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.
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?