Tag Archives: play

Elves at Play

Are you feeling the crunch as the Holiday Season approaches?

Take some time to relax this December and let YMCA instructors care for your children while you do some stress-free festive shopping or have a little quiet time to yourself.

This exciting event called Elves at Play is being hosted by the Saddletowne, Crowfoot, Shawnessy and Eau Claire YMCAs on Saturday, December 13 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Children taking part in Elves at Play will be entertained with crafts, games, swimming and more, all within your local YMCA.  All activities will be appropriate for children aged 3-12.

Registration for this fun filled event is only $25 for members and $35 for non-members.  Please contact your local branch to register today.  We’ll see you then!

christmas child_7334158

It’s Our Right to Play!

November 20 is National Child Day.

This day is a celebration of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Canada and countries around the world celebrate this day as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to ensure children’s rights are observed.

You can read about the rights of all children here. This treaty is the most comprehensive treaty in support of children and was signed and ratified by more nations than any other human rights document in history.

This year, our National Child Day theme is “It’s Our Right to Play!” It is based on Article 31 of the Convention, which says “Children have the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of cultural, artistic and other recreational activities.”

Play is an integral part of childhood. It is how children learn, develop, and grow.

At YMCA Calgary, we will be celebrating National Child Day in the following ways:

  • Lots of play! Games, colouring and crafts, sports, and more.
  • Staff and volunteers in children’s programming will wear blue to show support for the rights of children.
  • In November, our social media feeds (Twitter and Facebook) will share quotes, information, and tips about the importance of play and how to play.

To learn more about National Child Day and the other activities happening in and around Calgary, check out www.nationalchildday.ca.

Let us know what fun things your family is doing to celebrate National Child Day and the child’s right to play by tweeting us a note or photo with the hashtags #YYCPlay and #NCDAlberta!

Movies Can Inspire Movement

Children smiling

Have you seen the new Disney animated movie Frozen? I loved it! And when I saw Active For Life’s blog post on it I was so excited I had to share.

Their blog post, titled “7 ways ‘Frozen’ can inspire kids to move” gives a collection of ways that you can play with your kids while talking about their new favourite movie.

The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo can inspire swimming.

Beauty and the Beast can inspire dancing.

Toy Story can inspire imagination and games like hide and seek.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas can inspire sledding.

The Incredibles can inspire running and jumping.

Ratatouille can inspire help preparing meals.

Cars and Cars 2 can inspire running and pretending to be like race cars.

Dora the Explorer can inspire hiking through the neighbourhood or the nearest park.

What are your kids’ favourite movies? How can you use them to inspire movement, imagination and play?


How to Stay Active at Home When It’s Too Cold to Go Outside

mother son reading

Kids have energy. Sometimes that energy seems to be too much for indoors, but the weather outside is just too cold and snowy to spend more than a few minutes outside.

So what do you do?

I’ve done some research and asked some friends with kids for their ideas.

1. Blow up a balloon and try to keep it off the floor

2. Play Hide and Seek

3. Active Reading – choose an often repeated word in a book and read out loud, any time the chosen word is said you have to stand up or sit down

4. Play charades – pick a category of animals or jobs or even people you know

5. Play Freeze Frame – play music and dance or move around until the music stops then everyone has to stay still until mom or dad turns the music back on

6. Spell words by making letters with only your body

7. Build an obstacle course of pillows, chairs, tape and string

8. Play follow the leader

And two mommy favourites are:

9.    Do yoga or an exercise video together in the living room

10.  Make cleaning into a game

Challenge Yourself with Capoeira

Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art that will challenge you both physically and mentally.

In a ‘game’ of Capoeira, two opponents ‘play’ in a circle or roda (pronounced hoda) and try to ‘outsmart’ the other with kicks, blocks, evasions, handstands, cartwheels, hooks/trips, etc to the rhythm of the berimbau – a unique Brazilian instrument.

Capoeira can be modified through skill progressions for beginners, intermediate players and those who are more advanced. It is great for people who want to try something new & exciting to improve their strength, agility, balance & coordination in a unique and fun class that helps to build camaraderie through friendly competition.

At Saddletowne YMCA we offer the following classes on Tuesday evenings:

Youth Capoeira (6-11 years)
Beginning January 7
Tuesdays 6:15-7:15pm
Barcode: 86253
M$88 NM$132 (11 classes x 60 minutes)

Adult Capoeira (12+ years)
Beginning January 7
Tuesdays 7:30-8:45pm
Barcode: 86243
M$110 NM$165 (11 classes x 75 minutes)

Soccer at the YMCA!

Did you know that soccer is played by 250 million people in over 200 countries? This makes it the most popular sport in the world!


On Saturday March 23, 2013 YMCA Calgary is hosting Play It Forward, our first ever soccer marathon!

This on-going 4-hour soccer game is a great event for the whole family.  Sign up for a one hour shift to kick a ball around, get a decent workout, and raise funds for a great cause.  Pledges raised can support our Strong Kids Campaign or go towards our wonderful partnerships in Bogota, Colombia, or Ukraine.

Registration is $30 for adults or $15 for youth 18 and under.  This fee will be reimbursed on event day to participants who raise a minimum of $100 in pledges. All pledges must be submitted on event day.

Challenge friends or co-workers, or even come with the whole family!

Register at any branch or over the phone. For more information or to download the pledge package (after registration) see below:

Play it Forward Pledge Package

Call to register – SPOTS ARE LIMITED!

Crowfoot: 403-547-6576

Eau Claire: 403-269-6701

Saddletowne: 403-237-2393

Shawnessy: 403-256-5533

South Health Campus YMCA: 403-956-3900

Homemade Playsets

Have you checked out the Homemade Rainbows website yet? This website contains loads of great playsets put together by a couple of stay-at-home mums who used to teach kindergarden together.

The website explains itself in one sentence:

“Providing imaginative play sets that inspire play and promote children’s natural sense of wonder…using mostly recycled, repurposed and homemade (by us!) materials…”

What fun! Check out Homemade Rainbows for some inspiration and fun with your kids!


Santa on the Way!

Wondering if Santa is en route to your house? Eager kids asking over and over, “Where’s Santa now?”

Well, friends at NORAD help out with an online Santa Tracker in multiple languages. The NORAD website includes other fun Christmas inspired information and activities, like answering the question, “Is Santa real?” This includes a feature to let you listen to Virginia’s famous letter!

Check out the online village that lets you trek through an online interactive Christmas village with lots of fun activities for all levels.

Santa is on the way!