Big kids need quiet time too. Unplugged or ‘plugged’, there are a number of activities with brain-boosting power that kids can engage in that will offer down-time, creativity and imagination. The 5-9 age range can be a bit of a tough one to find activities for. Your kids are growing out of preschool/toddler-hood but are not quite yet in that ‘tween’ age range.
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Unplugged Brain-Boosting Activities
Smart Games: These games encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, both crucial (and fun) for the ‘big-kid’ age range. The games really scaffold the learning, offering challenges from the starter level up to expert. I had the opportunity to try these games with my own family. Check them out in the video below.
My 5 1/2 year old was more than able to complete the starter and junior levels on his own, providing some great unplugged down time and independent play for him. Additionally, we could work on some of the harder levels together, offering a chance to spend some quality time together and for me to teach him a bit. We tried some of their new games, including Dinosaurs: Mystic Islands, Jungle, Walls and Warriors, and Camouflage North Pole. While they all have a similar game-play style, the strategies involved are somewhat varied and the different themes really speak to the child’s imagination.
Books: We all know that reading is essential for all kids. But for this age range, providing access to books that involve some mystery or ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style, encourage kids to really think about possible outcomes, use deductive reasoning and predict events, offering a lot of brain-boosting power.
Puzzle Book: Mazes, Word Games, & More (and Mad Libs): Similar to the Smart Games mentioned above, there are plenty of workbooks that offer puzzles involving critical thinking. Engaging in activities like these is sometimes the best kind of ‘homework’ for some kids.
Coding Toys: Coding is SO hot right now, and it’s no question why. Plenty of toy companies are making coding toys for this bigger kid age range. From toys that don’t require reading (check out the Award Winning Toy of the Year: Code & Go(TM) Robot Mouse Activity Set! Includes coding cards, Colby the programmable mouse & more! ) to some that require much more in-depth thought and skill , these are a great option for some brain-boosting activity in independent or family play.
Online Brain-Boosting Activities
Online Camps: There are a number of really fun online ‘after school’ camps for kids. From minecraft to coding camps (I recommend Connected Camps), these are great options for combining technology with educational and fun activities for kids.
STEM Apps: The NASA app, Stephen Hawking’s Snapshots of the Universe, and Science 360 are just a few that kids can get totally lost in.
Why Down-Time for Big Kids?
Big-kids (elementary aged) are so ‘out of time’ between extracurricular activities, homeschool, and school that it seems nearly impossible to find down time where kids can kind of unwind and just play independently. However, if we want our kids to perform well and be able to focus in all of these scheduled activities, they NEED time to have this unscheduled play in their day (and BONUS, they’re still learning!).
*This post is sponsored by Smart Games USA.