When your child is transitioning from the baby stage into the independent 8 year old, you know you must do things differently. Sometimes though you may still (out of habit) do things for him/her in the same way like you did when they were preschoolers and kindergartners. I am guilty of doing the same. It’s tough to accept that they are growing up!
But as they grow and become more and more mobile their activities change. That’s the kid who has entered school and no longer naps. But what do you do when you want to encourage downtime when they’re home? They can sit quietly with a book or go to their room and find something to do? No, don’t expect your little one to know what to do during quiet time, if you enforce it. Cut the boredom by creating an activity bin for them.
From the toddler stages (say around 3), I’ve made activity bins for the kids. Keep in mind that it’s around the time they were giving up their consistent naptime but were still napping occasionally. Most times when they were awake, they played quietly in their rooms. The bins were more of a fallback for when they got tired of playing with their toys, didn’t get sleepy and wanted to do something different (such as coloring). I think it’s from around age 4 or 5 was when they really started to enjoy the bins more.
When our first kid was 2, I made a different quiet time bin for each day (Monday to Saturday). I stored the bins in her closet and gave her one each day. NOTE: She still napped, the bins were just for fun! Now, I make only 1 bin for each kid and change them as their needs change. So for example, a toddler or preschooler would have an easy picture book in his bin but it would change to a different level of book once he or she begins to read.
In any event, as I began to think about Summer-time and how I could encourage downtime with the kids, I thought about keeping the activity bins going. Only I’d need to change things up since they’ve had the same items in their bins for while now. Add some new fun items to get them motivated to use them. adding some fun new items. At first, I wondered if it’s even sensible to keep creating a bin for an 8 year old because after all, she’s no longer a toddler or preschooler. But then I remembered she’s still a small kid who could still benefit from downtime and may need some help in deciding what to do during that time. Changing up her bin (and all the kids bins) was such a fun idea – they were so excited.
Here’s some ideas for 8 year old activities and some of what’s in our daughter’s bin:
- A craft set (DIY with beads, string, pompoms, glue, etc.)
- A journal (set with a pen, glue, glitter, stickers)
- A drawing book/pencils/eraser/sharpener (could also include a kids clothing designer pad)
- A sticker book (create faces, princesses, animals)
- Age-appropriate coloring book/fun crayons or colored pencils
- 3 favorite books (educational and fun)
I added a DIY craft kit so our child could make something if she wants (e.g. bead necklaces or bracelets). I’ve searched the stores for a craft kit but everything seem to have an abundance of little beads and strings. We only needed a few so we created our own.
A Journal to encourage creative writing and to help our daughter practice writing. I know handwriting isn’t taught as much in schools these days but I value it much and love to see beautiful writing.
Note: Check to see what your kids already love doing and add some of that to their bins. Does your child love to draw? Think about adding a new, different and upgraded drawing set to help him/her take drawing to a “higher” level.
Sticker face books are definitely a favorite around our house. The kids love them and they’ll do up to 3 pages each time in these princess ones.
We found these new STYLE Model sticker books where the kids can dress up animals and drawer and design them.
Coloring is a fun activity still as they grow. They can be both fun and educational. Add a coloring book or two on their grade level for them to enjoy.
Don’t forget to include books. Books are educational classics. I try to include at least 2-3 books of different genres, 1 school book and a couple other reading for fun books.
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Hope you found some ideas of what you could include in an activity bin for an 8 year old child. Keep in mind that our child is a girl so you can tailor the activities to suit a boy. Do you have a child at home that could use a bin?