If your family is anything like ours, you have a wide variety of ages living under one roof.
At our house, we have two middle schoolers, a third grader, and a kindergartener. Not to mention my husband and I, who have our own 12-year-age difference.
While our four kids still share similar interests – such as art, dance, and anything Disney related – it’s become more challenging to find activities that are age-appropriate and enjoyable for us all to do together. Our older girls have outgrown games such as Memory, while our younger ones aren’t quite ready for the complexity of Risk.
Because of this, we’ve gotten creative in discovering pastimes the entire family can enjoy together. Here are three of our favorite “age-defying” activities.
1. Board Game Duos
One of our family’s preferred board games is Ticket to Ride. If you’ve never played it before, the goal of the game is to complete train routes across the United States and reach the finish line before the other players.
We do have one problem when it comes to playing as an entire family, though. The reading level and strategy involved are too advanced for our 5-year-old. In fact, a lot of our favorite board games – Clue, Monopoly, and Trivial Pursuit – present the same problem.
How do we solve that?
We divide into teams of two. We’ve found that creating board game duos not only allows us all, from age 5 to 50, to play a game we enjoy together, it also helps our kids – and their parents – build their teamwork skills. If we want to win, or at least have fun trying, we have to unite.
2. Movie Remake Critics
Some families hike. Other families play sports. We like to engage stories, whether in the form of a play, a book, an audio drama, or a movie. In recent years, there have been a flurry of movie remakes from Annie to Pete’s Dragon. As a family, we’ve figured out how to make watching these films even more fun.
First, we watch the original. We’re aware of the era it was made, and we discuss what we liked or didn’t like about it. Then, we watch the remake and compare it to the original.
For example, with Pete’s Dragon, we considered why a comedic musical worked well in 1977, but wasn’t the style chosen for the remake. We noted how the original didn’t make mention of what happened to Pete’s parents, while in the 2016 version we’re told immediately.
Playing movie remake critics allows each of us to express our unique perspectives. Our 12-year-old, who tends to be more analytical, loves to observe the small details and determine how they make the story stronger. At the same time, our 8 and 5-year-old are more aware of the emotional dynamics and how we have more empathy for certain characters in one film over the other.
3. Puzzle Sleuths
During our last Christmas break, all of us set to work on completing three 500-piece Disney-themed puzzles the girls had received as gifts. While these puzzles weren’t too difficult for our oldest who’s always had an infinity for puzzles, they proved to be challenging for our three younger daughters. Instead of allowing them to give up, we worked as a family to finish the puzzles together. We ended up spending hours sorting pieces, giggling, and looking for hidden characters.
I’ve since determined that all of our puzzles should be at least 500 pieces. Why? Because these puzzles engaged us all – at the same time. Even our 5-year-old helped, identifying edge pieces and helping to put characters together.
What about you and your family? What “age-defying” activities would you add to this list?