Mom said she’s gonna get her hair wet!” my younger son shouted to my husband the second he opened the door and stepped out onto our pool deck. Nothing gets my 9- and 10-year-old kids more excited than when they know I’m willing to actually put my head under water when I get in the pool with them. It’s probably because they know it means I won’t irrationally shout about them splashing and (God forbid) getting me wet.
These really are the sweet years. I’m convinced of that. My kids want to hang out with me, they care about my opinion, and they might actually think I’m cool. But it still doesn’t make it easy to always say yes to giving them the time and attention they constantly ask for. But while we’re in this phase, let’s try to embrace it and all the activities for school-age children that we won’t have forever. Here are 25 things to do with and for kids this age while you can.
1. Don’t just swim. Do a cannonball, play Marco Polo, and splash until your hair is soaked.
2. At bedtime, lie down with them to talk about the day.
3. Enjoy a hug while you’re still taller. Need an excuse to hug? Try our Hug a Day printable.
4. Visit them at school for “muffins with mom” or your school’s special day for parents.
5. Read aloud to them.
6. Build a sandcastle in the summer or a snowman in the winter.
7. Hold hands in the parking lot.
8. Run through the sprinklers.
9. Pause to take in the magic of Christmas through their eyes.
10. Laugh at their disgust for kids of the opposite sex. Ew, cooties!
11. Compare your hands, palm to palm, and remind them you’re still bigger and stronger.
12. Do their hair and tell them they’re beautiful or handsome.
13. Push them on the swings. Hop on and go for a swing, too.
14. Give them a pep talk to get on a ride they’re just now tall enough for.
15. Get excited about school supplies, especially crayons and colored pencils.
16. Use all the time in the car to have good conversations and sing along with your favorite songs. They’ll be driving themselves soon!
17. Peek in on them while they sleep and notice the little bit of baby left in their faces.
18. Take a day off of work to chaperone a field trip.
19. Bake something sweet together. Sit on the kitchen floor and watch it through the oven window.
20. Go for a family bike ride.
21. Let them sit on your lap in the car and steer it into the driveway.
22. Have an indoor campout.
23. Do all the holiday things with gusto—hunt for Easter eggs, ooh and ah at fireworks, go trick-or-treating, and make the hand turkeys!
24. Accept a big kiss.
25. Ask them to tell you about their favorite thing—dinosaurs, singing, swimming, a book. Listen intently, and ask questions to get more details.
As I think about all these special moments or activities for school-age children, I find myself hoping they don’t end when elementary school does. I mean, we can still hold hands with our teens if they’ll have us, right? Let’s work hard to help our kids be kids and embrace the childlike with them even if it means getting our hair wet when we just washed it.
Have a toddler or a teen? Check out these 25 things to do with your little one while you can and 35 fun things to do with your teen.
What is it about this age you know you’ll miss when your child is older?
ASK YOUR CHILD…
What are you looking forward to and not looking forward to about growing up?