My eldest is turning twelve in two weeks, and my younger is 7 and a half (and she will tell you just how important that half is). Like most children these days, TV, computer games and various ipod/pad/phone devices are a favourite pastime. Finding a family activity that they’re both interested in can be a challenge, and if I have to play with trains or barbies one more time, I think my head will explode. So, what to do to drag them away from the screen? Here are some ideas to keep both old and younger kids amused.
Build something together, either with cardboard or wood if you’re feeling adventurous. My daughter loves her doll house that we made out of a shoebox, and it is surprisingly fun to decorate.
Make a family scrapbook of your last holiday, special birthday or event. It gives you a chance to finally go through the photos, and having the kids write down their recollections and favourite parts makes for a wonderful keepsake in years to come.
Baking! Both of mine loves to cook, and it gets a weekend chore out of the way as well. I like to make biscuits and slices for lunch boxes rather than store bought. Both of the kids also like to help with dinner, though make sure to save this one for a weekend, and not when you have 15 minutes to get something edible on the table.
Go on an adventure. Adventure time is a favourite here, and so I suggest we go searching for monsters. We are lucky to have a beautiful nature walk nearby, and as the weather fines up you can get some exercise and get the kids to let some steam off hunting for creepy crawlies in the bushes. If you take a plastic bag, you could collect some special finds for the Backyard Still Life activity I mentioned in a previous blog post.
Take a class together at the local community centre. This one requires a little more planning, but can be well worth it. Most councils have a local community centre that usually offer a wide range of classes, both term long and for just a few weeks. Cooking, painting, jewellery making, self defence, computer animation, public speaking, anything!
Take a trip to the library and spend the afternoon reading together. This one is surprisingly effective, even for the older kids. Mr 12 loves to spend an afternoon immersed in the comic section, and for Miss 7 our library has a wonderful children’s area, complete with a boat to sit in while reading.
Jigsaw puzzle. If you have a spare table or pieces of floor, try setting up a giant jigsaw puzzle. We were once going on one for over a month, and you’d find yourself hovering over it every time you passed it, trying to fit in just one more piece.
What no screen activity do you like best at your house? Let me know in the comments.