Rec Enroll at home

Woman working out at home with an online fitness program.

Each June, the City celebrates Recreation and Parks Month—an opportunity to recognize the many benefits of parks and recreation, and to encourage Guelph residents to get out and be active in our community. This year, our celebration looks a little different as we continue to navigate COVID-19.

With recreation facilities still closed, we’re taking our programming online—sharing with you our favourite activities that can be done at home or in your backyard. Activities include fitness, arts and crafts, healthy recipes, brain games, and water safety tips and are posted on this page each week.

Let’s challenge each other to put the “create” back in recreation, virtually, and make the world a brighter place. And be sure to tag us in your at-home and park adventures on Twitter and Facebook and use the hashtag #JRPM2020.

Beach Theme Day

Textured Beach Art

textured beach art

What you will need

  • printer paper
  • coloured crayons or pencils
  • cardboard
  • sidewalk/driveway
  • large coin


  1. Create a beach scene using different colours and different textures. For example, use the colour yellow to create beach sand by putting the paper down on the driveway and colouring. This creates a textured look on the paper.
  2. Create waves with cardboard and the sun with the large coin.

Paper Roll Palm Tree

What you will need

  • coloured paper
  • paper rolls
  • scissors
  • tape


  1. Cut the paper rolls to the desired height.
  2. Use scissors to cut the coloured paper (green if available) into 6-8 giant leaves.
  3. Use the scissors to cut slits around the edges of each leaf, then fold each leaf in half to give them texture.
  4. Unfold the leaves and tape each point together to create a tree like shape.
  5. Tape the leaves onto the paper roll.
paper roll palm trees

Games to play


If you have a sandbox, build sandcastles with buckets or containers. Alternatively, you can make sandcastles out of cereal boxes, paper rolls and construction paper!

Musical Beach Towels

Follow the rules of musical chairs, but replace the chairs with beach towels and use one of your favourite beach songs, like “Under the Sea.”

sandcastle and palm trees

Bean Bag Ladder Toss

What you’ll need

  • Ladder
  • Three pieces of 8.5 by 11-inch paper (or use whatever you have around the house)
  • Scissors
  • Markers/pen/crayons
  • Tape
  • Bean bags or alternative (if you don’t have bean bags, you can use rolled up socks or mitts instead)


  1. Place opened ladder in a flat spot (away from anything breakable)
  2. Cut each piece of paper in half
  3. Draw numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc. on separate pieces of paper with markers, crayons, pens or any writing utensils you have at home
  4. Cut any excess paper on the sides
  5. Tape paper to each ladder step (10 on the bottom and work your way up) making sure to leave enough room for the opening.
  6. Step back and toss your bean bags/rolled up socks/mitts into the ladder
  7. Can be played individually,
step ladder with numbered steps

Brain Games: Memory and Attention Challenge

  1. Name two objects for every letter in your first name.
  2. Say and write the months of the year in alphabetical order.
  3. Name six or more things you can wear on your head beginning with the letter “h”.
  4. Look around you and within two minutes try to find five red objects that will fit in your pockets and five blue objects that are too big to fit.

For example: Hi! My Name is TONIE and I am the recreation coordinator for Seniors Services at the City of Guelph. Here are two objects for every letter in my name:

T: tree and tiger
O: owl and oatmeal
N: necklace and net
I: igloo and insect
E: elephant and envelope

And here are five red objects that will fit in my pocket:

  1. hand sanitizer
  2. Tylenol bottle
  3. carabiner
  4. box of staples
  5. lollipop

five red things

Brain Yoga

All that is needed is your body and concentration! Brain Yoga involves simple mind tasks that you carry out with your body. Brain Yoga helps boost focus, concentration, and memory, while improving hand-eye coordination and motor skills.

Beginner Brain Yoga activity

  1. Make a fist with your left hand and then raising your thumb.
  2. Holding this, make a fist with your right hand but extend your pinkie finger.
  3. Now switch them over.

Intermediate Brain Yoga activity

  1. Sitting on a chair with your feet flat on the ground, lift your right arm straight up, pressing your right shoulder to your right ear.
  2. Lift your left foot slightly off the ground, touching only your heel to the ground.
  3. Now alternate arms and feet—lift your left arm straight up, pressing your left shoulder to your left ear, put your left foot back on the ground, and lift your right foot, touching only your heel to the ground.
  4. Repeat this alternating motion 10-15 times. Remember to take deep breaths with every movement. It gets easier as you go.

Advanced Brain Yoga activity

  1. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
  2. Keeping your thumb in front and your index finger behind, hold your right earlobe with your left hand.
  3. Keeping your thumb in front and your index finger behind, hold your left earlobe with your right hand.
  4. Taking a deep breath in, bend your knees and move your body into a squat position. Exhale and rise back up.
  5. Repeat your squats 10-15 times, remembering to keep your back straight and your tongue on the roof of your mouth.

Drum and Jump

Edible Jello Playdough

What you will need

  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup Jello mix (sugar free is less sticky and easier to work with)
  • Water
  • Medium bowl
  • Fork or whisk


  1. In a medium bowl, add corn starch and Jello mixture.
  2. Mix together with a fork or whisk.
  3. Add in 2-3 tablespoons of water at a time, mixing until dry ingredients become a thick paste.
  4. Continue adding water until the mixture stop sticking to the bowl.
  5. Once the playdough has formed, remove from the bowl, knead with your hands.
  6. If the dough is crumbling add small amounts of water.
  7. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge.
ingredients on table
ingredients in bowl

Eye Spy Bag

What you will need

  • Ziploc bag
  • Rice
  • Small objects from around the house (e.g. buttons, coin, Nerf bullet, key, rock, rubber snake, etc.)


  1. Place 1-2 cups of rice in the Ziploc bag.
  2. Place all the objects you found in the bag, then make sure it is sealed.
  3. Write a list of all the objects you need to find.
  4. Share with a parent or family member to see what they can find.


Green Smoothie

Yields: 32 ounces and serves 2 Total time: 5-10 minutes


  • 2 cups leafy greens of your choice:
    • spinach
    • kale
    • romaine
    • swiss chard
  • 2 cups liquid base of your choice:
    • water
    • coconut water
    • coconut milk
    • almond milk
  • 3 cups of fresh or frozen fruit of your choice:
    • mango
    • pineapple
    • avocado
    • banana
    • berries
    • peach
    • grape
    • apple
    • pear
    • orange
  • Boost it (optional):
    • chia seeds
    • coconut oil
    • peanut or almond butter
    • hemp seeds
    • flax seeds


  1. Blend leafy greens and liquid base together first.
  2. Add fruits and blend again.
  3. Make sure at least one of your fruit choices is frozen to chill smoothie.
  4. If you choose to add a boost—add that in and blend once more.
  5. If your smoothie is too thick, try adding ¼ cup more of your liquid base.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

green smoothie in glass with a straw

Lava Lamp

What you will need

  • A tall glass jar or empty water bottle (no lid)
  • Small cup
  • Few drops of food colouring
  • 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Water
  • Oil (vegetable or any cooking oil is good)


  1. In the tall jar, add 3 tablespoons of baking soda
  2. fill ¾ of the way with oil, do not mix
  3. In the small cup, mix some vinegar and a few drops of food colouring
  4. Add drops of the coloured vinegar to the jar with baking soda and oil
  5. Watch the reaction!
  6. Try doing it this experiment in a dark room and use a flashlight to see it glow!
lava lamp 1
lava lamp 2

Microwaveable Heating Bag

Items needed to make the heating bag
Flax seed and rice being added to the bag
The completed bag

What you will need

  • fabric
  • thread
  • pins
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • sewing machine or needle
  • long grain rice
  • flax seed


  1. Cut your fabric to desired length. The fabric shown is a 30 centimetre by 40 centimetre section of polar fleece (this material came from an old scarf no longer being used). This size is ideal for wrapping around your neck.
  2. Pin your fabric with right sides together.
  3. Sew a one (1) centimetre border around your bag, leaving a six (6) centimetre opening to be able to turn your fabric right side out and fill.
  4. Turn your bag right side out using your six (6) centimetre opening that you left when sewing.
  5. Using a spoon (or a make-shift funnel made out of parchment paper), fill your bag with half flax seed and half rice to desired thickness. This combination of rice and flax holds heat well.
  6. To close your opening, you can either use a slip stitch if you don’t want the stitches to show, or use a zig zag stitch with your machine for ease.
  7. Finish! Heat your new bag in the microwave for no more than three (3) minutes at a time. Enjoy!


Bags are not machine washable and can burn if heated for more than three (3) minutes at a time.

Milk Chocolate Bread Pudding


  • 4 cups bread cubed (stale or old bread works great)
  • 1 ½ cups milk chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups 35% cream
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground Star Anise
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter for coating the pan


  • 2 medium stainless steel bowls
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Loaf pan
  • Cooking vessel large enough to fit your loaf pan in while cooking


  1. Place the chopped bread and chocolate into a medium bowl.
  2. In a second medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 ½ cups of cream, 2 tablespoons of sugar, ground star anise, vanilla and salt. Mix well.
  3. Pour 1/2 of the custard mixture into the bowl with the bread and chocolate. Gently stir the mixture to incorporate.
  4. Butter the baking pan (shown in video is a loaf pan), dust with some white sugar and spoon the prepared bread mixture into the loaf pan, spreading it evenly.
  5. Pour the remaining cream mixture into the loaf pan, sprinkle with more chocolate and sugar.
  6. Place the larger pan in the preheated oven, and then place the loaf pan with the pudding in the larger pan.
  7. Fill the larger pan with hot water (from a kettle is best) until the water is halfway up the loaf pan.
  8. This process is referred to as a water bath and is used to maintain consistent heat around the pudding.
  9. Bake at 350ºF / 177ºC for 20-30 minutes or until the pudding is jiggly (Jello like) and the top is browning.
  10. Remove pudding from water bath and let cool until ready to eat.

Excellent with ice cream and/or fresh berries

No-bake Energy Bites

Yield: 20 Energy bites
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chill time: 1-2 hours


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or nut butter alternative
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or vegan chocolate chips). Images show standard-sized semisweet chips, but mini semisweet chips mix in easier. You can also swap for vegan chocolate chips, dried cranberries, raisins or nuts of your choice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Stir all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
  2. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, lid or alternative cover and chill in the refrigerator for one to two hours, or until the mixture is chilled.
  3. Roll mixture into one inch balls and place in container or on a dish.
  4. Then enjoy immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.

If you have trouble getting the energy balls to hold together, add more peanut butter to make the mixture a bit stickier. You can also press the mixture into a square baking dish to make energy bars instead of round energy balls.

Ingredients in mixing bowl, ready to be stirred
Ingredients stirred together
Ingredients rolled into balls
No Bake Energy Bites in covered container

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

What you will need

  • Paper
  • Markers, crayons or coloured pencils


  1. This scavenger hunt can be done anywhere, in your backyard, at the park, or on a trail.
  2. How many items can you spot on the list below?
  3. Once you find each item use your paper and pencils to draw what you found.
  4. At the end of your scavenger hunt you’ll have a beautiful drawing of the outdoors.

Outdoor scavenger hunt

  • 2 flowers
  • 3 leaves
  • 1 flowerpot
  • 1 cloud
  • 2 twigs
  • 1 bug
  • 2 stones
  • 1 worm
  • 1 bird
  • 2 trees
  • 1 puddle

coloured pencils and sketches on a sheet of paper

Oven Baked Cup Art

What you will need

  • Ceramic mugs or glass cups you want to paint
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Multi surface acrylic paint
  • Paint brushes or Q-tips
  • Paint tray or paper plate
  • Cup of water
  • Paper towel
  • Cardboard or table cloth to keep your space clean
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Oven


  1. Thoroughly clean your glasses with rubbing alcohol to make sure the paint sticks.
  2. Use the paint brushes or cotton swabs to create your design.
  3. Let the finished cups dry for 1-2 hours, and then flip them over on the sheet pan.
  4. Place in a cold oven, then heat and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes to set the paint.
  5. Turn off the heat and allow the glasses to cool in the oven for an hour before handling.
  6. Although the painted cups are ready for wear and tear, they will last longer when gently hand washed and air dried.


2 glasses, a mug, paint, paintbrush and paper plate
painted cups

Overcoming Adversity

Pom Pom Bookmarks

What you will need

  • Yarn
  • Scissors
  • Paper clips


  1. Wrap your yarn around three of your fingers 50 times.
  2. With a pre-cut piece of yarn, tie the centre tightly.
  3. Cut the end loops with your scissors.
  4. Trim the pom pom into a sphere.
  5. Attach your paperclip by looping it through the centre of the pom pom.
  6. You’re ready for your next book!
wrapping yarn around hand to make pom pom
uncut pom pom
cutting yarn to form pom pom
pom pom used as bookmark in Guelph Community Guide

Sidewalk Puff Paint


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap
  • 5-10 drops food colouring or washable paint


  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour and water until smooth.
  2. Add in dish soap and stir.
  3. Add food colouring until you get your desired colour and stir.
  4. Pour mixture into a squeeze bottle (empty ketchup or mustard bottle for easy clean up). You can also use as finger paint or with a paint brush.

Parent pro hack: use on the same day made as paint does not keep well.

puff paint ingredients
ingredients in a mixing bowl
'stay home' painted on a sidewalk with light pink puff paint

Skateboard, hike and play in our parks

Discover more than 150 parks across the city while you fly a kite, practice yoga, play disc golf, basketball or try your serve at one of our many tennis/pickleball courts. Please don’t gather in groups of more than five and keep a two-metre (6.5 foot) distance from people you don’t live with.

Learn more about Guelph park experiences

Trails and maps
Silvercreek Skatepark
Disc Golf
Floral clock and gardens

Table Quidditch

What you will need

  • A table (outdoors or indoors)
  • 6 bug catchers
  • Small and medium sized balls (e.g. ping pong ball, tennis ball—avoid heavy ones)
  • Duct tape or heavy duty tape


  1. Set up a table outside or inside (away from anything breakable)
  2. Tape three (3) bug catchers to each end of the table
  3. Make the middle one a little higher
    • From one end, try and bounce the ball off the table and into the bug catchers at the other end
    • Each player gets three (3) shots per turn
    • The middle hoop is worth 10 points
    • The two end hoops are worth 5 points each
  4. Add up your total and see who can get to 100 first!


table with 3 bug catchers taped to one end
edge of table with handles of bug catchers taped to it

Three Rules of Improv

Toilet Paper Roll Bird Feeder

What you’ll need

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Two Popsicle sticks (or any sticks will do)
  • String
  • Peanut butter (maple syrup or honey will work too)
  • Bird seed


  1. Push your Popsicle sticks through either side of the toilet paper roll, making the letter “X”. These are for the birds to stand on while they eat.
  2. Make two holes at the top of the toilet paper roll, so you can feed your string through. (Tip: If you have a one-hole puncher, use it to make holes instead of pushing the sticks and string through the toilet paper roll.)
  3. Cover your toilet paper roll with peanut butter
  4. Dip the toilet paper roll in your birdseed, covering the roll completely.
  5. Push your Popsicle sticks back through and tie your string.
  6. Hang your bird feeder on a tree and watch!
Supplies required to make the bird feeder
Popsicle sticks added to the toilet paper roll
peanut butter spread on the toilet paper roll
toilet paper roll covered with bird seed
bird feeder hanging in a tree

Under the Sea Sensory Bin

What you will need

  • Container (Rubbermaid, Tupperware, bowl)
  • A base (sand, shaving cream, water)
  • 1 cup of small pasta noodles or dried beans
  • 3-5 drops of food colouring
  • An assortment of toys that float and sink
  • An assortment of textures (hard, squish, slimy)


  1. In the container, place your base of choice (e.g. water).
  2. Mix in food colouring.
  3. Add texture (e.g. small pasta noodles, dried beans, small sponges).
  4. Add sink or float objects (e.g. toys and rocks).
  5. Explore all the fun textures under the sea.

Under the sea sensory bin

Water Relay

Stay cool and have fun with this water relay. You can play this activity anywhere: at the park, in the driveway or in your yard. Make sure you pick a space where you have room to run.

What you’ll need

  • Two sponges
  • Two plastic cups
  • Two large lunch containers the same size
  • One jug, bucket or container of water
  • Swimsuit or clothes, if you don’t mind getting wet


  1. Set up the course. Place the bucket of water at the start. Then place the empty plastic cups in the middle of the course, then the empty lunch containers at the end.
  2. Break into two teams. Give each team a name and cheer each other on.
  3. To start, fill the sponge with water and run to the cup.
  4. Squeeze out the sponge to fill the cup with water.
  5. Then run back to the start and hand the sponge off to your next teammate.
  6. Continue to fill up the cup with the sponge until the cup is full.
  7. Once the cup is full, run the cup to the container at the end and empty it.
  8. Repeat steps one to seven until the container is full.
  9. Whichever team fills their container first gets to pour the full container of water on the other team.
  10. Have fun!

Step 1

Step 4

Step 7

Water Safety Game: No way Jose!

You can play this game anywhere: in the backyard, in the park, or at the edge of a backyard pool. With hot summer days ahead, and supervised pools closed this summer, knowing the risks and rules of playing in water is extra important to make sure everyone stays safe and has fun. Remember: the most important way to keep everyone safe is to make sure young children and new swimmers are always supervised in and around the pool.


  1. Have your child stand up, either on land or at the edge of the backyard pool.
  2. Ask your child a water safety question (sample questions below).
  3. If it a safe thing to do, the child sits down or jumps into the pool.
  4. If it is not safe they remain standing.
  5. Repeat the game by asking another question.

Ideas for “safe” questions

  • Is it safe to listen to your swimming teacher?
  • Is it safe to swim with a buddy?
  • Is it safe to wear a lifejacket in a boat?
  • Is it safe to walk on the pool deck?

Ideas for “unsafe” questions

  • Is it safe to push people into the pool?
  • Is it safe to go swimming without an adult?
  • Is it safe to dive in the shallow end?
  • Is it safe to chew gum while swimming?

Water Safety Game: Water Ring Toss

What you will need

  • Pool noodle
  • Inflatable swim rings
  • Backyard pool


  1. Parent or adult toss the rings. The children are the floaters.
  2. Have the floater(s) get in the pool and sit on the pool noodle so that one end of the noodle rises up in the air. This protruding end of the pool noodle is the ring toss target.
  3. Tell the floaters to turn themselves and their pool noodles so that their backs are to the pool deck.
  4. The adults toss the rings and try to catch them on the pool noodle
  5. See how many rings you can catch.

Note: This can be adapted to a land game by using another stick-like object (e.g. hockey stick or baseball bat) and a homemade ring.