Big kids crave time with their parents too, it’s not just the little ones who need attention. Our older kids may not seem to care (or know how to tell you), but boy are they happier after spending quality time with family! Here are some ideas for how to engage with your big kids while you’re safe at home.
Spending Time with our Big Kids
Well, our daily lives certainly have changed in recent weeks, to say the least. For our big kids, this means no more playdates with their friends, no more activities or sports after school, heck no more SCHOOL! While we’re all safe at home during this crisis, spending time with our big kids helps to reassure them that we are always here for them, even when everything else seems to have changed. Here are some ideas of how to engage with your big kids.
Classics like Connect 4 and Uno never get old in our house. Whether it’s a quick game between remote learning assignments, or a family game night, it’s easy to let your big kid see your friendly competitive side as you play against each other. For older kids who like video games, maybe now’s the time to learn their favorites, even if they beat you over and over again!
Coloring books are the easiest place to start, and there is no shortage of free printables online if you don’t already have some in the house. If you’re feeling more creative, pull out some paints and try to replicate your favorite artistic masterpiece, or paint a scene from your favorite family trips. My personal favorite is using paint pens to decorate rocks from the front yard, and then hiding the colorful gems at a local park for our neighbors to collect!
While these are often solitary pursuits for many, I love doing puzzles with my big kids. Someone starts on the border, another one sorts pieces by color or scene, and then we all start putting together what we can before combining all the vignettes into the finished puzzle. Quiet conversation often ensues while working on a common project. In my family, we usually do puzzles with travel or animal themes, and I find that my kids love to reminisce about family vacations or share funny stories about our dog. Puzzle piece puns aside, it’s a great way to connect!
I have to admit, I’m not one of those cool moms who’s OK with the kids making a giant mess in the kitchen. Cooking with my kids is an exercise in patience for me, but I’m trying to let them do more in the name of math and science! Reading a recipe, measuring ingredients, and following instructions is just like doing a science experiment in a school lab, so why not give them an introduction to the methods at home, and then you get to eat the delicious results! We started with a simple pound cake, which gets its name from each ingredient weighing a pound. Here was our home experiment version: ask the kids to weigh two eggs (in the shell), and write down the weight. Then, use that number to weigh an equal amount of the following: butter, flour, and sugar. Mix it all together, add a little vanilla, bake at 350 degrees until done (test with a clean toothpick in the center), and enjoy a warm slice of cake with your budding pastry chefs!
5. Engineering Challenges
Card houses, marble runs, obstacle courses, Legos, magnets… there are so many options! For extra fun, make a video of the finished project, or set up a timelapse camera to record the process. Check out ideas on YouTube and recreate them in your house, or come up with something new to get the ol’ gears working!
We hope these suggestions spur on some more ideas for spending time with your big kids. If all else fails, grab some cozy blankets and snuggle on the couch together with your favorite book or movie. Stress affects all of us differently, so don’t feel pressured to do all the crafts and time capsules and breadmaking and scavenger hunts! It’s OK if you want to do nothing. We know, as moms, that doing “nothing” still means being there for our children. However you choose to spend time with your big kids, you can’t go wrong when you offer them some undivided attention (even if only for a short activity!) especially during times like these.