Healthy Kids YMCA Child Care

Top 6 games to build your child’s character

Photo of a board game with 2 game pieces in the foreground and 4 in the background

School breaks are the perfect time to gather everyone around the table to play some classic family games. Games are wonderful tools to promote inclusion, build social skills, and actively demonstrate the YMCA’s core values.

The YMCA Play ON program encourages children to play a variety of games during program time. These games provide students the opportunity to learn through play and to live the core values while having lots of fun too. Here, our staff have matched a different classic game to each of the YMCA’s core values.


Jigsaw puzzles (ages 3+) are a fun and challenging way to encourage kids to care. Puzzles take time, patience, and practice. They also require you to look after the pieces. If a puzzle piece breaks or goes missing, the puzzle will be incomplete. Kids can learn to care for their things so they can continue to use them again and again.


Twister (ages 6+) is an active game that is great for getting kids on their feet and moving. Encourage your kids to reach for the further colour instead of the one closest to them, making the movement and the workout even greater.


Go Fish (ages 3+) requires cooperation between players if anyone is to make a match. It can be easy to want to cheat and tell another player you don’t have their card, but what if they do the same back to you? Kids will learn that honesty is important to playing fair and playing the game.


Pictionary (ages 5+) is a simple game that can be used to teach teamwork and inclusiveness. Guessing a picture quickly can be hard on your own. Encourage your kids to play the game in teams, or work together to find the right answer.


Connect 4 (ages 6+) requires taking turns and patience. It can be very tempting to try to drop more than one checker into the slot at a time to get your 4-in-a-row before the other player. With Connect 4, kids learn to respect the rules, respect the other player, and respect taking turns. We can also encourage kids to congratulate their fellow players after a good move, even if it puts themselves at a disadvantage, because it shows that we admire and respect someone else’s strategy.


Sorry (ages 6+) is a great example of teaching responsibility. Sorry has specific rules and directions that a player needs to follow. In following the rules and in making the choice on how to follow and interpret them, kids learn to take responsibility for actions in the game.

The YMCA Play ON program is a free afterschool program for students in grades 1-8. Funded by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and delivered in partnership with school boards across the GTA, this program focuses on physical activity, healthy eating and nutrition, wellness and personal health education.