There are so many things that you can go and do with your 11-year-old, the only trick is to find out what you both will enjoy. Here are 21 activities that are fun for adults and kids alike!
1. Wash the Family Car (And pay your kid)
Although it may not sound like it, washing a car can be fun. When you all have your sponges and your hands are all soapy, that is the perfect time to pull out the hose to rinse down the car. Pay them $5 for the task and then take them to the dollar store to find a prize.
As you spray the car with water, everyone is getting wet, and the next thing you know, you are in the middle of a huge water fight. You both are grappling for the hose and running from each other, one fending off the torrent of water while the other one wields the hose. Soon the tables turn and the roles are reversed. The next thing you know, you are both collapsed on the lawn, laughing hysterically.
It is best if you wash the car together when it is warm outside so you all can fully enjoy the experience. If you wash the car when it is cold outside, all of you will be miserable.
2. Write in a Journal Together
Writing in a journal together can bring you and your 11-year-old together. You can write nice messages to them, and them to you, but you can also write about your day and what you may be struggling with. If they do the same, you can help them in various ways and learn more about what they are currently going through.
Pre-teens are notorious for not telling their parents anything that is going on in their life, and writing a journal together can prevent that from happening. However, make sure you both write in the journal regularly. Only purchase one journal so it is easy for both of you to respond to previous entries.
If it would be more fun, create small mailboxes and “mail” letters to each other! This variation can quickly allow for more participants. Younger children can get involved by making crafts or drawings to “mail” to siblings or parents.
3. Go Roller Skating
Roller skating can be an extremely fun activity that can help your child show you their skills. This allows them to see that you are willing to do things that they like to do as well, or show them something you like to do. Going down a hill while wearing roller skates can be super fun as you speed down the hill, letting gravity pull you down.
When roller skating, you can slow the pace as well and just be in each other’s company. While you are together, your 11-year-old has an opportunity to tell you all of the things that they want to tell you. This can show that you are invested in them and want to be with them.
4. Make Scented Candles
When you are wanting to show your child what hard work can create, then one of the best ways to do that is by making candles together. This can teach them patience and allow them to make something unique. You can have them put in whatever scents that they want. Once the candles are done, they can be used as an object lesson if you want, or you can light them later that night and have a candle-lit dinner.
Making candles can be fun because once the wax is cooled, you can use a small knife to carve small designs into the sides. This can help to bring out the creativity in the child, and you don’t need a sharp, potentially dangerous knife to carve candle wax.
5. Play Video Games
While playing video games can be challenging, it can also be quite fun and competitive. Most kids nowadays love playing video games, so playing a game together will give you an opportunity to do something that they love alongside them.
It also can give you a chance to see what your kid is like when they are having fun in a relaxed environment. This can be extremely fun as you laugh and quip back and forth at each other. It can show your child that even though you are their parent, you can still be their friend as well.
Picking a game that your child is confident in, but you know nothing about, can give an important chance for them to teach you about something they enjoy. Many modern video games can be quite challenging, so letting your child feel like a pro at something helps build their self-confidence.
6. Make Smores
A really fun way to draw out the child in your 11-year-old is by offering them sweet food. One of the best foods is smores. When you light a fire and begin roasting marshmallows, it allows your kid to connect with their inner younger child as they get their fingers messy or accidentally light their marshmallow on fire. You can laugh as you sit around the glowing orange flames. You can both have an excuse to get messy and have a treat that makes you both grin every time.
7. Homemade Popcorn and a Movie
If you have an air popper, then you can get some of the best popcorn ever, made to each person’s specifications. Extra butter, no salt, or however you enjoy it.
Sit down on the couch and watch one of your favorite movies together as you eat your favorite popcorn mixtures. This is a great way to relax and just hang out with your 11-year-old.
8. Make Bird Houses from Wood
Simple wood projects can allow your 11-year-old to show you how creative they are and gives them a chance to work with their hands. You can draw up plans for a birdhouse and help each other as you build them.
Once you are finished, you can even paint them together and then hang them in the yard for the birds to enjoy. You can bond while you make them and watch the birds fly by together.
9. Go Swimming
Mostpre-teens enjoy swimming, and it is something that you can easily do together, no matter the weather (if you go to an indoor pool). If the weather is warm and there is one nearby, you can even go to a waterpark.
Swimming is extremely relaxing, so going to the pool with your child gives you a chance to relax together.
10. Make a Quilt
Making a quilt can be a great learning experience as you teach them to use a sewing machine. Using a pattern, you can make a large quilt together and make memories. Some people use old t-shirts to make squares for quilts. This can be a great way to save the shirts that you love the most. Make people use their t-shirts that have logos from vacations or funny sayings.
When you are together, cuddle under the quilt. When you die, the quilt will likely still exist, and your child can use it to remember you and the great moments you had together.
11. Go Running Together
Running can be a difficult sport, but having a little difficulty and healthy competition with each other never hurt. Running with your 11-year-old can help both of you stay active and fit, and it can help keep both of you accountable and push you towards your goals. Running marathons or 5ks can give you a feeling of camaraderie as you both watch each other achieve your goals.
12. Go Rock Climbing
Whether you are in a gym or literal rock climbing, doing this activity can bring you closer together as you see how much strength each of you has. Climbing rocks can be mentally and physically challenging, but it also gives you an adrenalin rush. This can be quite fun, especially if you have someone with you to cheer you on.
Geocaching can be extremely fun. By downloading an app to your phone, you can see many different treasure troves that are lying around and waiting to be found. You can work together to find these small ‘caches’ and claim the prize that is inside them.
You may even be able to race each other to see who can find the most caches before the time is up. Afterward, when you meet up, you can show each other what you found. Every cache is unique in its own way and it can be a rush to find out what is inside it.
14. Take Apart Old Appliances
Taking apart old appliances can be fun as you can find out what is inside them and how they work. Taking apart a VCR or an old cellphone can be very educational as well as fun.
When taking it apart you can both see the different parts that activate various functions. Eventually, you will likely figure out the function of the various parts of the machine. Although it will likely be hard, it will be educational and you both will learn a new skill. The discovery of something new can foster a mutual love for something.
15. Play a Game or Sport
Playing their favorite board games or their favorite sport with your 11-year-old can show them that you are really interested in what they are doing. If they play football, soccer, baseball, or something of the like, do it with them.
Help them improve their sporting ability while you get to know each other better. Playing their favorite sport can boost their confidence and help them want to succeed in said sport.
By playing a board game, you can chat while competing against one another. Board games are also relaxing, so both of you can relax in each other’s company. This will help your child feel comfortable around you.
Doing puzzles together can show you both how each other thinks. You can see the wheels turning and the way that they solve problems. Eating treats or drinking hot chocolate while you are doing this can put you both at ease so you are more willing to talk. You can enjoy being with each other as you put together a beautiful picture.
17. Make Videos Together
Many people in today’s society bond while making videos together. Being silly and allowing them to show you something new can help you both be more at ease around each other. Many people use videos as a way to express themselves and get that daily shot of dopamine. Making videos can help to boost their self-esteem and help them to show you who they really are.
18. Go to a Cafe
Going to a cafe can allow you both to have a special time to talk over a steaming cup of hot chocolate or coffee. These talks can help your child to release all of their pent-up stress and help them to relax.
You can talk about everything that happened at school, all the way to things that they worry about. This shows them that you are ready and willing to listen and to hear about everything that they want you to know and that you are not ignoring them.
19. Go get Ice Cream Cones
Ice cream can be a great way to help kids to open up. The sweet and cold cream can bring smiles to their faces and give them time to just be with you. This allows them to see you as you are and not as a parent. This can also increase their energy levels and make them more open to participating in activities later.
20. Learn Another Language
Learning another language together can present a challenge and be extremely fun and rewarding in the end. If you pick a place and see what language they speak, then you can learn the culture as you go and maybe even make plans for the future to go there together.
It can be fun to find out about and see different cultures and people, and doing it together can help you bond.
21. Play Simple Games
Some of the most enjoyable times in a child’s life happen when you play simple games like tick-tack-toe and hangman. This gives you a way to teach them a fun strategy game or help them with their spelling and reading. This can be extremely fun for you both as you try to come up with the most complicated words possible.
There are so many things you can do with your 11-year-old. Many of those things should involve time to talk, so that they know you are there for them and are invested in their lives and what they are doing. But most importantly, just have fun with them. As we all know, time flies too fast.