Celebrate Week of the Young Child™ 2021

Celebrate Week of the Young Child™ 2021

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Week of the Young Child and discover a fun activity to do each day, April 10 through April 16

Help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child™ (WOYC)! From April 10-16, 2021, Maryland EXCELS and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC®) are honoring this important milestone.

Join Kacey, the Maryland EXCELS Quality Koala, for WOYC daily activities.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that the activities described on this page and in website links may not be suitable for all ages or developmental stages. All activities require adult supervision and are not endorsed by the Maryland State Department of Education or Johns Hopkins University.


Music Monday

When children sing, dance, and listen to music, they develop their language and early literacy skills while being active.

For a fun musical project, gather recyclables to make instruments. You can make instruments out of tissue boxes, oatmeal containers, paper towel rolls, paper plates . . . just to name a few!

Check out some other ways to encourage children to connect with music:


Tasty Tuesday

Make some healthy, nutritious snacks with your little ones. While you’re cooking together, you can connect math with literacy skills and science. Here are a few ideas to try:


Work Together Wednesday

Let’s work together to keep your program safe and clean! Involve your children by teaching them what germs are and why handwashing is a must. 

Check out these helpful resources, including videos, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help children understand, read Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick or watch a video of the book read aloud.

After reading, teach your little ones to sing this song twice while washing their hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control, we should wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. 

Sing to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus:”

The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud
Sud, sud, sud
Sud, sud, sud
The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud
And the germs go down the drain.

(Sing twice)


Artsy Thursday

Give your children the opportunity to create their own masterpieces! Children develop creativity, social skills, and fine motor skills with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands. 

Provide multiple art mediums to choose from. Offer younger children fewer choices. Older children can choose from a larger variety of materials. Encourage your children to use any of the materials to create their artwork. 

Here are more suggestions about how to encourage children to develop their creativity and artistic skills:


Family Friday

Celebrate Family Friday with an indoor or outdoor campout!

Pitch a tent outside or create an indoor fort. Decorate it with comfy blankets and pillows. Add stuffed animals as extra guests.

For dinner, help children make a camp-style dinner with these burger packets.

What you need:

  • Ground beef or turkey 
  • Your favorite seasoning 
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Your favorite canned vegetables (potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, diced tomatoes, corn)
  • Aluminum foil


Tear off a piece of aluminum foil (about 12 in. x 12 in. per packet). Form each burger with the ground meat and place it in the middle of the foil. Sprinkle your preferred seasoning on the patty. 

Let your child add a scoop or two of their favorite vegetables on top of the meat. Top your creation with cheese. Secure the foil tightly around your dinner. Poke a few holes in the foil so steam can escape. 

Cook for 30 minutes on a grill or in the oven at 400 degrees. Make sure you let the packets cool before opening the foil.

Then finish your camping fun with dessert. Try this version of everyone’s favorite camping treat…s’mores! 

What You Need:

  • One banana per person
  • Chocolate chips (mini work best)
  • Marshmallows (mini work best)
  • Cinnamon-flavored cereal or crushed graham crackers
  • Aluminum foil

Peel the banana and slice lengthwise. Place the banana on foil or in an oven-safe dish. Add 2 tablespoons of each of the toppings: chocolate chips, marshmallows, and cereal. Wrap in foil and place on the grill or in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes or until the marshmallows and chocolate are melted. 


Share your activities on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #woyc21.

Visit NAEYC to learn more about the theme and other activities for the weeklong celebration!