what are your 7-8 yos doing? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i know this sort of question has been asked a gazillion times but i need a refresher.

my 7yo, soon to be 8 in january, says he's bored so i need ideas of independent things for him to do. we do weekly bowling and park days with a local homeschool group. he's in a weekly homeschool chorus class and just started basketball after over a year of tae kwon do that we are taking a break from. the sports are in the evenings so we need daytime things. I have heard there is a homeschool band but can't get a response from the contact person about it. I also just learned of a homeschool art class I'm going to look into for him but we can't afford to pay much right now. There are museums and such around but they are so expensive that we can't go to them very often.

So, what kinds of projects or activities do your kids do at home on their own? What materials do you keep on hand for them and how do you encourage them to use them? I have tons of books and paper and paints and crayons and markers and pencils and toys but he doesn't use them much. He spends most of his time watching TV or playing video games. I don't mind that if that's what he wants to do but he says he only does those things because he's bored and there's nothing else to do.

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#2 of 27 Old 12-06-2011, 09:18 AM
 
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My 8-year-old is on a bit of a video and computer-game kick these days, being rather passionate about Minecraft and Dr. Who. So we've seen screen time ramp up a fair bit lately. But here are the other things she spends her days at:

 

Crafts ... she's currently sewing a family of "monsters" to give as a Christmas gift. She also likes knitting and origami, though she hasn't done much of those the past few months.

 

Baking ... she has gradually become very capable in the kitchen and can do up lovely cookies, squares, muffins, desserts and even entrées. Cooking is her go-to activity when she's bored.

 

Hanging out with friends. Two afternoons a week she hangs out with friends. One time it's a social date with another homeschooling family. The other time it's a trip to the city with a bunch of teenagers (including her older brother and sister -- I'm the taxi driver) for choir rehearsal, and she loves the social time with them.

 

Violin. She studies violin, so she practices every day and has a lesson once a week, and about once a week there's a group class or a chamber ensemble rehearsal. 

 

Fitness-related stuff. We're lucky enough that she can attend the school for their fitness-related activities up to three times a week (she's there as I write this). We also walk the dog, go on nature hikes, do some geocaching from time to time, XC ski, run on the trails, or attend the community gym to play badminton or basketball or something. We aim for 60 minutes of physical activity a day, on average. Most of this is stuff I have to facilitate, but it's time and energy well-spent because she tends to be much more energetic and less aimless after being active.

 

Reading. She had grown out of the habit of reading for pleasure over the past few months. To get her back into that I started making hot drinks for the two of us and serving them on a little tray in front of the fire in the living room, sitting down with my own book, and offering her two or three novels to choose from. Now she is reading regularly again.

 

Documentaries. Either on-line or on DVD. She especially loves Planet Earth, The Elegant Universe, Connections, Life and has recently been enjoying Canada: A People's History because she wanted to learn more about Canadian history.

 

She's also a fairly academic kid, so she sometimes engages in big academic jags, spending a couple of hours with curriculum materials. Lately, not so much. But for most of the fall she was spending maybe an hour a day at that.

 

HTH!

 

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#3 of 27 Old 12-07-2011, 12:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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on a whim, i took my boys to the children's museum. thay have a weekly international cooking club that includes learning a little bit about the country of origin of the dish and the significance of it. they really enjoyed that. the whole thing cost me around $55-65 so it's not something we can do often.

my 7yo complained the whole way there and the whole way back (an hour and 20 minutes one way) even though he was the complaining about being bored at home. seems i can't win with that kid.

the baby cooperated today so we built a gingerbread house.

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#4 of 27 Old 12-07-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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My 8yo (nearly 9) is writing a story like the Meet books from American girl.  She is currently up to 4 chapters.  She also loves doing workbooks.  Shes a fun one. 


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#5 of 27 Old 12-07-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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The biggest thing my 7yo is doing right now is making toys for his toy shop. Most of these are toys he makes out of junk - recyclables, random craft supplies, that type of thing. He is also sewing a few things.

 

He's also spending a lot of time on a new obsession: Moshi Monsters. He plays it online, chats on the phone to friends about it, draws pictures about it, and when he has friends over, they 'play it' outside. He just bought a book about it today from his allowance.

 

He also spends time reading, playing soccer (a lot - inside and outside! anything on the ground MUST be kicked!), learning the piano, playing with his baby brother, playing with Lego...

 

Oh we do an activity-based advent calendar so each day at the moment we do something related to that as well.

 

HTH!

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#6 of 27 Old 12-09-2011, 12:32 PM
 
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Marine-Wife, did you see my post about too much video game time? Sounds like we have some similar gripes (my son is 8). It seems like boys often don't do the writing and crafts and baking that girls like to do. I guess video games just appeal to them more.

 

Have you tried things like wooden blocks or Tinker Toys or straws and connectors? My son loves those things, though he'll only do them if video games are turned off. In better weather we have a tree house and trampoline, bike, scooter, etc. which takes up a lot of his time too... I'm going to subscribe for more ideas for boys :)

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#7 of 27 Old 12-09-2011, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have all kinds of building blocks and Legos. He does play with them some but not much. I've been thinking that maybe I should put a limit on when the TV or video games can be turned on or that it all needs to be turned off after a bit but can be turned back on later. That goes against my radical unschooling thinking but I have experienced how both he and my 4 year old do more and play better without the TV and video games. He does turn them off himself after a while, though. I've even heard him say that playing video games too much is not healthy as he turns it off so he can limit himself.

My son does like to cook but I don't much. He gets more of that when his dad is home.

beckington~ I'm very interested in the toy making. Did your son come up with that on his own or did you show him how? Do you work with him or does he do it mostly on his own?

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#8 of 27 Old 12-11-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post

My son does like to cook but I don't much. He gets more of that when his dad is home.


Couldn't he cook some things by himself? Or learn to do so? Start with one simple recipe. A couple of runs with a bit of assistance and he'd probably be good on his own. After he's comfortable with that recipe he can start gradually expanding his repertoire. For my kids baking things entirely on their own gave them a huge sense of accomplishment and they were eager to do so. After that they just kind of took off. I would be handed shopping lists each week for whatever they had planned.


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#9 of 27 Old 12-11-2011, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yes, i guess he could start cooking more on his own. he does make pancakes pretty much by himself. i think i'll ask for a few things he'd like to make so i can pick up the ingredients.

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#10 of 27 Old 12-12-2011, 09:06 AM
 
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Mine is also very into computer-based activities.  But he also enjoys legos and drawing comics and watching history and science documentaries. The encouragement he gets from his kung fu teacher keeps him interested in practicing that as well.  He likes for us to just sit and talk about current events.  He's built some wood kits in the past, and I am putting together a small workshop area for him to tinker about with hand tools. I may put his electronics stuff there too, as I think it may rekindle his interest in that.

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#11 of 27 Old 12-12-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post
beckington~ I'm very interested in the toy making. Did your son come up with that on his own or did you show him how? Do you work with him or does he do it mostly on his own?

 

Oh, it's really basic stuff - imagine lots of toilet rolls, tin cans and tape!! :) He does it on his own. I keep out recyclables that I think look like they have building potential for him and throw it in his pile of stuff for him to discover. The sewing I did show him though. He's been talking recently ababout using wood and tools to make stuff but we haven't got there yet.
 

 

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#12 of 27 Old 12-12-2011, 10:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, ok. Maybe I should start a collection of recyclables for my boys. My 7yo has been talking for a while about building things for a while. I'm waiting for my dh to be home long enough to clean out a space in the garage and get to work with him.

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#13 of 27 Old 12-12-2011, 11:22 AM
 
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My 8 year old is obsessed with Monster High dolls.  She spends a lot of her time making them outfits.  She also enjoys Story of the World and listening to The Wizard Of Oz on Librivox.  She plays outside a lot, and enjoys doing "schoolwork" on theheadoftheclass.com.  She takes a monthly zoo class and also, and once a week she goes to the library to read to the therapy dog there.


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#14 of 27 Old 12-12-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post

Oh, ok. Maybe I should start a collection of recyclables for my boys. My 7yo has been talking for a while about building things for a while. I'm waiting for my dh to be home long enough to clean out a space in the garage and get to work with him.



 

I do not homeschool or unschool - just like reading in these forums bag.gif - but...my 7yo son loves building things.  In addition to recycled materials he has a pile of wood scraps, tiles, basically any building material and some basic tools and wood glue.  Lately he made a little table and a shelf out of wood and glass tiles.  (The table is more decorative...I do not think it would hold too much!)  My daughter, also 7, loves building things too.  Often their 'inventions' are not functional or even identifiable but they have so much fun making them.  The only problem is figuring out what to do with all their creations.  My children prefer to not follow plans.  Many 7-8 yo's would like to follow plans that you can find online. 

 

 

 

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#15 of 27 Old 12-13-2011, 12:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Qalliope View Post

Mine is also very into computer-based activities.  But he also enjoys legos and drawing comics and watching history and science documentaries. The encouragement he gets from his kung fu teacher keeps him interested in practicing that as well.  He likes for us to just sit and talk about current events.  He's built some wood kits in the past, and I am putting together a small workshop area for him to tinker about with hand tools. I may put his electronics stuff there too, as I think it may rekindle his interest in that.



Your boy and mine sound very very similar. Computers, drawing comics, documentaries... but the woodworking, not so much. Maybe because he hasn't been introduced to it much, but also he has some fine motor issues. I should see if he'd bite on that one... he has helped his dad build a treehouse and loved it...

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#16 of 27 Old 12-13-2011, 02:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 


Couldn't he cook some things by himself? Or learn to do so? Start with one simple recipe. A couple of runs with a bit of assistance and he'd probably be good on his own. After he's comfortable with that recipe he can start gradually expanding his repertoire. For my kids baking things entirely on their own gave them a huge sense of accomplishment and they were eager to do so. After that they just kind of took off. I would be handed shopping lists each week for whatever they had planned.


Miranda

This reminded me of the book I read recently entitled "50 Dangerous Things....", which was a fun book.  One of the ideas was to bake something of your own invention.  NPR has an interview with the author, who also runs a camp....(crap! what was it called?)  Great interview.  Fun ideas.  Great book.

 

Bon apetit!

 


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#17 of 27 Old 12-13-2011, 05:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just got home from buying ingredients to bake cookies. My ds has also said he wants to make chili so that is on our list. It will be fun!

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#18 of 27 Old 12-14-2011, 10:11 AM
 
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For a cheaper alternative to the international cooking class, why not try looking up international recipes at home and making one and talking a bit about the country the recipe comes from. You don't have to drive (except maybe to shop for the ingredients, but then even the shopping is learning) and you could even mark on a world map places you have tried recipes from. We have done this before (with my 8yr old boy, 6 yr old girl, and 3 yr old girl) and it has been great fun.

 

 

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#19 of 27 Old 12-14-2011, 11:37 AM
 
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Maybe because he hasn't been introduced to it much, but also he has some fine motor issues. I should see if he'd bite on that one... he has helped his dad build a treehouse and loved it...

 

Do you have Lowe's or Home Depot in Canada?   The big box home improvement stores have free weekend workshops with little kits to introduce kids to woodworking. Thats how ds got into it; plus, they send you home with whatever little bundle of tools the kids need for the project.  So you wind up with a child-sized hammer, goggles, work apron, etc.

 

 

A dedicated workspace makes ds much more inclined to pursue whatever he is into. I think often video and computer games are chosen out of convenience.  Nothing to set up, clear a space for, or clean up afterwards with all the sense of accomplishment you get from a real-world project.  I'm trying to work around that without constantly doing the work involved in getting projects jump-started myself. 

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#20 of 27 Old 12-14-2011, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have both a Home Depot and a Lowe's here. I've been told the Lowe's classes are better. I keep meaning to take my boys but always forget. Getting up and doing something on a Saturday morning isn't in my usual routine of things to do. I need to mark it on my calendar with reminders so I'm more likely to do it.

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#21 of 27 Old 12-18-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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We have a Home Depot and Lowes too. I will definitely check into those for the classes. It's great that they are on weekends b/c all of the local homeschooling activities are on the weekdays when we can't go. We actually know 0 homeschooling families personally and that is certainly isolating/frustrating.

 

I agree about video games being chosed out of convenience. DS actually told me a couple of days ago that when he tries to do anything OTHER than games, he gets in trouble (he's loud during naptime, fighting with the toddlers, running around in areas of the house where he's not supposed to, etc.) That really struck a cord with me. I honestly can't wait to quit running my home daycare because I feel I can then devote alot more time to playing board games, reading, and doing experiments, etc. but that might be a pipe dream too with a 3 yr old, 1 yr old and a newborn!

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#22 of 27 Old 12-27-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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My eight-year-old son's big interests right now are constellations/stargazing, Beyblades (the tops), Pokemon, and atheism/religion.  The last one is a pretty big deal: he's trying to find his place as a member of a humanist family that happens to live in a small town in the Bible belt.  After the local Christmas parade, when a group marching in the parade gave him a religious tract stuck inside a bag of goodies, he went on a binge making "alternate" tracts that presented a humanist point of view. 

 

I enjoy the constellation talk way more than the Beyblades and Pokemon stuff.  A couple of weeks ago, he made up a version of charades in which he would act out the story of one of the constellations (using simple props like his archery bow, markers taped to his head to represent horns, etc.).  It was really fun for all of us.

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#23 of 27 Old 12-27-2011, 04:18 PM
 
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My son is 11 but 8 wasn't that long ago.  Can you get a membership to the museum?  I've found that seeking out memberships drastically cuts down on the costs.  Memberships sometimes also reduces the costs of classes at museums as well.  Check into reciprocal memberships as well. (So like the science center membership is also good at the planetarium etc).

 

At age 8 my son loved legos, lego has a program you can download and build on the computer (free and no internet needed for the program).  He loved puzzles too.  Any type of art project.  Going to the park, being outside.  'School' took up a bit of time.   We went to the library 2-4x a week.  The library has some kids programs he did too.


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#24 of 27 Old 12-27-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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Books have been our greatest tools so far. We recently got Explorer: A Daring Guide for Young Adventurers (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0763636487/ref=oh_o02_s01_i00_details). It has been an awesome source of ideas for her. DD (7 next month) uses it as a jumping off point for finding things she wants to know more about, and the tips for being a young adventurer have really given her imagination a boost. She's now requesting help with researching Ancient Egypt, and wants to know everything about King Tut.

 

She loves the Ology series as well. She just got Bringing Up Baby Dragons (http://www.amazon.com/Dragonology-Bringing-Baby-Dragons-Ologies/dp/0763636525/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I2HK9EZ0M2BYHD&colid=3PXHNXME3YZVQ) and has had a lot of fun with it. I plan on getting her the rest of the Dragonology books soon. Right now she's working on her drawing and creative writing skills to document the imaginary baby dragons she's rearing.

 

Faeries: Deluxe Collector's Edition (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0810995867/ref=oh_o02_s01_i01_details) resulted in the idea to start a fantasy novel together. We've been working on it little by little for the last couple of months and she's very proud of it.

 

Children's encyclopedias have also been really great for helping her to find interesting subjects to look into.

 

Books aside, gardening is a pretty strong interest right now. She's been tending a couple tomato plants on her own, and they look great. She has a journal she uses to document what she's doing to care for them and how they're changing. She's also really into insects, and likes to observe them. Sending her outside with a magnifying glass, a mesh "observation house," and a notebook keeps her happy for a good while. I'm planning on setting her up with a worm farm, an ant farm, and a praying mantis soon.

 

Tools for exploring the world around her are invaluable for us, though we don't have much yet. I've done a lot of scrounging around, and made what I could to come up with an exploration kit for her. For awhile she's been asking for a microscope, a telescope, and a chemistry set. I know she'd get a lot of use out of those, so I'll try to come up with those soon.

 

I definitely agree that having a special work space set aside can encourage a child to pursue their current interests. Getting her own desk isn't practical right now, so I cleared half of mine and declared it her personal work space, and boy does it see a lot of use. Also, she has a case with a handle to carry her notebooks, pencils, and various exploration supplies to serve as her on-the-go work space.

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#25 of 27 Old 12-28-2011, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone. You all have given some great ideas. I'll check out those books.

I am working on getting an annual membership to the Children's Museum. I was planning to use the money my Grandad always sends for the holidays but he didn't send it this year. So, I have to see if I can figure something else out. They do have a reciprocal membership.

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#26 of 27 Old 01-05-2012, 01:18 AM
 
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My son is also really into video games and computers. Rather than set limits on it, I simply offer to do something with him if I feel he is "stuck". Or his sister often asks him to play with her (they make up elaborate stories using stuffed animals, plastic animal figurines, LPS toys, you name it). If I ask DS he will always put aside his computer stuff to do something with me, like a craft (one day we made robots out of toilet paper rolls and pipe cleaners, etc) or he loves to build things out of Lego (like a mini TV, Minecraft figures, and other game-related objects) by following YouTube instructional videos (he needs assistance to do this). He also loves to jump on our trampoline but sometimes needs it suggested to him (his response often has the tone of "great idea - why didn't I think of that?").

 

My point is that sometimes kids need a little push to move on from something, like computer time, because really they *would* enjoy doing something else but it hasn't occurred to them. And since I'm not the sort of mama who spends a lot of sit down time with my kids, when I offer it is almost always received with excitement (lol). I'd use "setting limits" on screen time as a last resort because it involves conflicts and battles where maybe none are needed.


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#27 of 27 Old 01-05-2012, 07:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm not a fan of external, arbitrary limits, either. my ds will stop playing the games to play with friends (most of the time) but is not so eager to do anything else with me or his little bro. i have found that when i tell them the TV has to stay off until after noon, everything is much more pleasant. they don't fight and bicker as much. they find imaginative play things to do together. they eat better.

I did that this morning and after a little fuss over them wanting the TV on we've had a very nice morning. We made bacon and pancakes. The boys worked together and played together and talked and got along very nicely. My 7yo is now playing his video game but both the boys are still getting along very nicely. Talking about the game rather than bickering about who's turn it is or who is bothering who while someone is trying to concentrate. But, I had to insist that they not turn the TV on. If I had just suggested, they would have gone straight to playing the video game.

knit.gifSAHM to 3 boys and 1 man; 22 jammin.gif, 9REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, 5 FIREdevil.gifand now 1 year oldtoddler.gif!

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