Ask the Grumpies: Outings for older kids

First Gen American asks:

Seems the last two go to weekend adventures have been dubbed as “for babies” by my tween. (They were a fall foliage historic train ride and corn maze/pumpkin fest in case you are wondering).

Wondering what new outings I can add that would hold the interest of the older one as I think we are outgrowing the zoo, museum phase of fun weekend activities.

#1 suggests: What do tweens like? Basically nothing! Also I have never outgrown the zoo and museum. [#2 notes, this is true– once when we met at a nearby city when #1 was at a conference, we went to the zoo]. Are there street fairs? I’d be happy to go to the library… Hiking? Fancy tea in the city? Music fest? Opera?

Make the tween suggest the things!

#2 suggests: What do tweens like? Protesting! Making a difference! Being active! Volunteering!

#1 says: That makes sense!  Volunteer at the cat shelter!

#2 notes: Miser-mom tends to have lots of good suggestions with her kids.

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14 Responses to “Ask the Grumpies: Outings for older kids”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    For the record, I still like zoos and museums and will continue to take kids to those things (San Diego Zoo is on the list for spring break).

    Pool and Beach are still universal favorites…as are amusement parks but I’m not a big fan of amusement parks.

  2. omdg Says:

    At some point the big kids need to learn to entertain themselves. My parents took me to the events for the activities I was involved in, but (thankfully) never forced me to go to museums or the zoo with them, or (I cringe to even think about) Pumpkin fest or a corn maze beyond the age of 5. I got to cultivate friendships and my own interests at that age. It was nice.

  3. Ana Says:

    At that age, I’d want to bring a friend along, otherwise I’d rather be at home reading books or playing video games. Of course we lived in a small town and really nothing like museums or pumpkin patches or zoos was an option.
    It was sort of embarrassing to hang out with my parents between ages 10 and 14. I do remember liking it when my mom or dad brought me ice cream.

  4. rs Says:

    we take kids’ friends for any activities and then there is no complain :)

  5. Miser Mom Says:

    Thanks for the plug. Truth is, though, we don’t do a lot of weekend excursion things with our kids. When we do, it tends to be forcing the kids to come to the parents’ events. All of my kids (and I) have gone to cheer my husband along in his bike races, and most of my kids have competed in bike races themselves, for example. I’ve taken almost all of my kids to math meetings with me (woo-hoo?). One of my kids — N-son, who is now 17 — actually really likes going to math meetings, because he gets to hang with college students; my other kids, not so much.

    My impression is that the older my kids have gotten, the more they’ve wanted to do things that are either very grown-up (the theater) or that are active rather than passive entertainment — rock-climbing or running a 5k instead of visiting a museum, for example.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      What about Soup Kitchen volunteering?

      • Miser Mom Says:

        N-son likes that, J-son not so much. N-son really likes hanging with adults; J-son wants to ditch the adults and hang with friends his own age.

        As a follow up, I asked my sons at dinner about this, and they both immediately said, “SkyZone!” (Which, by the way, is some place I have never taken them myself). Basically, somewhere they can jump on trampolines and play dodgeball is what they said they want to do.

      • Rosa Says:

        SkyZone is the best! It’s expensive though.

        There’s a strip mall in our suburbs that has roller derby, a trampoline place, an indoor soccer field, and an American Ninja gym. And a brewpub.

  6. crazy grad mama Says:

    We went on a lot of family hikes. Pack lunches, scramble up and down rocky ledges, take lots of pictures of scenery / interesting plants / etc.

    My dad would buy donuts and drive us downtown on Sunday afternoons when there was an interesting public lecture at the university.

    Our city had a lot of musical theater, and it was fun to get dressed up fancy and go to that, although it didn’t happen very often because of the cost.

    I strongly wanted to volunteer at the local animal shelter, but you had to be 16 or 18, which I think is fairly common.

  7. Rosa Says:

    i have been taking the middle schoolers (rarely just me & my kid, usually a group – tomorrow night a group of 4, which is all the kids that will fit into my car, now that some are tall enough for the front seat) to live theater and movies. We have a lot of local small theaters that are relatively cheap, including an improv theater with early weekend evening kids shows that are just like adult ones but without swearing or sex jokes. Some kids really like all-ages concerts (mine doesn’t). Also hikes and long bike rides, and the more athletic kids (not mine!) like rock climbing, skateboarding, BMX biking, watching sports games, roller skating, stuff like that.

    If your kid is into something where tickets are expensive, like live theater or sports, there’s often the option of amateur or high school versions for cheaper. High school soccer is pretty fun to watch and high school musicals can be surprisingly good. I am even flirting with seeing a middle school middle musical, because they’re doing one we’ve seen as a movie that my kid really likes. But I have suffered through enough middle school musicals to be wary.

    They do seem happiest lazing around the house playing video games, though. Especially since so many of them are ridiculously overscheduled with academic & sports competitions, church & civic groups. Almost no kid we know is available on weekends because Saturdays are for sports & mathletics (or chess or robotics or anime club) and Sundays are for church and grandparents.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We do math club on the weekend! It has really put a crimp in our going to the city. We are almost out of everything TJ’s or WF.

    • Rosa Says:

      I really feel for the multi-activity kids. Just one Saturday commitment is almost too much for us and lots of kids have a sport and an academic competition team. Not to mention the families where *each* kid has more than one thing.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I kind of wish we could pack it all into Saturday though. Instead we have Tuesday piano, Thursday violin, and Friday swimming. (We keep asking DC1 if zie could drop violin during the school year since zie is caught up with orchestra at school, but zie keeps saying zie wants to keep it.) We’re going to have to add a sport or exercise for DC1 next year when middle school stops having PE during the day (maybe zie can join DC2’s swimming lesson…).


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