Activities with Children
To Help You Get Acquainted with a Child
You don’t need to go anywhere far away or do anything complex to have a great time with a child with whom you are getting acquainted - grandchild, nephew or niece, child you are babysitting, child you are mentoring. Try some of these activities when you don’t really want to travel. Most of these are also great for a first meeting; the child will be comfortable on his or her home turf and will be more relaxed.
Compare photos of family and friends. This is a great way to get to know each other and learn about the people who are important to you and the child.
Gather keepsakes and take photos of activities that you and the child do together. From time to time, devote a day for the two of you to put the scrapbook together.
Draw cartoons of each other or go somewhere and sketch together.
Visit a local pet store. Sometimes you’ll be allowed to pet the animals, but it’s fun just to look.
Take the child to the hairdresser or barber with you.
Treat the child to some special pampering: get a manicure together!
Visit local video arcades or play simple games like hangman. Board games like checkers, Monopoly or chess and car games can be a great activity too.
Look at pictures of each other as babies. Do you look the same now? (a funny icebreaker)
Write autobiographical poems:
wishes that __________________
is good at ____________________
last name ____________________
Take the child to visit your job or office. If the youngster is interested in another career, try to bring them to the office of someone in that field.
Visit the supermarket with the child to gather ingredients. Then prepare them together.
Age: Depends on the complexity of the recipes. Younger kids (8-10) will enjoy baking cookies, older ones will like making an entire meal.
Take a long walk together. Ask the child to give you a tour of their neighborhood. This is a great first activity!
Try all different kinds of ethnic restaurants. Kids will probably like Chinese lo-mein, Japanese sukiyaki, Indian tandoori chicken, Middle Eastern falafel and shish-ka-bob, Greek souvlaki, Mexican tacos, Afghan kebabs, Italian pasta, and Cuban rice and beans. Don’t forget American ethnic food like southern cooking, soul food, barbecue and New York deli and bagels.
It’s great just to sit, talk and get to know the child. Try asking questions to get started. The best kinds of questions for this are ones that require more than a “yes” or “no” for an answer. These are great for discussing:
- What would you do if you had a million dollars?
- What if you couldn’t spend any of it on yourself?
- Do boys or girls have it easier?
- What was the bravest thing you ever did?
- What’s the luckiest thing that has ever happened to you?
- Would you like to have an identical twin?
- What do you think you might do when you grow up?
If there’s snow, you should be sledding. No need to get a fancy sled, a tray is just as good and a garbage bag is fine too.
Visit the local library and get library cards. Check out some of the local libraries for special events.