Ideas for children ages 8 and 11 - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > Ideas for children ages 8 and 11
rabbithorns's Avatar rabbithorns 01:19 AM 06-15-2011

I've found myself with a new partner who has two children, a boy - 8, and a girl - nearly 11. My children are already grown (21 and 23) and I'm trying to remember what I did with them at those ages, what kind of activities they had.


We don't have much money and they aren't with us full-time. But I would like to create a nice environment that doesn't rely on going out and spending a lot of money to entertain (we're in Australia and it's very expensive here - I'm from the States) or playing video games all day.


Additionally, my partner and I are house/pet sitting so we don't have a place to store a million things for the kids.


I prefer Waldorf-related ideas because it requires more imagination. Some things I was thinking of was a tabletop puppet theater/ shadow puppet theater; sidewalk chalk; jump ropes; books; puzzles.....


Can anyone else think of some things we can have around for them to play with either on their own or with us? They arrive in 10 days for a whole week. We won't usually have them for that long, but this is a school holiday. 


Thanks for EVERY idea you have! LOL







Maedze's Avatar Maedze 05:54 AM 06-15-2011

I hate to tell you this, but your ideas would be a HUGE hit with *my* kids.  They are 6, 5 and almost 4 redface.gif     


Some 8 year olds may get excited about sidewalk chalk, but I can *almost* guarantee you that the typically developing 11 year old will give you a LOOK if you suggest puppets as a pastime ROTFLMAO.gif


In the States, the local public library often has free or very cheap discounted passes for local museum/zoo/outdoor attractions.   That would be a good place to start.    Can you budget one movie theater trip?  Waldorf can be fun, but it's not fair to push your ideas of 'normal' on two kids who are likely all ready have well developed ideas and interests, and they probably don't involved colored playsilks.  LOL.  


Also, call their other parent and *ask* what they'd like to do.   

bremen's Avatar bremen 06:16 AM 06-15-2011

board games, card games, puzzles, scavenger hunts, more advances artsy craftsy stuff like calligraphy and decoupage, nature walks or biking/ scootering/ inline skating as a family.

cooking adventures are fun. having the kids pic recipes, buy ingredients, and cook together.

but, realistically, i would say that board gmes and card games are the way to go!

rabbithorns's Avatar rabbithorns 06:49 AM 06-15-2011

thanks for the ideas. these kids are not American. they are still quite innocent and love things like sidewalk chalk. the 11 year old is not nearly the preteen my American daughter was at her age and the 8 year old boy still sits in dad's lap for a movie at home. it's very sweet.


what these kids usually do at home is watch TV and play video games. they love crafts, but the crafts they normally engage in are rather plastic and cheaply based. i was hoping to introduce them to some finer materials. so thanks for the calligraphy and decoupage ideas. i had forgotten about collage and design options. i had hoped to actually create a Victorian tabletop theater with them - a more mature version of the puppet theater.


movies cost $15 per person in Australia. not a likely venture at present. the local zoo is $40 per adult admission. even with discounts, we can't afford to go right now.


i love the idea of cooking together. and i've been told they love the beach and we'll be house sitting near the shore.


thanks for the ideas!


ollyoxenfree's Avatar ollyoxenfree 08:32 AM 06-15-2011


I know a lot of Aussie kids that age, and I also questioned whether sidewalk chalk and puppets would keep an 11 y.o. amused for long. But you know their individual interests and we don't, so if you think that's what they will enjoy, that's great. 


A few other ideas - 


- whittling and carving (maybe with driftwood from the beach??) - they are a good age to learn to use knives properly

- collections - shells, beach glass, seaweed, bird feathers - there are lots of ways to preserve and display them

- if you have a camera: photo essays and scrapbooks - they can have fun with photo editing software 

- if you have a video camera: producing their own films - they can explore different genres - dramas, documentaries, animation....

- beach cricket or rugby (or teach them American baseball) 

- bushwalks - before you go, set out a list of flora and fauna that you might see and check it off as you trek (and take photos for the scrapbook)

- tie dying, stenciling and screenprinting t-shirts, aprons, cotton grocery bags, etc. My dc like to hand-cut their own stencils (from paper, cardboard, freezer paper works really well because you can iron it onto the fabric and peel it off after you paint with fabric paint) to create wearable artworks. They stencil all sorts of stuff - rock band logos, video game characters and symbols, animal and bird silhouettes....









nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 08:59 AM 06-15-2011

I think buying some nice paints would be a hit.  Most kids love to paint, and it's not often that they get the chance.  Real clay is great too.  Then, let it dry and paint it.  If you can get shrinky dinks, those are still some of my favorite things.  


UNO cards are also really good for a few hours at a time.


If it's warm there right now, maybe take them swimming every day or so.   I'm in Phoenix, so our perception of "warm enough" is different than everybody elses.



insidevoice's Avatar insidevoice 10:38 AM 06-15-2011

I guess with kids that age, I'd be inclined to ask them what they would like to do.  I know my oldest (nearly 10) would get a kick out of puppets etc, but she'd only really be interested if I also provided her with a video camera so she could write and record some shows to upload to youtube.  :P  


I think you are shooting a touch low in terms of developmental age with what you were thinking of.  Sidewalk chalk might be cool for them- if they can use it to make murals or to draw on the side of a building.. 


The beach would be a big hit- pack a cooler and plan to just hang out all day.  The kids will probably find other kids their age to hang out with and ignore you most of the time, but that's about where they should be developmentally. 


Cards and board games are likely to be met with eye rolling- until you actually start playing  Then they won't want to stop. 


A bonfire or small fire outdoors and a bunch of stuff to grill (or a way to make some awesome camp-ish food) will probably be met with success.   


Cooking can be great if they are into that, but hiking, exploring, etc will e free and get you all out of the house if you want a chance to escape together. 

nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 12:43 PM 06-15-2011

Also.. food.  At this age they love food.  Good stuff.  Not celery with raisins. 

insidevoice's Avatar insidevoice 12:47 PM 06-15-2011

Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

Also.. food.  At this age they love food.  Good stuff.  Not celery with raisins. 

Uh huh!  DD is having a friend over tomorrow night.  It will be a night of making pita pocket pizzas over a fire, and banana boats and other ooey gooey stuff that isn't part of our daily meal plans. 

rabbithorns's Avatar rabbithorns 09:30 PM 06-15-2011


oooh! thanks for all the wonderful ideas. i think i don't remember doing stuff with my own kids at those ages because they were already involved with friends all the time. i didn't have to entertain them or come up with activities at that point. thanks so much.