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June is Recreation and Parks Month

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June is Recreation and Parks Month LogoEach June, the Community Services Department celebrates "June is Recreation and Parks Month" by travelling to parks each Wednesday to provide fun games and fitness activities to help you stay active. This year, we're going virtual. Check out the activities below for ways to celebrate!

Find more exciting ways to celebrate on the Parks and Recreation Ontario website.

International Trails Day – Saturday, June 6

The first Saturday in June is International Trails Day. Get outside and enjoy nature in Clarington as you go for a walk, run or cycle through our trails. Clarington has over 21 km of off-road recreational trails made of asphalt and limestone surfaces. Most of our trails are located in creek valleys and along the waterfront. Non-municipal trails in Clarington are located at the Long Sault, Westside Marshes and Enniskillen Conservation Areas, as well as the Orono Crown Lands, the Ganaraska Forest, and along the Oak Ridges Moraine.

National Health and Fitness Day – Saturday, June 6

Every year in Canada, the first Saturday in June is National Health and Fitness Day. In 2019, Statistics Canada reported that only 40 per cent of children aged 5 to 17 and 16 per cent of adults aged 18 to 79 meet the recommended physical activity targets.

For children and youth, the recommended physical activity target is a daily average of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Adults should aim to complete 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week.

To inspire Canadians to be more active, the Canadian government passed the National Fitness Act in 2014. Since then, communities across the country use this day to promote the use of local recreation facilities and opportunities for individuals and families to get active.

Check out the various ways you can celebrate while social distancing:

  • Download the Participaction App and start tracking your physical activity. Encourage friends and family to do the same for a bit of friendly competition. The app is full of motivational content and you can even win prizes for meeting your goals.
  • Take a class online with the YMCA, YThrive or YMCA360.
  • Enjoy a walk around your neighbourhood or one of Clarington’s trails.
  • Find a comfortable, quiet place to try a guided meditation.  
  • Try journaling to strengthen mental health and reduce stress.
  • Cook up a healthy meal with your family.
  • Pick a fun activity the little ones in your family will enjoy.

StretchingDisclaimer:
Make sure you allow time enough time for a proper warm-up and cool-down. If you are new to exercising or getting back to it after some downtime, it’s best to check in with your doctor first. Use this online self-assessment tool to determine if it is necessary for you to seek further advice before becoming physically active.

Recreation activities

Kids obstacle course

Build your own kid-friendly obstacle course using some of the ideas provided below. You can make adjustments depending on the age group by making it easier for younger children or more challenging for older kids. If you want to make it more fun, see who can complete the course the fastest using a timer or stopwatch.

Obstacle course ideas

  • Place hula hoops across the grass as a challenge for your child(ren) to jump through, landing in each hula hoop.
  • Hula hoop for a certain amount of time (eg. 15 seconds) without letting the hoop drop to the ground.
  • Lay out rings or any flat object on the ground, and while balancing on one foot, try to pick one or more up off the ground.
  • Holding a hula hoop with both hands, skip through it 10 times.
  • Ring toss with small rings or hula hoops and cones.
  • Toss or kick a ball into a net or target.
  • Ball toss or bean bag toss into a bucket or box.
  • Set out cones or any “marker” on the grass as a path for your child(ren) to run through.
  • Using a long rope, lay it out in a curvy shape and have your child(ren) balance while walking along the rope.
  • Complete 10 or more jumping jacks.
  • Crab walk from one station to the next.
  • Jump rope relay, jump rope as a station or jump rope from one station to the next.
Sidewalk chalk games

Hopscotch

This game can be played alone or with a group of people from your household. It requires balance by hopping on one foot and also involves strength, hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness.

Supplies

Sidewalk chalk
Stone or bean bag

Instructions

  1. Draw out a traditional hopscotch pattern (1 to 10) in your driveway or on the sidewalk using sidewalk chalk. *To make it more challenging, add on additional squares.
  2. Using a small stone or bean bag, toss it into the first square. If playing with more than one player, remember that if you toss the marker and it lands on the line or outside the square, you must skip your turn.
  3. Begin jumping through, making sure to skip the square that your stone is sitting in.
  4. When you reach number 10, turn around and head back in the opposite direction, picking up your stone or bean bag along the way.
  5. Pass the marker onto the next person or repeat steps, each time tossing your marker into the next square.

ChalkPreschool sidewalk chalk activity

This is a different spin on a hopscotch game. Like hopscotch, it involves balance and spatial awareness. Your preschooler will be able to practice their colours and shapes while being outside and staying active.

Supplies

Sidewalk chalk

Instructions

  1. Map out a large grid of shapes (circles, squares, triangles) using different coloured sidewalk chalk in your driveway or on the sidewalk. You can make this grid as big or as small as you want, but keep in mind that your child(ren) will need to make it from one end of the grid to the other. You'll need to be strategic and place like shapes and colours close enough so they can easily jump to it.  
  2. Draw a start and finish line, leaving an open spot at the beginning of the grid and another open spot at the end of the grid diagonal to one another.
  3. Once you've finished setting up the grid, you're ready to play!
  4. Have your child start at the starting line as you call out various shapes and colours, allowing them to jump from one shape or colour to the next that match what you are calling out.
Sensory scavenger hunt

Child on a walkWhile out for a walk or playing in your backyard, look around and see what objects you can find in nature. This activity encourages your child(ren) to explore and use some of their senses such as touch, smell, sight and sound.

Different objects can include tree bark, rocks, leaves, flowers, feathers, pine cones, sticks or twigs, sand, soil, and more.

View Sensory scavenger hunt (PDF)

Scavenger hunt ideas

  1. Find a flower that smells good
  2. Find something that is round
  3. Find three different kinds of leaves or leaves with different colours
  4. Find something tiny
  5. Find something with white on it
  6. Find three different coloured rocks
  7. Find a long stick
  8. Look for a squirrel
  9. Listen for a bird chirping
  10. Can you spot a bug?

Touch

  1. Did you find something that's bumpy or smooth?
  2. Did you find something that's soft or hard?

Smell

  1. Did you find something that smells good?
  2. Did you find something with no smell?

Sight

  1. Did you see any animals?
  2. Did you find three different colours? If so, what colours did you find?

Sound

  1. Did you hear any birds singing or chirping?
  2. Did you hear any other sounds while exploring? If so, what did you hear?
Bubble art

Create a colourful bubble art masterpiece outside using the supplies listed below. Dress for the mess as the food colouring will stain.

Supplies
Bubbles
Bubble wands
White card stock
Food colouring

Instructions

  1. Pour bubble mix into small bowls.
  2. Add different food colouring to each bowl.
  3. Using a bubble wand, start blowing bubbles towards your white card stock and popping them to create your own bubble art masterpiece.
Stained glass sidewalk chalk art

Get creative and make your own stained glass sidewalk chalk art using sidewalk chalk and painter's tape.

Supplies
Painter's tape
Sidewalk chalk

Instructions

  1. Create a simple stained glass pattern in your driveway or on the sidewalk using painter's tape.
  2. Once you have your desired look, start colouring in the areas using different coloured sidewalk chalk leaving the painter's tape on.
  3. Once you have finished filling everything in, remove the painter's tape. You should be left with a beautiful stained glass “window” effect.

Fitness activities

Roll of the Dice fitness game

For this game, you will need a set of dice. Create a list (or use the samples provided below) that ties a fitness activity to each potential outcome of a roll – numbers 2 to 12. With each roll of the dice, complete the exercise or stretch assigned to that number.

For younger children, these can include jumping jacks, toe touches, or frog jumps. For older children and adults, add in push-ups and burpees. Older adults or those new to exercise can complete low impact exercises. Assign the number of reps or length of time for each exercise based on your fitness abilities, remembering to listen to your body and work within your comfort zone. Don’t forget to warm-up first and cool-down after!

Younger kids
2 - Bear crawl
3 - Crab walk
4 - Star jumps
5 - Slither like a snake
6 - March on the spot
7 - Arm circles
8 - Gallop like a horse
9 - Tuck jumps
10 - Frog jumps
11 - Plank
12 - Toe touches

Older kids and adults
2 - Jumping jacks
3 - Crunches
4 - Squats
5 - Push-ups
6 - Lunges
7 - Plank
8 - Inchworms
9 - Burpees
10 - V-sit
11 - Russian twists
12 - Bicycle crunches

Modified low impact or older adults
2 - March on the spot
3 - Box step
4 - Arm circles
5 - Calf raises
6 - Chair squats
7 - Wall push-ups
8 - Single foot stand
9 - Shoulder rolls
10 - Forward leg swings
11 - Side leg lifts
12 - Side reach

Tip: make it sport-specific by adding in catching, throwing or dribbling movements. Add in pirouettes or handstands for dancers and gymnasts.

Simon Says – fitness edition

Many popular children's games can be turned into fitness activities – for kids and the young at heart. The classic game, Simon Says, has been played for generations and can easily be used to incorporate cardio, strength and stretching into your day. Take turns being “Simon” and lead your family through a series of fun movements. Turn up the difficulty level for more advanced participants, keep it simple and silly for young kids, and low impact for those just starting on their fitness journeys or for older adults.

Here are some movement suggestions for different age groups:

Younger kids

  • Hop like a frog
  • Jump up and down
  • Hold your arms out and make circles in the air
  • Hop on your right foot 10 times
  • Walk like a bear on all fours
  • Shimmy and shake your whole body
  • Walk like a crab
  • Touch your toes 10 times
  • Hop like a bunny
  • Balance on your left foot for 10 seconds

Older kids and adults:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Crunches
  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Lunges
  • Plank
  • Inchworms
  • Burpees
  • V-sit
  • Russian Twists
  • Bicycle crunches

Modified low impact or older adults:

  • March on the spot
  • Box step
  • Arm circles
  • Calf raises
  • Chair squats
  • Wall push-ups
  • Single foot stand
  • Shoulder rolls
  • Forward leg swings
  • Side leg lifts
  • Side reach stretch

Tip: turn on some upbeat tunes and let "Simon Says" become a fun dance party!

Fitness obstacle course

You don’t need any fancy gym equipment to create a fun fitness obstacle course for yourself or your family. Get creative with items you already have.

Your obstacle course can be as simple as marking out a variety of stations throughout the house or yard. Use items such as plastic cups, kid’s toys or planters to mark each exercise station. Pick a travelling exercise to get from station to station and a stationary exercise for each stop. Some ideas are listed below:

Travelling exercises

  • Walking lunges
  • Bear crawl
  • Crab walk
  • Knee highs
  • Frog jumps
  • Side shuffle
  • Skipping
  • Power skips
  • Side squat walk

Stationary exercises:

  • Jumping jacks
  • Push-ups
  • Plank
  • Crunches or Curl-ups
  • Inchworms
  • Squats
  • Mountain climbers
  • Wall-sit

Fun obstacle course add-on ideas:

  • Using two chairs and a broomstick, create an obstacle kids can crawl under or jump over.
  • Lay out a rope for kids to balance-walk across.
  • Place a stuffed animal at each station for your child to act out the animal movement and sound.
  • Use a ball for dribbling skills and ball control practice.
  • If you have your winter tires laying around, older kids can use them for tire flips in the yard or driveway.
  • Use old cardboard boxes for kids to crawl through.
  • Sidewalk chalk is a great way to mark an obstacle course on the driveway.
  • Use bean bags or small stuffed animals and toss them into a bucket or laundry bin.
  • Travel between two stations with an egg on a spoon.
  • Use two buckets (one filled with water, one empty) and have your child use a sponge to run back and forth, transferring the water from one bucket to the other.

Tip: use a stopwatch or create two side by side courses to create a little bit of friendly competition.

Walk/run with strength intervals

Head out on a walk, jog or run by yourself or with other members of your household and allow fate to determine the exercises you will need to complete! Adjust the exercises below and assign the number of repetitions based on the ability levels of participants.

A bird crosses your path: Jumping jacks

Someone says hello: Walking lunges

You see a dog: Knee highs or marching steps

A squirrel runs across the sidewalk or road: Squats

A red car drives by: Butt kickers

A puddle is in your way: Frog jumps

You hear a car honk: Sprint!

You see a rabbit: Squat jumps

You hear kids playing: Side shuffle

You see a worm on your path: Inchworms

You hear a lawnmower: Tuck jumps

A white car drives by: Skater lunges

You see someone on a bike: Toe touches

Looking for something a little more relaxing? Try a wind-walk! Go for a walk, allowing the direction of the wind to determine your direction of travel. Pause when you arrive in a peaceful area – perhaps a nice garden or treed space. What creatures live here? Close your eyes – what sounds do you hear? What can you smell? Listen to the birds sing or feel the warmth of the sun on your face.

Fitness videos

Family fitnessYMCA Virtual Gym Class

Fitness Classes

Explore parks

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