In alignment with Governor Wolf’s orders to halt the spread of COVID-19, All YMCA of Reading and Berks County locations, including child care centers, are temporarily closed. Any changes to these dates will be communicated through our website, Facebook, and Constant Contact. To register for email alerts, please click here.
- 3/26/2020 | We are pleased to share that the YMCA of Reading and Berks County has been approved to provide Emergency Child Care Programming for essential workers in our community. This is designed to be a last resort for people who fill critical roles in our community and have exhausted all other options for care for their children so that they can work.The program will take place at of our Reading YMCA, located at 631 Washington St., Reading, PA 1960, provided from 6:00am-6:00pm.We will be serving children 6 weeks to age 12. This program is available on a first come, first serve basis with pre-registration required. Families should limit the time that their children are in this setting as much as possible recognizing that staying home and out of group settings is the best way to prevent becoming sick.For more information, please click here.To pre-register for Emergency Child Care, please fill out the form here.Please complete Emergency Child Care Full Packet and return to firstname.lastname@example.org
- 3/26/2020 | Stay with Us Support Options and Freeze Membership Options are now available during the remainder of our closure. Read the full letter here.
- 5/10/2020 | We would like to thank our friends at the United Way of Berks County for their support during these unprecedented times. We are proud to be a partner agency and a recipient of the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund, enabling us to provide emergency childcare services to workers on the front lines. We would also like to thank the COVID-19 Nonprofit Continuity Grand Program Fund of Berks County Community Foundation for providing support to the Y during this difficult time. Thank you for helping the Y continue to support the community!
- 5/10/2020 | The YMCA of Reading and Berks County is officially offering LIVE Online Group Exercise Classes! Classes will take place Monday through Friday and will be conducted through Cisco WebEx Portal. Please click here for more details.
Fitness & Health Resources
Our facilities are closed, but we are still here for you! As a staff working remotely, we continue to focus on our members by securing online fitness relationships and recording fitness workouts and seminars for our members to use from home.
- Online Group Exercise from the Y – We are proud to announce that we are now offering LIVE Online Group Exercise Classes through Cisco Webex. Please visit the site for full schedule and additional information. Thank you!
- Y Fitness Playlist – Did you know the Y has a YouTube Channel? We do! We are slowly adding more offerings, so check back regularly for new content.
- Les Mills Online – Les Mills classes are some of our most popular offerings with programs including strength, cardio, HIIT, dance, flexibility and more. During this time of closure we are glad to partner with Les Mills to provide this at-home option to our members. This platform is free to use and will not collect any data from users. It has 95 workout options across 8 categories that are ready to play right now. The workouts will remain open and available as long as the coronavirus situation continues to cause disruption.
- YMCA 360 – Check out YMCA 360 on YouTube, your perfect portal for a total Y Workout at home! Feature selections including boot camp, active older adults, yoga, and even barre classes, this is a great place to stop if you want that Y experience!
- FitnessBlender – This free resource provides videos for all ages, including family workouts! Get the whole family fit together!
- SilverSneakers On Demand – Are you a Silver Sneakers member? Then we’ve got just the thing to keep you in shape during this time! SilverSneakers On-Demand offers classes online just for you, simply sign in and get moving!
- How To Quit Smoking & Vaping During COVID-19 – Have you been looking for an excuse to kick a smoking habit (or at least cut back)? Early studies of COVID-19 show that smokers and vapers are at greater risk than non-smokers, making this the perfect time to buckle down and quit!
- Easy Obstacle Courses for Kids – Get the kids exercising… without even realizing they are! With warmer weather right around the corner, these 25 simple obstacle course ideas provide options for all ages, from crawling toddlers to full-grown adults!
Resources for Parents
With kids across Pennsylvania currently experiencing social distancing and a lack of mental stimulation, it is more crucial than ever to have the tools to keep little minds and hands occupied. We have compiled a list of learning resources and activities below to help out during this time:
- Scholastic Learn at Home – Even when schools are closed, you can keep the learning going with these special cross-curricular journeys. Every day includes four separate learning experiences, each built around a thrilling, meaningful story or video. Kids can do them on their own, with their families, or with their teachers. Just find your grade level and let the learning begin!
- PBS Newsletter – This helpful daily newsletter offers activities for kids and tips for parents as we play and learn at home. Plus, the PBS Games and Video Apps offer nonstop educational content kids will love!
- Google Arts & Culture – Visit the museum… virtually! Google Arts and Culture uses the power of Google Earth to allow you to explore more than 500 museums worldwide.
- School Breakfast and Lunch Pickup Locations – Many school districts are providing free meals in the interim to area students. Click to find out if your school is participating and where to pick up!
- How to Talk to Children About COVID-19 – In this unprecedented time, you may find yourself struggling with how to talk to kids about our current situation. This helpful article from PBS offers parents an approach to help children understand COVID-19, correct untrue information, and teach children to take precaution without fear.
- E-Books, Movies, and More – Check out Hoopla for an extensive library of movies, books, and more that you can “borrow” while your local library is closed. It’s compatible with e-readers as well as web browsers, so all you’ll need is internet access to get going!
- The Crash Course – There’s so many educational resources out there for younger kids during this time… but what about teens? The Crash Course provides helpful, short videos on all topics, from world history, science, literature, and even film studies!
- Elephant Toothpaste Experiment – Elephant toothpaste is a super cool science experiment to do at home with your kids and can be made with just a few household items! Take a fifteen minute break from your routine and try this one out yourself!
- Foamy Bubbles – Simply use soap, water, and a mixer and get ready for an afternoon of fun! For a little extra “wow” factor, add food coloring and make rainbow bubbles!
- Homemade Watercolor Paints – These super simple watercolor paints from DIY Network require very few ingredients and just a few minutes to make. Let them dry out overnight and get artsy with us!
- Recycling Crafts for Earth Day – Use milk bottles, tin cans, plastic wrap, and more common household items and upcycle them into unique decor items, jewelry, and instruments!
- Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk Paints – Running low on sidewalk chalk? No need to run to the store! You can make your very own Sidewalk Chalk Paint using just cornstarch, water, and food coloring!
- Making the Most Out of Screen Time – With working from home, at home schooling, and more daily tasks taking place in our homes right now, it’s easy to lean on our screens to help keep the youngest family members busy. However, you can still make the most of that screen time by engaging your child’s mind with some questions and conversation!
- Zoom Games for Kids – Looking to bring more fun to Zoom calls with family and friends? Try out a virtual game night!
- How to Make Oobleck – Oobleck is a Non-Newtonian fluid, meaning it’s a solid and liquid all in one! Throw down a tarp, mix up this super simple recipe, grab a handful, and be AMAZED!
- Pour Painted Pots – All you need for this one is some terra cotta flower pots, acrylic paint, and a little bit of tape to seal off the drainage holes! Just pour and let it dry and you’ve got super cool, one-of-a-kind garden decor!
- Water Blob – Use plastic sheeting, an iron, some duct tape, and water to create your own water blob to jump, play, and lounge on! Turn on the sprinkler or hose on a hot day for a waterpark experience!
- The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Camping – Missing out on a long awaited vacation? Spend a night exploring your own backyard! This article offers plenty of tips and tricks to make a camp out at home feel like so much more, whether you have all the camping supplies or just a few blankets and a clothesline.
- DIY Sprinkler – Pools might be closed, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a fun day in the water. You can make your very own sprinkler with just a garden hose, duct tape, and a pool noodle!
Stress Management and Mental Health Resources
We understand stress and fear are running very high right now, and we believe mental health is just as crucial as physical health. We’ve prepared a list below of resources, which you can utilize if you’re looking to de-stress, need someone to talk to, or need some support during this time.
- How You and Your Kids Can Destress During Coronavirus – This helpful article from PBS gives tips and tricks for calming yourself and children, managing moods, and approaching this time with kindness and compassion. Plus, it provides deep breathing exercises the family can do together!
- Managing Anxiety and Stress During COVID-19 – This helpful resource from the CDC offers tips for managing mental health related to COVID-19 and quarantine as well as gives a list of signs and symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression to watch out for in yourself and others.
- Creating “For Now” Routines – When so much feels so out of control, it’s easy for the whole family to fall out of routine and feel lost as a result. The solution? Make a “for now” routine. This helpful article from Sesame Street in Communities details how to set attainable goals, communicate with the family, and set clear standards for family time versus work and school.
- Mental Health Hotlines & Forums – If you are unable to visit a therapist, counselor, or support group during this time, this helpful list provides a variety of online support groups, around the clock hotlines, and more for those struggling with mental health, including resources specifically for individuals with depression and anxiety, Veterans with PTSD, individuals with OCD, and many more.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise -Times like these may be causing you to carry tension in your muscles leading not only to pain in the body, but also heightened anxiety. Progressive Muscle Relaxation calls you to tense and relax muscles in your body head to toe, leaving your body fully relaxed at the end!
- Animal Sanctuary Live Streams – sometimes you just need to tune out and focus on something else for a while. Studies show that viewing videos of cute animals can improve a person’s mood and help boost productivity and concentration!
- Childrens Relaxation Activities – We hope you’re practicing self-care at home… but how do you help the littlest members of the family to soothe themselves and release anxiety during this difficult time? This awesome resource from Save the Children US gives tips for getting kids to breathe, stretch, and calm themselves.
- Virtual Book Clubs – Human connection and socialization can do wonders for the brain, but in a time of social distancing, those connections are hard to come by. A solution? Start or join a virtual book club!
- Helping Friends and Relatives with Anxiety – This helpful article “What To Say (And What Not To Say) To Someone With Anxiety” lays out a few simple ways to provide support to your friends and family in the most meaningful way, while avoiding well-intentioned missteps.
- Music Therapy – Music therapy has long been touted for its mental health benefits and, in this time of stress, it’s possible to apply some of its principles right at home!
- Journaling for Mental Wellness – Have you been looking for a new hobby to take up while social distancing? Give journaling a try! This article details the benefits of journaling for stress relief, management of depression and anxiety, and overall mental wellbeing.
- Taking a Mindful Moment – While many of us have tried to take up meditation, yoga, or other calming practices during these unprecedented times, it may still be a struggle to find the time or ability to commit to these activities. Sometimes, it’s enough to slow down and appreciate everyday activities.
- What is Compassion Fatigue? – To put it simply, compassion fatigue is an emotional numbing most commonly experienced by healthcare workers and law enforcement during times of great distress and suffering. However, it’s possible that even more individuals are suffering from it, but may not have the words for it yet. This helpful article details signs and symptoms to watch for as well as ways to cope and combat compassion fatigue.
- Dealing with a Dropped Nap – “Rebrand” your child’s dropped nap into “quiet time,” allowing for parents to still get those moments to themselves, even if their child never falls asleep.
- Calm Down Kits – If you’re a parent going through this pandemic, chances are your child has had a meltdown. Next time your child is having these intense emotions, try a Calm Down Kit filled with anxiety-calming toys, comfort objects, and activities that will make them slow down, process emotions, and self-soothe.
Healthy and Easy Recipes
In a time like this, it’s easy to turn to unhealthy, processed foods for the sake of convenience and cost. For that reason, we’re sharing a few easy, budget friendly, and balanced meals that the whole family will love! You can even get your kids involved in some of these for a fun, family activity!
- Apple-Raisin Baked Oatmeal – This recipe is not only super easy to make, but also features ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Best of all, it’s great fresh or can be frozen for leftovers. Make it ahead and have a healthy breakfast on hand all weel!
- Three-Ingredient Black Bean Soup – A super easy soup that only requires three ingredients: broth, canned tomatoes, and black beans! Add spices, cheese, and garnishes to really give it some extra flair!
- Barbeque Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, very filling, and super affordable. Add some chicken and your favorite barbecue sauce and enjoy this quick and delicious treat!
- Sausage and Cannellini Bean Soup – This is a super simple soup packed with protein! As a bonus, you can sneak some greens in to your kids diet in a super delicious way!
- Banana Bread – Have a few bananas that are getting a bit too brown? Don’t throw them away, give them a second life with this quick dessert!
- Peanut Butter Banana Breakfast Cookies – These absolutely awesome breakfast cookies are made using just peanut butter, bananas and oats! The best part? No added sugar, making them a breakfast you can feel good about while satisfying that sweet tooth!
- Cucumber Tomato Salad – Who says you need lettuce to make a salad? Get your daily dose of veggies with this delicious and fresh salad. This recipe features minimal ingredients, takes just minutes to prepare, and is a great way to clear out those extra ingredients in your crisper drawer!
- Hardboiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies – Did you know you can make chocolate chip cookies… out of hardboiled eggs?! We didn’t believe it either until we came across this recipe. We know it sounds crazy, but if you’re looking to use up your leftover Easter eggs, give these protein-packed treats a try!
- Baked Veggie Chips – Is being home causing your family to snack more than usual? Make your snacks count and substitute traditional potato chips for these awesome Oven Baked Veggie Chips from The Big Man’s World!
- Inside Out Cabbage Roll Stew – This recipe packs in the veggies with sweet and vitamin-rich butternut squash and fiber-dense green cabbage, plus green peppers and a hefty helping of vegetable juice. Looking to cut down on the salt? Opt for low sodium vegetable juice and reduce the amount of onion soup mix!
- Tuna Patties – Stocked up on canned tuna, but not sure what to do with it? Don’t resign yourself to the simple tuna fish sandwich! These awesome Tuna Patties f take the ordinary and make it into an extraordinary meal with just a few simple ingredients!
- Italian Poached Eggs – These are the perfect at-home brunch food, made just from pantry staples! Serve with toast, an English Muffin, or maybe even some garlic bread!
- Creamy Greek Yogurt Pasta – Got pasta and yogurt? Then you’ve got dinner! This Creamy Greek Yogurt Pasta combines these two pantry basics with common herbs and spices to create a unique take on Fettuccine Alfredo.
- Egg Cups – Move over breakfast sandwiches, because these Egg Cups from Wholefully bring all the flavor with absolutely NO BREAD!
- The Best Black Bean Burger – No ground beef? No problem! Substitute your barbecue favorite with this vegetarian classic made from pantry staples!
- Granitas – Looking for an easy, fruity, sweet treat to cool down with this weekend? Use that produce that has been taking up space in your fridge to make a granita!
- Chipotle Pumpkin Pasta – If you’re in the midst of spring cleaning your cupboards right now, chances are you have those off-season ingredients that you don’t want to go bad, but can’t quite find a use for. One of the most common culprits? Canned pumpkin. This Chipotle Pumpkin Pasta from Budget Bytes gives a new life to the holiday food staple by using it as a hearty, zesty pasta sauce!
- Foil Pack Hawaiian Chicken – Bring a taste of the islands to your grill with this Hawaiian Foil Pack Chicken from Family Fresh Meals! These delicious, simple foil packs allow you to just set them and forget them, no turning or basting necessary! Throw some vegetables in with the chicken and you’ve got a whole dinner ready to go!
- Fruit Salad Pops – Cool things down with this sweet, natural treat! These Fruit Salad Pops from One Little Project are packed with fresh fruits and bound together with just apple juice — no added sugars here!