Bringing a little bit of fun and nature directly to you with TOPS Virtual Programs!
Check back regularly on all our social media for activities and adventures you can do at home and in our parks.* All activities will also be posted here on our website at www.olanderpark.com/virtualprograms.
If you would like to share a resource to be posted, please email the info and/or link to email@example.com.
*TOPS parks will remain open until we are directed otherwise by the local health department.
- Heart to Heart Campaign
- Fun at Home
- Fun at Home & TOPS Parks
- Fun from Our Partners & Local Organizations
- Fun from All Over the World
- Fun Suggestions from the Community
Spread a little kindness & connect with the community!
Join the TOPS letter-writing campaign for seniors & residents living in Sylvania nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospices, and senior centers.
This summer we will be collecting cards, letters, and pictures each week and distributing them to a different facility each week. We know physical distancing is important for public health right now, but our elders and those living in assisted living facilities need to feel supported. We all need a way to connect and fight the loneliness we may be feeling. We’re not all Shakespeare, but we can all make something beautiful for ourselves and others by putting pen to paper.
Each week we will offer a topic, but your letters, pictures, and cards can be about anything. Please follow the helpful tips below when making your contribution.
For more information on how you can make a difference, click HERE
Fun at Home
Spring is here and little bunnies can be seen hopping all around town! Have you seen any in your yard? Celebrate the fluffy bunny by clicking on one (or all) or these fun activities.
Want more information about bunny rabbits, check out THIS LINK from the Ohio Wildlife Center.
Activity #10: Find It!
Activity #9: The Bird Nest
Activity #8: Tic Tac Toe
Gather some rocks or stones from your house or out and about. (*Remember not to take rocks from private property.) You can also purchase rocks at your local home improvement store, just check the garden area. Get creative by painting them different colors, different designs, cute creatures, and more. The only limit is your imagination!
The best paint to use is acrylic paint or paint pens. If you have access to a sealer, spray them for longer use.
Use a cut wood slice, chalk on your driveway or sidewalk, or even a large piece of paper to create the tic tac toe grid. For game play, remember to make sure you have 10 stones – five of each type.
How to play Tic Tac Toe:
- The game is played on a grid that’s 3 squares by 3 squares.
- You are X, your friend (or the computer in this case) is O. Players take turns putting their marks in empty squares.
- The first player to get 3 of her marks in a row (up, down, across, or diagonally) is the winner.
- When all 9 squares are full, the game is over.
Have a bunch of rocks laying around? Check out this fun website for more rock painting ideas!
Activity #7: TOPS March Madness
Millions of basketball fans around the world are super bummed that the NCAA Basketball tournament was cancelled. We didn’t want you to miss out on filling out those brackets. Fill out your the TOPS Fan Favorite bracket today! Voting begins Friday, March 27 at 5pm. Vote on the TOPS Facebook page and Instagram stories for your chance to win too! TOPS Championship is April 6 beginning at Noon. The winner will be declared at 8pm!
Want to create your own bracket, click HERE. Want to pretend the tournament is still happening? Sporting News is still offering the chance to pick upsets and virtually watch your favorite teams advance, round-by-round to the Final Four. Click HERE for their website.
Activity #5: Explore Virtual Tours
Have you ever taken a virtual tour before? They are pretty amazing. Explore something local or something from afar, all from the comfort of your couch. Check out our favorites this week – March 24, 2020.
Local Virtual Tour: The Toledo Zoo is offering virtual tours of their exhibits. This week they are offering a virtual tour of the Aquarium. Check out the variety of fish on display and even get a peek at the gift shop. This 3D tour must have been filmed before a fancy event. Any guesses what the event was for? Click HERE for the link to the 3D Virtual Tour of the Aquarium. To stay up-to-date with all the fun things happening at the zoo, visit their Facebook and Instagram pages.
National Virtual Tour: The National Park Service has partnered with Google Arts and Culture to bring you the Hidden Worlds of the National Parks. Discover in-depth stories and insights from the experts. Explore panoramic views of famous sites in 360˚ Street View tours. Explore images, artifacts and more in high resolution. Take a tour of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Click HERE to start exploring. What is your favorite national park?
Activity #4: Make Your Own Mancala Game
- Take your empty egg carton.
- Carefully cut off the top.
- Feeling creative? Color the egg carton with markers or crayons to make it festive.
- Fill each small pocket with four of anything, any color (candy, pebbles, Cheerios, beans, …be creative!) Now you are ready to play!
- Click HERE for directions on how to play.
For more information, visit https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/blog-posts/alycia-zimmerman/mancala-classroom/
Activity #3: Build a Fort in Your Living Room
Before the digital age, children spent hours trying to entertain themselves. Building a fort in the living room was a childhood favorite. If you didn’t get a chance to do this as a child, now is the time to break this oldy but goody out. Minimal supplies are needed. All you need are a couch or some chairs, pillows, a blanket or two, plus a little imagination. Want to get fancy? Add some holiday lights, toys, books, or anything else that would make you happy.
Need a little inspiration? Check out the links below for some ideas. Share photos of your forts on our social media with #olanderparks #TOPSforts
- For the super adventurous: https://diply.com/diy-forts-escape-adult-life
Activity #2: At Home BINGO with TOPS
Directions: Download these two BINGO cards and play individually or as a team. Look for items in your home and outside. Can you make a BINGO?
How to Win? Five in a Row or Four Corners or Fill Entire Card
Share photos of your BINGOs on our social media with #olanderparks #TOPSBingo
Activity #1: Olander Park Crossword Puzzle
Click HERE for the Clues
Click HERE for the Answers
Stay tuned for more Fun at Home programs!
Fun at Home & in TOPS Parks
Blue Week Celebration: Butterfly Gardens for Kids
- Click HERE for Printable Butterfly Outlines
Resources from the video:
- Ohio Department of Nature Resources – YouTube Channel – featuring Ohio Protects Pollinators Part 1 & 2
- Growing Wisdom – How to Plant a Butterfly Garden
- North American Butterfly Association – How to Start a Butterfly Garden
- U.S. Forest Service – Monarch Butterfly Habitat Needs
- The Holden Arboretum – Butterfly Garden Host Plant List
- This Old House – How to Plant a Butterfly Garden
- Rob Nelson @UntamedScience – How to Create A Butterfly Garden
- Canadian Wildlife Federation – Give Butterflies a Place to Drink
Check out the full list of Blue Week events at www.oakopenings.org/blue-week
Join the WALK THIS MAY Challenge! Complete 31 Miles in 31 Days and Win a Prize!
Spring is officially here (we hope)! The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, so let’s celebrate the joys, benefits, and health effects of walking!
This program is FREE to the community. Download the log sheet HERE.
To be eligible for the prize, all participants must be registered. Register online at olander.recdesk.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants can earn miles by walking, running, biking, rollerskating, etc. While we would love for you to earn your miles at TOPS parks, miles can be earned at your local park or around your neighborhood. We just want to encourage you to move more!
Having fun with this month’s challenge? Think about joining the TOPS 365 Wellness Challenge and count these miles towards your goal.
It’s not too late to JOIN IN! Your Goal: Complete 365 miles by the end of 2020!
Are you ready to take on the Challenge? Register today! You will receive a pedometer and special log book with registration when normal park operations resume. Until then, track your miles using your own pedometer, your smartphone, or Google maps. Earn fun rewards when you reach the 180 and 365 mile-mark. Are you an overachiever? Earn a special reward for completing 500 miles!
Monthly walks and health-themed giveaways will help you stay focused and meet your wellness goals throughout the year. Stay tuned for the scheduled dates. Please note: Group walks have been suspended until further notice due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
The TOPS Challenge is designed for miles completed at TOPS parks, however, if you walk, run, bike, rollerblade, and/or kayak at the Metroparks, your neighborhood, a treadmill, or any other location other than TOPS parks, estimate your mileage as close as possible and record it on your log. Be honest, because you’re only cheating yourself!
Challenge takes place until December 31, 2020. All prizes need to be picked up by January 31, 2021.
Residents & Members are Free; Non-Residents pay a one-time $10 registration fee.
To register, visit olander.recdesk.com or email email@example.com
*Pick up of registration materials and prizes has been suspended until further notice due to the Covid-19 crisis.
*Please remember to follow all rules and recommendations of the CDC and the Ohio Health Department. All guests visiting our parks are recommended to take preventative action when visiting the park system including self-monitoring and practicing social distancing.
Stay tuned for more Fun at Home & in TOPS Parks programs!
- Virtual Tour of Crater Lake National Park: https://findyourpark.com/…/crater-lake-national-park-360-to…
- Live Webcams from Yellowstone National Park: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm
- Virtual Hike & Rafting Trip in the Grand Canyon: https://www.nps.gov/…/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtour.htm
For more activities and tours, visit the National Park Service website at https://www.nps.gov/…/npscelebra…/find-your-virtual-park.htm
or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice
Tag us on Facebook – @theolanderparksystem, share it on social media with #olanderparks, and/or email the photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out these great photos by: Todd Crail, Erika Buri, Brian McGuire, and Danielle Marino
Did you know April is also National Volunteer Month?As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this week, we want to give a huge thanks to all of our volunteers. In 2019, 375 individuals joined the TOPS incredible volunteer team and contributed over 1400 hours of service to our community!
Much of what we accomplish each year is with the help of our dedicated volunteers who share their time and talents with TOPS. Many of the groups that volunteered worked with the natural resources department in the parks’ native areas. Volunteers assisted with invasive species removal, seed collection, planting and weeding native gardens, and tree planting. Our volunteers also helped with various park maintenance projects, assisted with special events, and educated visitors at Fossil Park.
Although we have had to postpone our spring volunteer dates, please consider becoming a TOPS volunteer. Whether your interests are ecological or your strength is working with people, we have the right program for you. Find out more at www.olanderpark.com/volunteering
We thank you! Every logged hour by a TOPS volunteer directly translates into a stronger local ecosystem, more opportunities for kids to discover and explore, and a healthier community!
Thursday Activity: Earth Day Mad Libs!
Who remembers playing Mad Libs as a kid? The game was invented in the United States, and more than 110 million copies of Mad Libs books have been sold since the series was first published in 1958. In honor of Earth Day, try out this fun Mad Lib. Click HERE for the link to a printable version.
Want to try more, check out these printable Mad Libs from Woo Jr. at https://www.woojr.com/earth-day-mad-libs-for-kids/
- Did you know that RAIN BARRELS are a great way to conserve water and provides you free water for use in your lawns, gardens, and/or indoor plants? Rain barrels capture rainwater from a roof and hold it for later use. Check out the DIY video on how to make your own. Not handy? Think about purchasing one. Check out the links below.
- Did you know that COMPOSTING is a wonderful way to add nutrients to your garden with your own waste scraps? Composting is simply breaking down organic materials into nutrient-rich soil that you can then spread on your vegetable or flower gardens. It also lets you dispose of certain waste materials without throwing them in the trash so it’s a really environmentally friendly project. Check out the DIY instructions on a variety of ways to make your own. Not handy? Think about purchasing one. Check out the links below.
- Did you know a RAIN GARDEN is a low spot in the yard that is designed to capture rainwater from roofs, driveways, and sidewalks? The rain garden temporarily stores stormwater while it reduces flooding and provides habitat for bees and other pollinators. The hardy native plants and soil clean the stormwater naturally, reducing water pollution. Want to plant your own?
Check out Toledo-Lucas County Rain Garden Initiative’s website at http://www.tlcraingardeninitiative.org/whats-a-rain-garden/
DIY Rain Barrel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0y0BmEFUcs
DIY Composting Bin: https://www.diyncrafts.com/…/35-cheap-easy-diy-compost-bins…
Purchase a rain barrel and/or compost bin at this event sponsored by the Village of Ottawa Hills and the Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District; see this link for more information: http://enviroworld.us/ottawa
Want to learn more about what Northwest Ohio is doing to improve the environment? Check out these links:
• Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission: http://www.lucascountygreen.com/about.html
• Partners for Clean Streams: https://partnersforcleanstreams.org/
• Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District: https://www.lucasswcd.org/
• Keep Toledo/Lucas County Beautiful, Inc.: https://www.co.lucas.oh.us/…/Keep-Toledo-Lucas-County-Beaut…
Sunday: Plant a Veggie Garden!
Vegetables can grow just about anywhere if they have enough sun and water. Try a “square foot garden” in a raised garden bed, plant a tomato in your favorite pot, plant some herbs for your windowsill, or you can even rent spaces in community gardens like at Olander Park.
*Interested in renting a community garden at Olander Park? We have one spot left for this summer. The fee is $25 and planting season is from May 15 to October 31. Email email@example.com for more information.
What are the Benefits of Growing a Vegetable Garden?
• It’s Eco-Friendly
• Minimize Waste
• Improve Your Health
• Save Money on Food
• Burn Calories
PLUS: Kids (and adults) will often try new foods if they have grown them!
Want more information on starting your own garden? Check out these links –
• Starting an organic garden: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/…/organic-gardening-tips-…/
• Plant a Snack Garden with your Kids: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-activities-plant-a-snack-…/
• Plant an Herb Garden with your kids: https://www.kids-cooking-activities.com/starting-herb-garde…
Shamrock Scavenger Hunt – Completed
Lucky the Leprechaun paid a visit to The Olander Park System. He left his lucky shamrocks at TOPS parks, the TOPS website, and on the TOPS Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram page. Congrats to all the winners of the hunt. Check social media to see if you are a winner. Email us your information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fun from Our Partners & Local Organizations
- Heritage Sylvania: Camp AH-HA! where At Home History Adventures begin! Check out their daily postings of projects for you and your children to do together to keep the learning going. Visit: https://heritagesylvania.org/educational-resources/camp-ah-ha-at-home-history-adventures/
- Toledo Lucas County Public: The library’s entire online eMedia collection including eBooks, audiobooks and streaming movies, music and television shows is still available for use with your Library card. If you don’t have a Library card, you sign up for one today and get instant access to these materials! Visit: https://www.toledolibrary.org/
- Imagination Station: Check out some of their favorite DIY experiments that can be replicated at home or in your classroom. Visit: https://www.imaginationstationtoledo.org/educator/activities
- Metroparks Toledo: Check out all the trails you can explore! Visit: https://metroparkstoledo.com/explore-your-parks/
- Toledo Zoo: Check out their Animal Meet & Greets on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheToledoZoo/. Learn about the animals at the Toledo Zoo on their website at https://www.toledozoo.org/animals
Stay tuned for more information on the Fun from Our Partners & Local Organizations.