Summer activities for a twelve year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-25-2011, 11:27 AM - Thread Starter
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First time posting but long time lurker, lol.  Hoping to get some feedback from smart ladies.


After working full time outside the home for the past several years, I now find myself working from home.  In the past, my twelve year old has gone to our local Rec center while I worked so she had plenty to do.  Now she is home and is quickly becoming bored.


It feels awful to say it, but I have NO idea what to do with her.  She's an only child and doesn't have many friends in the neighborhood.  She's content to spend hours on the computer.  For various reasons, that's not what I want for her.  I ask her if she wants to invite the friends she does have over and I get a shrug.  I ask her what she'd like to do and I get a shrug.


We have her signed up for a week of sleep away camp and a week long cooking day camp but I'd really like to do some things that don't cost a ton of money.  Does anyone have any suggestions?


It makes me sad to see her just stuck inside on the computer and not interacting with real life friends.  Is this the new normal?

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#2 of 7 Old 06-25-2011, 01:06 PM
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Are you looking for things to do with her or things to entertain her while you work from home? At her age, there probably isn't many things she can do totally on her own. I'm not sure if you can drop her off at the pool without adult supervision for example but I could totally be wrong.


I will say, it's not such a bad thing to have down time. It this is her first summer at home, it's to be expected that she doesn't know what to do with so much unstructured time. Sometimes you just need to get bored before getting the motivation to DO something.


I'd not plan out too much for her but you might consider having a few routine days like Tuesday is going to the pool, Friday she cooks a meal for the family. Check your local movie theatres. In the summer, some have free or 2 dollar days where they show old movies on the big screen. Those might be a good days to drop her and a friend off at the movies. You might look into community service. See if there is a place she can volunteer once a week like the animal shelter or the food bank (age can be an issue but there are groups that will allow 12-year-olds to be helpers.) Is there anything she might like to learn like knitting? Summer is a good time for hobbies.  Like I sa



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#3 of 7 Old 06-26-2011, 04:46 PM
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My girl, who was 12 at the time, spent last summer volunteering at the library 3 days a week. It was a good way for her to get out of the house and build some independence.

12 is a tough age - you can't entertain them like when they were little, but they can't do a lot on their own... and the friend thing can be really hard. The suggestions above are great, and I second the "down time" idea. Sometimes they do just need to do nothing for a while.


DD spent her free time last summer riding her bike around the neighborhood, doing craft kits or sidewalk chalk, painting, reading (she loves putting a blanket out in the back yard under a tree and bringing snacks out with her to read or draw), walking to the neighborhood market or the ice cream shop, watching movies, sewing, and practicing ukelele. She also did a fair amount of toenail painting and hair experimentation.

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#4 of 7 Old 06-26-2011, 05:14 PM
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I agree. It's hard because they're sort of caught in between 2 levels of independence. We have season passes to our local water park & pool but she can't go without someone at least 16 so either one of my ds or I have to take her. She does like to go roller skating & we drop her off there like once a week. They aren't open during the day though so that's an evening activity. She doesn't really have a ton of friends & doesnt really like social activities. I don't mind that so much as long as she's doing a variety of things as opposed to sitting on the computer. She does love the library though & there are some cool things at ours in the summer. She loves artwork & clothing/jewelry design so that takes up a lot of her time. We also go walking at the park & sometimes we just have a backyard beach party with a big blow up pool, cool summer snacks & drinks (even better if she can make them) and music. I have the benefit of being off work for the summer so I'm a little more free to do things with her so that may not work out for you.
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#5 of 7 Old 06-26-2011, 06:10 PM
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I'm curious as to what kind of resources you have around you.  For sure take a look at the similar thread where people gave a whole bunch of ideas for my ds 14.  If you have a library near you, it could definitely be a great resource.


What is your feeling about screen time limits?  Can you express your concerns to her about needing variety away from the computer in order to have a well-rounded growing experience and see if you can work together to find a way for your concerns about screen time to be met while still giving her enough of what she gets from the computer?


Also, do you think she might be willing to take a little responsibility for cooking at home?  I.e. choosing a recipe, giving you a list of groceries to buy, then making it herself for the family?  What about making things - building with wood, sewing, etc. - is there an adult relative or friend who could get her started on a project she would enjoy?


How about looking on-line or in books for activity ideas?  There's a great book about building forts (can't remember the name - Treehouses and Forts or something like that).  If you find some of these that are good for her, please post them here, especially web sites.  We have lots of such books, like American Boys Handibook, and some sillier ones.  I understand there is a girls version of ABH but read that it wasn't as good.  May want to get both out of the library.



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#6 of 7 Old 06-26-2011, 07:31 PM
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Why can't she still go to the rec center?

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#7 of 7 Old 06-27-2011, 08:57 AM
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did you see this recent thread?


I think 12 is a hard age for girls, and I wouldn't assume that any of this is because your work situation changed. I think 12 year old girls tend to be difficult regardless of what their moms do (anyway, that's what I told myself about my DDs when they were 12! hide.gif)


I put more requirements on my kids now than I did when they were little. They have to be in something physical this summer (they both choose swim team, but I would have been fine with something less intense, like a dance class) and they have to do volunteer work, but they get to pick what. They are also both doing the Teen Summer Reading Program at the library. It's enough.


As far as the shrug, I think it's normal,  but not an end to the conversation. Getting out of the house and around the 3-dimensional people is really good for kids, even though they may not feel like it.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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