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#AskAlyson: How To Plan a Family Activity for Children of Different Ages?

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Dear Alyson,
I love your idea of having family fun together, but my kids are 6,10 and 15 so they don’t like doing the same things, and don’t always share the same skillsets. I try to think of things we can all do together to have a family oriented summer, but our ideas always seem to fall short. What can we do so that all kids enjoy the same activity?!


Hi David,

Great question! Yes, age can seem like a barrier when trying to get everyone in the family to do the same thing, but a little creative thinking and problem solving can help you find a way around such a hurdle.


For example; a trip to the movies might require you spending the first half hour in the arcade area together playing different games of different difficulties, and then the family divides into two movie theatres; one playing a horror movie and the offering a kid’s show. After the movie talk about what the other group saw and if they liked it.


Use collective or total scores in games like bowling, scrabble, and boggle, so that everyone’s points count together, rather than individual scores which may emphasize a difference in skill or ability.


Break into teams with an older person and younger person.  4 people can play a two player card game if you team up!


Find “all ages” games in a game shop or google ideas online.


Look for jig saw designed for various ages that have large puzzle pieces on one side of the puzzle for younger children and progressively smaller pieces for older children and parents.


Agree to alternate who’s picks and plans the outing so that one day its focused on a younger child – while the next excursion is planned by the older child. You may have to endure your younger siblings choice of going to a puppet show, but on your day, you can pick go-carting and they can come watch and bring a bag of books to read while you are on the track.


Each of these ideas are examples of how to teach the idea of co-operation, problem solving, while modelling how to handle diversity, and developing their frustration capacity so they can handle the reality of life – we don’t always get our way, but if we love and care for one another, we will go along in order to be together.  ‘Cuz together – we are better!


Happy Parenting!


About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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