Fun Gifts and Activities For Tweens
Corporate America Targets Tweens
It’s no secret that corporations have targeted a prime market-Tweens. According to 360Youth, a research company that focuses on youth marketing, young people, in particular girls between the ages of 9-14, are spending approximately $51 billion of their own money annually, and their parents and other family members are spending an additional $170 billion on them. So, how can you help your Tween find interesting activities that do not lead to the shopping mall? Here are a few suggestions that will help ease any pre-adolescent’s way from child to teen without feeding the corporate monster.
Involve him in an organization that teaches values. A church youth group may be a place to start. Other organizations in the United States may include Campfire USA, International Rainbow Girls, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, or the Boys or Girls Club of America. Most of this cost a minimum fee for dues and activities, but friendships and values are learned from the experience, as well as new skills.
Sports and Classes
Have your Tween become a member of a youth sports team such as swimming, soccer or hockey. This will require a fee, of course, and transportation to and from practice and events, which is time you will have to give, however, it provides a healthy outlet for energy, teaches discipline, teaches team playing, and it creates an important opportunity for building self-esteem.
When your hockey player is not on the ice keep the competition going with Face Off Frenzy Powerband Hockey. Made by Fun Slides Toys and Games, this air hockey game sells for about $50 and is sure to bring out the beast in all who participate.
Joining a dance or karate class and expecting your Tween to complete the year is a wonderful way to teach discipline, dependability, and commitment. Learning new skills and forming friendships outside of school are two other benefits. Cost: equipment and monthly class fee.
Slumber Party Fun
Have a slumber party.
Girls love to get together for an overnight party whether there is a reason to, i.e. birthday celebration, or not. Some slumber parties can have a theme, other may not, but the focus should stay on healthy and supervised fun.
What to serve at the party?
Make your own pizza is always a great standby. If there is a theme, such as a pool party, have skewered chicken kabobs grilled outdoors and make it a luau. Be sure to have plenty of healthy food to munch on to balance the treats.
What to do?
Movies are fun, but non-interactive, and kids can watch movies any time.
Board games like Aggravation or Clue are fun games to get the group engaged. A simple game of Observation can be created by placing a number of items on a table and letting the group ‘observe’ for a thirty seconds while attempting to memorize what is there. When the time is right have each of them write as many of the items as possible. The winner gets a prize.
Getting to know each other better is always a hit. With the Slumber Party: Best Friends Forever Mini Box of Questions by Spoonsisters.com guests get to take turns asking and answering questions such as, “Name a celebrity you would want as a best friend and why”. The box is filled with innocent questions that aren’t aimed at embarrassing anyone.
How to make jewelry
Jewelry making is a great activity for an overnight party. You provide the material and the guests keep their craft. Or, make Friendship Bracelets for each other. A great gift to give is a My Friendship Bracelet Maker. It simplifies braiding and costs approximately $16. This lightweight clipboard can go anywhere your daughter does. Included in the kit are 10 threads to start with.
Rent a karaoke machine for an evening and have the girls perform for each other. Or, give the birthday girl her own karaoke machine. The Dopi Video iPod Karaoke System is a simplified version of the big boxed machines. All you need is a T.V. to transform your video MP3 player into a karaoke machine. By downloading the specially formatted songs and connecting it to a TV via the cable, lyrics appear before your eyes. Three songs are included.
Other theme parties could take place outside of the home: A ‘Build a Bear’ Party could have the biggest focus on attending a craft at the Build a Bear factory.
Go hiking through a park and have a scavenger hunt.
If your Tween is NOT the outdoor type what better way to get him, or her, to enjoy the outdoors then to have a mission and a time limit. Searching for the items on the list may teach an appreciation of his surroundings not noticed before.
Some items on the list may include a bird’s nest, a blue feather, a smooth, round stone, a pinecone, and acorn, etc. When returning home with the items help your Tween store his discoveries by creating a shadow box to place them in. Decorating and dating the box his way will help him remember the excursion.
If you want to go techno-gadget with your Tweens buy an Apisphere Geomate Jr. Geochaching Handheld GPS for about $70 and get the whole family involved with a modern version of Hide and Seek / Treasure Hunting. Caution: It’s so much fun, you may need two.
Have a photography shoot
Teaching your Tween to observe the world around her is a service to her. Give her a camera and an ‘assignment’ just like a reporter. Perhaps she can cover a local playground and write a story, or take her to an Animal Shelter where she can ‘interview’ the animals through photos and a creative story. There are countless creative things you can direct your Tween toward through photography. Then, scrapbook for an additional fun activity that will organize the photos she took.
If your Tween loves both water and photography give him the best of both worlds: a water camera. The Underwater Digital Camera Mask by Liquid Images, sells for $100 and allows both still shots and video filming underwater. Completely hands free, of course, your Tween can explore photography from a whole different level of interest.