to make and uses items you probably have at home. Click here for directions.

Older children can use paint brushes and sponges and younger children can experience the texture of the paint using their hands. Your painted sidewalk can spread joy to your neighbours — why not leave them an uplifting message while you're at it?

“There are many benefits to fostering visual arts in young children. Growth in the visual arts reflects the development of symbolic thinking. It also offers a prelude to the mastery of physical coordination, as well as a number of other cognitive areas important to achievement in school.” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

snow play

At a time when we could all use an early spring, winter just seems to keep marching on out there. Don't be discouraged! Our YMCA Child Care team has some fun ideas using snow to spark your child's creativity:

❄️ Snow Castle Building — Collect some snow in a large plastic tub and bring it inside. Add shovels, buckets, little containers and utensils, and have a castle building competition till it melts!
❄️ Snow Painting — Fill spray bottles with water and add a few drops of food colouring. Bundle up, head outside, and make art in your backyard on your fresh canvas of snow.
❄️ Snow Forts — This one's a classic. Bundle up, grab some shovels and work together on the ultimate snow fort in your yard.

"Creative play is like a spring that bubbles from deep within a child." – Joan Almon (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015)

Sticky Spider Web Toss

Our YMCA Child Care team is bringing you some bug related fun while practicing your physical literacy skill of throwing in today's sticky spider web toss activity.

Materials:
🕷️ Tape
🕷️ Newspaper

Directions:
🕷️ Find a large space outdoors where you are able to attach tape to a fence, the side of a building and other larger permanent objects to create a large spider web.
🕷️ Take your roll of tape and create a sticky spider web.
🕷️ Roll up the pieces of newspaper into balls (these will become your bugs).
🕷️ Once your spider web is created and is safely attached to some permanent objects, and your bugs are ready, start throwing them at your spider web. Have a friendly competition to see who can get the most bugs attached to the spider web. A variation of this is to place the spider web on the ground using a hula hoop as the outside edges for the tape. Have your child stand a specific distance away from the spider web, throwing their bugs underhand to see how many they can get to land on the spider web. As they get more confident with this, move them further away from the spider web.

“Regular physical activity and movement enhances fitness, fosters growth and development, and helps teach children about their bodies and world, with enormous benefits for children’s bodies and minds – Child Care Canada CRRU” (YMCA Playing to Learn, Martin and Huggins, 2015).