Virtual Community Center

While our community center and playgrounds are closed, we’ve made it our mission to put together fun, creative, and educational content to get us through these tough times. Remember that we may be separated, but we are NOT alone!

Follow Merriam Parks and Recreation on Facebook for new activity ideas every day. Don’t forget to show us pictures of your projects on Facebook by tagging @MerriamParks and #mprd  #thefundepartment  #justright.

KIDS ACTIVITIES

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Puffy Paints
All you need is equal parts Elmer’s glue and shaving cream, then add a little food coloring.

Yarn Wrapped Flower Pots
Dress up a flower pot using a few basic things you probably already have in your shed or garage. Simple and cute to boot! Here’s how.

Paper Wishing Stars
These paper wishing stars are a great way to tell the loved ones how thankful you are for them, even from a distance! Put some in a jar and leave it on their porch or send through the mail. The possibilities are endless! Learn how to make them.

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Chalk your walk!
Draw pictures, share positive messages, and play hopscotch or other games. Festive sidewalks will lift spirits of those enjoying neighborhood walks.

Q-Tips Designs 
Write your name or draw a simple image, then add dots with the Q-Tip!

Egg Carton Wreath
Transform your paper egg cartons left from all your Easter egg dying for this fun and easy craft. Here’s to link with the how to.

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Marble Painting
Mix play and art by using marbles to paint colorful lines on paper. When filled with marble-painted lines, your picture will look like a gorgeous abstract painting!

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Learn to Juggle
Why learn to juggle you ask? Benefits include, but are not limited to: brain growth, stress relief, focus retention and improved coordination. Impressive! Learn how here.

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Painted Rocks
Have your kiddos search rocks, then give them a new personality with paint! The colorful rocks make a beautiful addition to any garden!

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Furry Friend Picnic
Grab some of your furry friends and have a Teddy Bear Picnic! Read some stories, eat some food, and be merry and bear-ry with your favorite friends! 

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Washable Paint 
Have a little artist that is itching to get outside? Here’s an easy washable paint recipe.

Washable Paint:
1 cup flour
1 cup dish washing soap
1 cup water
Whisk together and add food coloring

It’s that easy! This is great for sidewalks and glass doors.

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Custom Beaded Bracelets
All you need are some safety pins, seed beads and elastic and you have a one of a kind piece of jewelry! Here’s the how-to.

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Salt Art Painting
Elevate your painting with a little glue, salt, and water colors. Check it out! 

Re-purpose Broken Crayons
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Peel paper off of crayons. Place crayon pieces in oven safe molds or muffin tins and place on a baking sheet. Bake the crayons for 10-20 minutes or until fully melted. Let cool and color with your new crayon creation!

Scavenger Hunt
Here’s another boredom buster from The Fun Department! How many of these things can you find in your house?!

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Blanket Forts
Gather your blankets, pillows, chairs, flashlights and books! Get creative and gather whatever you can to design your very own blanket fort. Use your secret fortress for special missions, reading booking or the occasional afternoon nap!

Coffee Filter Flowers
Color coffee filters with washable markers. Spray the filters with water and let dry completely. It will create a tie dye effect. When they are dry cut out colorful flowers to hang on your windows!

Bird Feeders 
This simple craft only uses a toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and birdseed. Cover the empty toilet paper roll with peanut butter, then roll in birdseed. Place the roll on a low branch and wait for your feathered friends to enjoy a snack!

Animal Fitness: Today’s workout is for your kiddos! How many rounds can you do in 15 minutes?
Move like each animal for 1-3 laps around the yard (depending on your yard size)
1. Sprint like a CHEETAH
2. Crawl like a BEAR
3. Jump like a FROG
4. Hop like a FLAMINGO (don’t forget the wings!)
5. Run like a HUMAN stuck in slow motion
Repeat until time is up!
Does your kiddo still have energy? Take a break and then see if they can do the same workout for 15 minutes, but get even more rounds ins!

Storytime with the Library: Johnson County Library offers daily storytime at 10 a.m. on their Facebook page.

Rabbit Hole Exhibit Design Challenge: Dream up and build an exhibit based on your favorite book. Submit your design by May 15 and you may win a prize!

MERRIAM PUZZLES 

Puzzles are a time-honored tradition perfect for passing the time. At this point, you might have already finished all the puzzles you own. That’s why we’re bringing some new digital Merriam puzzles to you. 

How to use digital puzzles

  • Click on the puzzle image of your choosing.

  • Puzzles can be played on your phone, tablet, or desktop.

  • Drag and drop the pieces to complete the puzzle.

  • Send to your friends and compete to see who can complete their puzzle the fastest!

Are you having trouble?

  • Hover over the image icon at the top of the puzzle screen to reveal the full image of the puzzle.

  • Click the image icon at the top of the puzzle screen to show the full image of the puzzle at all times.

  • Reload the puzzle to change the number of puzzle pieces in the setting to decrease (or increase) skill level.

Turkey Creek Festival

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Flower Baskets

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Flags 4 Freedom

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Car Show

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Bear Fountain

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OUTDOORS + WELLNESS

Get Fit: Find exercises for every muscle with this handy tool

Home Workouts: Find your new favorite at-home fitness routine on Youtube. Try out out tabata, boxing, and dance, or find your focus with yoga. The no-equipment options are endless!

Self Care BINGO: We all need to practice some self-care right now. Here’s a bingo card to make it FUN! Share with us on Facebook which ones you’ve  done or if you got BINGO!

Walk the Trails: Taking a walk at a local park is an excellent way to clear one’s mind from the stresses of the day, re-energize, and improve health. Just make sure to continue to practice physical-distancing to keep yourself and others healthy.

Virtual Parks: Are you staying indoors? As an alternative, you can still take a walk in a park. Take a virtual walking tour. Stand up and walk along the Redwood National Forest or just about anywhere in the world. 

Plant a Garden: Our friends at The Johnson County Library have so many resources for gardening for kids and adults! 

Tree Decor: Celebrate Arbor Day by stringing beads or other decorations in your trees. Let’s see your tree swag!

Start a Compost Bin: Composting is a great way to dispose of food scraps & fertilize your garden for free!Here’s an easy DIY tutorial for your very own compost bucket. 

DIY Terrariums: Get creative and find some things around the house you can use to build a terrarium. Find some rocks, soil, a small plant, a cute toy, and a mason jar and you have an easy terrarium made out of household items. Give it a try and share what you made!


LOCAL LOVE

Learn Merriam History: Download the free Otocast app on Google Play or the App Store. Find the Merriam History Tour, scroll along the bottom to the Merriam Park Historic Marker to view images, listen to a historically recreated speech and see the beautiful lectern still housed in the Visitors Bureau office today!

Spread the Love: What local business are you missing most right now? Write a positive google review of a local merchant and tell them why you love what they do. 

Shop Local: Show your support for local merchants by purchasing a giftcard. Save it for yourself or have gift ready for a friend!

Donate blood: There is an urgent need for blood right now, and donation facilities are operating with safety protocols. Learn more and make an appointment at savealifenow.org or redcrossblood.org.

Volunteer: Non-profits and social service agencies need extra support right now. If you’re feeling well, consider volunteering.


VIRTUAL TOURISM

Kansas City Zoo: Need some cute animals in your life? Want to visit the Kansas City Zoo in the comfort of your own home? Our friends at the Kansas City Zoo have live streams of different animals you can watch everyday! Follow the link to see some fun animals!

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art: Our friends at Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art have an abundance of art to explore from their permanent collection. They also upload weekly videos with step-by-step tutorials of an art project inspired by a work of art currently on view at Kemper Museum.

National Aquarium: Watching the live streams at the National Aquarium will take you to another world!  

Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History: Travel to Washington, D.C. from home and enjoy a self-guided, room-by-room tour of select exhibits and areas within the museum which houses an impressive collection of 145 million specimens and artifacts.

National WWI Museum and Memorial: This narrated Curator’s Tour, hosted by Google Arts & Culture, is both fascinating and educational! Learn more about this iconic Kansas City attraction from the comfort of your couch! Happy virtual travels everyone!

Royal’s 2014 Wildcard Game: Missing baseball right now? Now’s your chance to rewatch one of baseball’s all time greatest games - with an epic ending! Go Royals!  

Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm: Learn and explore Mahaffie with these virtual tours of the museum, stagecoach, the Mahaffie house, and the basement stagecoach stop.

Johnson County Museum: Enjoy a special tour of the All-Electric House, find great activities to pair with Little Golden Book stories, hear about the themes and major periods of Johnson County History, and find so much more at the Johnson County virtual Museum

Worlds of Fun: Need a thrill? This virtual ride on the Patriot will do it! 

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead: We could watch the baby goats play all day in this adorable video!  


RESOURCES

Johnson County Library: Our friends at the Johnson County Library have a way for you to enjoy the library at a distance. Find gardening books, PBS and Disney games for kids, online learning resources, and so much more. Get an eLibrary card now!  

Work From Home Tips + Desktop and Zoom Backgrounds: Check out the Merriam Visitors Bureau blog for tips on how to create a successful remote working environment. Whether you’re working from your dining room table, a spare bedroom, unfinished basement, or patio corner, these beautiful Merriam backgrounds will brighten your day.