Thursday, January 29, 2009

Activities for Older Kids?

Blogreader Sheila asked if I might have some ideas for activities to do indoors with older kids (preteen age). It got me thinking back to what my brothers and I used to do. Here is a list of things we did and if you have older kids, or ideas from your own childhood, please add them in the comments:

Balloon Volleyball--this is even fun for adults!

Board games

Beginner's sewing projects (fleece hats and mittens and socks)

Being involved in 4-H groups

Learn to play an instrument (Can't afford lessons? Get a book or video from the library and teach yourself the basics)

Drawing (How many thousands of hours did we spend tracing and drawing from different books we had on How to Draw?)

Fashion Plate Girls--I wish I could remember what this was called but someone gave me a kit where you traced different ladies and then you could choose what outfit to put on them and trace and then you could use different textures for the fabric of her outfit and use colored pencils to color her outfit and you could trace various accesories for her. My friends and I used this simple kit for YEARS on end, always designing new outfits with new colors and variations. Something like this is wonderful for preteen girls

Scrapbooking--Some of my preteen cousins make the most amazing albums and really enjoy this!

Write a newsletter for Grandparents (either and e-mail version or a snail-mail copy to mail out) Pretend to be a journalist and make it a "news"paper

Create a music video or write a play and film it

Make a movie about life at your house and the routines you have--This would be fun to look back on later!

Water balloon babies (My friend and I did the egg babies in 5th grade until one broke a few days later in my fanny pack and left a nasty rotten egg smell that wouldn't come out! From then on it was water balloon babies for us and we had endless fun mothering our little balloons. Not surprisingly, we both have 3 kids now!)

Build bridges out of toothpicks and glue (we did this in 5th and 6th grade at school and had competitions to see which team could build the strongest bridge)

Craft books from the library (learn origami, learn how to be a good photographer, learn to crochet, learn to decorate your room

Plan an adventure. My friend and I decided we wanted to live off the land in 5th grade like a girl in a book we read about (Naya Nuki, Girl Who Ran). So we planned a camping adventure in our pasture and lived in a tent for a week (age 11 or 12) and cooked our own Ramen over a fire and swam in the creek and we even made our own matching skirts out of an old sheet for the adventure. We even tried eating roasted grasshopper. Planning it together was half the fun! Of course my brother and his friend begged to join us on the adventure.

Start a club. In my preteen years, my friends and I started a club for girls who loved horses and we rode my horse, Rebel, all the time after school. We called ourselves "Rebel's Girls."

I recently posted on doing a treasure hunt for your kids. My husband says he and his sisters loved to do these even as teens and the clues their dad made them were very difficult to solve and took a lot of time to figure out.

Serve others--Go visit at a nursing home, volunteer as a mother's helper, take a homemade card to someone going through a tough time, bake bread for someone who is sick, etc. Kids love to do this sort of thing.

Etiquette classes--take time to teach your kids etiquette and proper grooming and how to be a lady or a gentleman. Kids this age are soaking it up and have fun "practicing" this kind of stuff. My mom had me go through the "Christian Girls Charm Course" at age 11 with a couple of my girl friends. My brothers went through a similar course for boys.

Make a scoot game--similar to air hockey without the air--a large wooden box and a little door on each end where a wooden puck can be knocked in--simple for most guys to create from wood, use a small board as your puck paddle to try to shoot the puck into the other person's door.

Look for table tennis, air hockey, or pool tables at yard sales

Bowl using plastic water bottles and any kind of ball or buy an inexpensive toy set at the local discount store

Read aloud together as a family--kids of all ages enjoy this

Listen to Family Radio Theatre broadcasts or podcasts of Adventures in Odyssey or other kids' programs

Anyone else have great ideas???


Sheila said...

These are really great ideas! I think I'm just stuck in the mid-winter blahs! One thing that we have done which was really fun for everyone was a Family Game night. It could be Family Movie night - anything really. :) I make 'party food' and we played board games. The fun part is what I call party food - it doesn't have to be anything special, but I find that anything I stick a toothpick in or make a mini version of is a big hit. For example, I make triple-decker sandwiches (using whatever I have for the filling) and cut the sandwiches into little pieces and spear them with a toothpick. Fruit kabobs, mini muffins, anything like that.

I think my older daughter might enjoy making a newsletter for the family. We actually do have a ping-pong table, but we haven't played lately. We need to do that. :)

I appreciate your ideas so much. I have saved them to print, and I think they will help jump-start ideas for me. Thanks!

Heather said...

Lindsey--look at all the ideas you have! I'm impressed how you can crank them out like that. :)

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