Family Play Time at the YMCA of Okanagan, Early Years Services

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Looking after three to five children all under the age of five, Jen Vincent is a busy mother and child care provider who finds the Y’s Family Play Time program an ideal place to keep all kids entertained. Visiting the YMCA of Okanagan’s free program provides a fun setting for them to play and learn while they connect with other families.

“With five kids it’s hard to get out of the house and go to a beach or park, I find the Y’s program provides a safer and more contained play environment,” Jen states. “We all look forward to coming and the kids are better behaved after getting energy out here.”

Family Play Time is a free drop-in program for kids under six and their caregivers, providing a comfortable environment for families to explore, create, imagine and play together at the Kelowna Family Y and the Penticton Community Centre. The programs aim is to offer a safe and welcoming environment open to all families. Free gym time, educational toys, engaging circle activities and access to a network of community resources are available to enhance both the child and family’s development seven days a week in Kelowna and five days a week in Penticton.

“Everyone from my eight-month-old to my high energy five-year-old have fun with exciting activities and toys for all personalities and ages. I’ve been able to make playdates and friends by connecting with other moms as well.”

The program is facilitated by qualified Early Childhood Educators who’s Playing to Learn programming responds to each families unique needs. These professionals engage children in circle time, connect with families and are a great source of knowledge on childhood development. They are also trained to provide support and service navigation for families needing individualized case management. 

“I’ve had great experience with the staff. They are engaged and helpful with the kids which makes it that much easier for me. One of the kids I watch has social anxiety and exposing him to environments like this is extremely helpful in overcoming it. He’s been doing really well.”

The YMCA of Okanagan’s Family Play Time is funded by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Early Years Services, aiming to provide families with effective social supports and networks, and ultimately support the wellness of both children and families. Family Play Time is offered in Kelowna and Penticton with support navigation also available in Summerland. 

Learn more about Family Play Time drop-in times, support services and more on the program web page.