6 fun games and activities for 8-year-olds
As children get older, they crave more and more responsibility. It’s important to choose games that will appease their needs, but that are also suitable and safe. 8-year-olds, for instance, need games that encourage their autonomy, but also refine their hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Internet and tablet games are great for academic development, but at this age especially, children need games that nurture their social skills.
“This is an age where children make big gains in physical coordination," says Eileen Kennedy-Moore, Ph.D, psychologist and author of the new video series The Great Courses. "8-year-olds love playing with friends, and they're beginning to enjoy more sophisticated games that require skill and strategy, rather than just luck, to win.”
Keep reading on to see what experts have picked as the best games and activities for your 8-year-old.
Getting in the dirt and watching life grow is an invaluable experience for any 8-year-old. Gardening teaches kids about plant science and the responsibility of caring for a living thing.
“When you examine games that are best for children of this age, it really comes down to the vintage games that have withstood the test of time; hence, games that require no batteries and allow children to figure out the rules, have conversations, and interact face-to-face with another person,” says Stacy Benge, M.S., child development and early learning specialist. Try classics like Checkers, Battleship, Connect 4, Sorry, Memory, Yahtzee or Twister.
Arts and crafts
8-years-old is the perfect age for children to be discovering their creative talents. Whether it’s working with a simple set of water colors or firing clay -- arts and crafts is a great opportunity for your 8-year-old to reflect upon and hone his or her creativity.
Chase the Sphere
This game is recommended especially for 8-year-olds from Dr. Kwame M. Brown, founder of Move Theory. Every player gets a round object and holds it in their hands. Then, try moving it around in the air in different shapes. You can use numbers, the alphabet or animal shapes. Now, have players face each other. One person thinks of a shape and starts drawing it in the air with their object. The other will try to guess the shape and follow. To add to the challenge: draw the shapes bigger, and/or stand on one leg! Dr. Brown notes that, “this game helps build personal connection, strength, balance and body awareness.”
Renting a pair of skates and doing laps around the roller rink is the best way to boost an 8-year-old’s self-esteem and to improve balancing skills.
This is another suggestion from Dr. Kwame M. Brown. She says: “Get a group of friends or your family together. Have everyone stand about 54 yards apart, in more or less a straight line. The first player in line is the ‘explorer.’ All the other participants will become the ‘gauntlet.’ Each player will put their body in the position of their choosing to provide obstacles for the explorer. This game helps to build community and trust, systemic strength, balance, and, potentially, flexibility.”
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