Rainy Day Fun
Tweens' need for exercise continues even when the weather drips and drizzles, and being cooped up in the house can make them cranky. Some children even resist going outside to play on a bright, sunny day. Luckily, there are lots of tween-pleasing activities to spark their interest.Indoor Athletics
After you've sent your child outside to taste the rain, slosh through puddles, and play catch with water-filled balloons, you may need to find an indoor activity to keep her occupied. Give her and her friend the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels to use as a bat, a balloon to use as a ball, and suggest they play a game of baseball — make that “balloonball.” Alternatively, tie a long piece of string across a room so they can play balloon volleyball. Obviously you may need to safeguard knickknacks and move sharp-edged coffee tables off to the side.
If you want to join in the fun, hold a rope with a rag tied to the other end. Have the children gather around and try to jump the rag as you twirl it in a circle beneath their feet.
For a great group party game, stretch a string across the floor, put half the kids on one side of it and half on the other, give each a hefty supply of paper wads, and have each team try to clear its side of the wads by kicking, tossing, or pushing them over the line to the other team's side.
When your child is ready to calm down, consider the old tween standbys from generations past. Jacks and a ball, marbles, a beanbag toss, juggling, jigsaw puzzles, or pick-up-sticks. They're as good as videogames for developing hand-to-eye coordination.
Organizing photo albums is one of those projects parents keep meaning to get around to but continually postpone because it feels more like work than fun. Consider turning the job over to your tween, who is likely to approach it with enthusiasm. Encourage him to bring some creativity to the task by cutting a few of the photos into interesting shapes, making construction paper borders, inserting catchy captions here and there, and adding some hand-drawn designs. For more ideas, give your child
Suggest he select a few of the photos for a genealogy project. Your tween can tape-record interviews with relatives, research the family tree, contact distant cousins by e-mail, or correspond with uncles and aunts. When he's finished, have him photocopy his stories and notes, duplicate the audiotapes and photos, and put them in decorated folders to send to extended family members. They'll no doubt consider it the best present they have ever received.
Another great rainy day project is whipping up a batch of homemade Silly Putty. Simply pour one tablespoon of liquid starch into a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix two tablespoons of white glue and two to three drops of food coloring. Pour the glue onto the starch, and allow the mixture to stand for five minutes or until the glue absorbs the starch. Remove it from the bowl and knead it until the desired consistency is obtained. Store the Silly Putty in a sealed plastic bag or a plastic Easter egg.Classic Games
It's easy to pour money into cheap plastic toys and games that your tween barely plays with before relegating to the back of a closet. Why bother when spending a bit more on a truly kid-friendly game will yield years of fun? Think of the games you enjoyed most as a child. Classic toys have staying power that transcends generations. How about any of these?
Chutes and Ladders
Teach your child to care for his games by taking out only one at a time and putting all the pieces back in the box correctly. Once pieces are lost and cards are bent, the games are ruined. Remember, these games are fun for the whole family. They're a great way to spend time with your tween!