Recommend activities to do with a 5th and a 6th grader

I just struck a deal with my future sister-in-law to pick up her kids one day a week after school and hang out with them for the afternoon. Kids are a fifth-grade girl and a sixth-grade boy. I’m not sure of their exact ages.

I’d like to do some cool stuff with them. They’re pretty good kids. They like to hang out at my house and play with my dogs, but I’d like to have some other activites to do as well. I figure we’ll do some baking/cooking, and probably some hikes and other outdoor stuff, but I’d like some other ideas as well.

I have at my disposal:

  • a small town
  • lots of land (I live on 11 acres)
  • a creek
  • 2 dogs
  • a little bit of money to spend
  • probably 2-4 hours per week
  • snow in the winter

I don’t have:

  • museums and other “big city” stuff
  • an unlimited budget
  • a swimming pool, trampline, or other “kid” stuff
  • great outdoor weather all the time

We have Big Winters here, so I’ll need both indoor and fall/winter outdoor activities.

Do you by any chance have a BB gun? Depending on the type of kids they are, that’s a serious answer.

Laser tag. You can get some cheapo equipment at Wal-Mart I bet.

Used bikes. Get them for under $10 at a thrift store.

Unfortunatly, I’ll be willing to bet that some stupid video game system would be what they would really enjoy. I wouldn’t get them that though. I would get them MOTORCYCLES! You could make a pretty good track with 11 acres and a watercrossing.

I would have thought that all you needed to entertain kids that age would be a TV, and maybe Cable.

Although a pellet gun would make you the coolest thing since TV. (Unless they already have one)

Anything motorized would also make you the coolest thing

Speaking as a parent of a 5th grader (male), I first saw your list and thought, “Dogs and a creek…sounds like a great idea” (although somewhat messy).

During the winter, my son gets tired of watching television/computer/video games. We’ve created major projects, which includes everything from turning a room into a maze (use furniture, blankets, etc.) to doing puzzles, to making puppet theatres (which may now be a bit childish) which includes making the puppets. I’ve found that kids really like having something to show for their work–my son helped me build a television cabinet awhile back and he still refers to it as “his” cabinet (even though we all use it).

I would second the bikes (if there’s a place to ride), and yep, I’d even second the BB guns (even though I’m not a “gun” fan). However, I’d ask them to come up with some stuff they would like to do. You may not realistically be able to accomplish what they want to do, but you may be able to adapt it to your surroundings.

Here’s a cheap game called “Frustrated Artist.”

You need a large pad of newsprint, markers (because of the newsprint, you want to get the kind that don’t bleed – bright-color highlighters work well), and some index cards.

Each player’s job is to draw a picture in 60 seconds and to guess what the others have drawn. They pick the subject from one set of index cards “You must draw a horse.” Then they draw a second card, which is where the frustration comes in. The second card is their handicap card, which tells them that they must draw the horse, for example, “blindfolded,” or “with the pen held between your teeth,” or “from three feet away with the pen tied to one end of a yardstick and you holding the other end,” or “with your left foot,” or any other bizarre restriction you can think of that makes drawing a horse difficult. No guessing until the 60 seconds of frustrated artistry are up. Players, if you keep score, get a half-point for guessing someone else’s subject and a full point for having theirs guessed.

This worked so well at a birthday party I wished I could copyright it.

Well, I have TV, Tivo, cable, VCR, DVD player, and every good PC video game that comes out. That said, I was looking for something to actually DO with the kids. I’m not babysitting, per se - the kids are old enough to go home and hang by themselves. I offered to do this because they’ve found that they get bored at home all the time, and I’d like to spend some time with them.

Unfortunately, bicycling isn’t all that great here… unless we build a trail first. Hmmm that’s an idea! As it is, directly behind the house is a big gully, with the creek running through. Makes for a stunning view, but it’s pretty much unnavigable with a bike. Up on the other side is many acres of ferns and woods. Wonder how hard trail building is?

I really like the “frustrated artist” game. Could be fun to come up with “cards” that we make, then play the game.

If anyone gets a motorcyle, it’s ME. And it would be a 4-wheeler NOT a motorcycle. Note the “limited budget” point!

Hmmm bb guns sound like they could be dangerous. Laser tag through the woods could be fun. How much for a cheap setup you think?

Toys “R” Us seems to have a nice pair for $30.

[QUOTE=Athena]

Unfortunately, bicycling isn’t all that great here… unless we build a trail first. Hmmm that’s an idea! As it is, directly behind the house is a big gully, with the creek running through. Makes for a stunning view, but it’s pretty much unnavigable with a bike. Up on the other side is many acres of ferns and woods. Wonder how hard trail building is?
QUOTE]

Big gully - how deep and wide is the creek? My siblings and I whiled away many hours in the one that runs through the 'rents yard, building log and stone dams that washed away next high water, dunking each other in the resulting pool, and making then racing woodchip boats.

All you need is a creek, two hammers, lotsa wood scrap, and even more finishing nails. Get as elaborate as you like, we certainly did - anchors, deck cabins and everything.

If its too fast/deep/wide, you can play Poohsticks (tricky without a bridge, but a little imagination provides alternatives).

Go out with a plant identification book, and set little scenarios like oooh, throw a rock and have the kids look for as many edibles/flowers/weeds/whatever as possible within five feet of the rock, with a candy or something as a prize for the one that finds the most. (Little plastic whistles that must go home with the children, don’t you owe your brother a little extra?:wink: )

Building a biking trail from scratch didn’t seem that hard exactly, but it involved more organized effort than us kids wanted to really go for. Grubbing up wild rose bushes is painful work. And it took a week of said work to make the trail usable. Much much easier to modify existing footpaths/animal trails, if any. IIRC, if blisters and sweat are involved, there better be major fun of some kind happening around it.

Or at least that was my take on the building a bike trail. Takes too long and involves too much Real Work.

However, building a toboggan run is Way. More. Fun. Takes just one day (depending on the snow, and how many motivated bodies there are) to make a winding trail and bank the corners way up. If feeling especially daring, dampen the run. WHEEEE!!!

Marbles are still cool, according to my kids (grades six and eight), although they are overruled in coolness by Dragonball Z.

Anyways, that’s apparently all the top of my head contains at the moment.