Whether you're party planning or organizing a day with the girls, finding activities that 9- to 11-year-olds will enjoy is easier than you might think. According to Lesia Oesterreich, extension human development specialist at Iowa State University, “Friendships and accomplishments are important to older children.” Activities that allow them to spend time with friends or feel they’ve accomplished something, not only gives them what they need developmentally, but they can be fun as well. Ask your youngster for activity suggestions in order to engage her in finding something she will be enjoy.
Indoor Rock Climbing
If your area has an indoor climbing gym, this can be a great activity for girls. It allows them to test their abilities, boosts their confidence by showing them what they can do and provides exercise. The girls can work together cooperatively, encouraging teamwork and deepening friendships, and they won’t feel they’re being treated liked “kids.” Climbers can wear harnesses to keep them safe while they enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with doing it by themselves.
Scavenger hunts allows girls to apply their skills and minds, and they’re easier to organize than you might think. All you have to do is make up a list of items, some common and some not so common, and then trail your pack of girls through the mall, the woods, the neighborhood or an amusement park as they take pictures of the items on the list. Scavenger hunts provide exercise and require critical thinking skills as the girls look for the places they’re most likely to find the objects.
Board games at home can be entertaining for this age group. Set up the game in a room for the girls to play by themselves, talk and enjoy one another’s company without feeling as if you’re looming over them. “Provide opportunities for older children to play games of strategy,” says Oesterreich. “Checkers, chess, and Monopoly are favorites.” At this developmental stage, children enjoy planning and organizing and often don’t want a parent’s help. Time with their friends, playing a game and connecting to one another, is exactly what children of this age need.
Pool parties offer opportunities for socialization, exercise and fun with the family, all in one. Let your group of nine to 11 year olds help you plan the party. They’ll be happy to be included when it comes to decorations, invitations and activities, plus they’ll enjoy the party even more knowing they had a hand in it. Make sure there is adequate adult pool supervision at all times to keep the party safe.
Your 9- to 11-year-old likely has some specific talents and interests that you could encourage through activities. Girls of this age often appreciate having an influence in what happens in their lives. Peruse the Internet with your daughter to research activities to increase your child's interest and enjoyment. Utilize local programs designed for youth. Possible activities could include crafting projects such as sewing, scrap-booking or woodworking; sports such as softball or horseback riding; and volunteering at a local shelter or food bank.