I’ve seen toddler activity lists being circulated out the wazoo and I get it; toddlers need a lot of hands-on and constant stimuli (bless you mama, I remember those days). Flashback to Hailey at 20 months old.
But there are also a lot of us with slightly older kids that feel stuck somewhere between the pasta sensory bin and them being too cool to hang out with us.
The 6-10 year old crowd needs some love too, which is why I’ve compiled this list of things we’ve enjoyed doing together over the past few weeks while hanging out more at home. I’d love for you to share in the comments your favorite way to play and bond with your big kid, too!
Craft Crates. We’ve used Kiwi Crate for years. I did a partnership with them a while back and you can still get a free crate to try. They never fail to be fun, and I love that all the pieces needed come in the box, so I don’t have to worry about our at-home art and craft supplies. I’ve also been eyeballing Green Kid Crafts to try, and just ordered a Kid Stir kit as well.
Obstacle courses in the yard or living room. We have this ninja slack line and set it up in the backyard to help create obstacle courses. We use chalk to draw hopscotch or ladders on the driveway, then chase each other through the course, over obstacles and more. Stuck inside? Take all the pillow off the couch and do the same thing. We’ll also add in that you have to “hop like a frog” between this one and that one, or crab walk backwards. Anything to switch it up!
Scavenger hunts through the neighborhood or house. Outside hunts can include things like a four leaf clover, a purple flower, a lady bug, etc. Inside options can be a 1984 penny, a yellow lego, a dust bunny (what, just me?)
Learn a new hobby together, like knitting. David’s mom taught Hailey to knit and she loves it. She’ll sit on the couch and knit while listening to Stories Podcast on Pandora. You can order knitting needles for kids and yarn online, then learn through YouTube (so many great tutorials!), or buy a circle loom all-in-one kit so they can make something they can really wear right off the bat!
Create a book club or start a weekly poetry tea time. You can do a book club different ways. Read aloud, then discuss, then watch the movie OR have them read the same book as a friend then do a Friday Zoom virtual book club where they can discuss. We also have taken our monthly poetry tea time virtual, where once a month we all zoom with our own tea, and take turns reading or reciting poetry to each other.
Write letters and mail them. We also paint pictures and mail them. Bonus! We’ve learned how to weigh our letters to determine how many stamps we need to mail it. Math and creativity all in one!
Work on a new skill. Hailey has learned to email her grandparents and friends, so our new skill to work on is typing. But there are so many skills to learn at home- how to make scrambled eggs, start a friction fire (parental supervision needed of course), learn to sew a button, etc, etc.
Play board games that don’t make you want to rip your hair out. Our current two favorites are Ticket to Ride and Parcheesi.
Let them create the menu and take the lead. This can be done for a real meal, or an afternoon snack. My girls love creating “Sister’s Restaurant,” complete with menu, forks rolled in napkins, background music, and some super crazy food options. My only rule is that is has to be truly edible so we don’t waste food, and we stick to that most of the time.
Geocaching. Ok, we haven’t done this yet, but it’s on my list! Have you tried it? Thoughts?
Building challenges! You can use legos, Magnatiles or Goobi, or heck, toothpicks and mini marshmallows! Creating different challenges is a blast. Who can build the tallest? The strongest? The best bridge? The coolest castle? Etc, etc.
Work on phone and Facetime skills. Hailey loves Facetiming with her friends and family, and it’s been great practice at learning to effectively communicate. I’ve been coaching her through etiquette of how to ask questions, hold the camera still, etc.
Watch old family videos and look through albums. Hailey and I LOVE family albums, so she’s actually been helping me finish up our 2019 album. We use Mixbook and they always turn out excellent. Here are the other ways we turn family memories into keepsakes.
Have a slumber party. Whether it’s in a tent in the backroom, a mattress on the back porch, or a pile on blankets on the floor of the bedroom, nothing excites my kids more than mom joining in on a slumber party. It doesn’t have it often, which only adds to the excitement, but painting nails, telling jokes, and reading books all piled into the same space is the ultimate bonding experience.
All in all, what matters most that I’ve noticed in intentional time. It doesn’t have to even be an extended amount of time, but setting aside an hour that is solely focused on being together does wonders.
Plus, I’ve noticed it forces me to reconnect with my inner kid and forget about the outside world for a while. Being silly is good for the soul!
What do you love doing with your big kid at home?
I’m hoping to find the time to catch up with my photo books, but in the meantime I ordered a bunch of prints from Costco and a traditional photo album, which my 6 year old loved putting together. We also got a bow and arrow set since we have an almost always deserted archery range to use just a few minutes walk from us. And also, board games as well.! My son loves Monopoly and I love the Colorado-opoly version. We dug out Clue and I also plan to watch the movie with my boys at some point. Yahtzee with a bowl of popcorn is an almost nightly event. He also really likes The Game of Life. I just bought Camp which is a fun leveled game with a outdoors/ camp theme, and Trekking the National Parks, which I’ve heard great things about. And, just saw that Walmart sells a board game version of Where is the World is Carmen Sandiego for $9 (loved that as a kid!), so I might have to get that also!
We’ve been playing lots of yard games: bocce ball, badminton, frisbee, and crochet. It’s been a blast. We are also on the fifth Harry Potter book. When we finish it, we will have a movie night.
Brittany Dixon says
Love that you are on the 5th Harry Potter! I wasn’t sure if the fourth would get too scary but I think I’m going to order it and go for it. We just love Harry so much 🙂
Interesting you mention this- I feel like I have seen more activity lists for older kids. Or elaborate toddler crafts that aren’t practcle if you have a baby, too. My three year old has lots to do, we are just trying to figure out being together all day (she was going to preschool) while making sure both kids get attention and care.
I do hope that you, Hailey, and Kaitlyn are having fun with new activities.
Brittany Dixon says
One of our favorite games around age three was “sink or float.” It’s great if you can fill up a bucket of water outside, or a bathtub inside. Then we’d collect objects, hypothesize whether we thought they would sink or float, then test them out to see if we were right. So simple and the kids loved it. We also liked building boats out of tinfoil to see how many pennies they could hold and still stay afloat. I know your hands are busy right now with those young ages! <3