There are plenty of scheduled activities that keep our kids busy. School, football, and music being the biggest commitments.
But when there is downtime, it’s nice to see the kids put down their iPads and do something, well, kid-like. Living where we do, there is still a bit of an old fashioned feeling of them running freely through the neighborhood, pushing boundaries, and sorting out their differences amongst each other – without parents helicoptering around as referees.
What has come of this are some fun activities that have kept our boys entertained and looking forward to unscheduled time.
It’s been awhile since I’ve lived someplace where there is always an influx of people roaming around. Our time in Chicago may come close, but there is a constant buzz of folks walking the narrow passageways of our pedestrian-only neighborhood. It’s a nice mix between familiar neighbors and foreigners looking for viewpoints of the Alhambra.
So in late June when temperatures were soaring and our neighbor supplied us with dozens of lemons from his tree, it was pretty clear what would keep us busy that day.
Some valuable lessons were learned:
- The more of the product you consume, the less you have to sell.
- Even on a hot day, lemonade doesn’t sell itself. A little interaction with the passing crowds is helpful.
- Overhead costs cut into profits. After paying back for the cups, ice, and serving pitcher, each son still ended up with over 9€ each. Not too shabby!
Another favorite neighborhood activity is making and selling hama (melty) beads.
All genders get involved and the designs tend to focus on La Liga football crests and superhero or video game characters.
The pricing structure is dependent on size and they do surprisingly well. One particular friend is quite the salesman and offers candy as customers shop and is able to toggle between languages based on who stops by.
Another activity that came across my mind one day was the infamous egg-drop challenge. As part of a science experiment in middle school, I remember our class hiking up to the top of the building to throw our egg-cradling contraptions off the roof to see whose was able to survive.
Just the mention of throwing a raw egg off the third story of our house put a devilish smile on my boys’ faces and they quickly got to work with their friends. I know the challenge usually limits the number of materials available, but I let them use whatever they could find around the house.
I must say I was impressed with some of their ideas and they had a success rate well above 50%.
The kids have asked for more challenges and I haven’t yet got around to googling more, so if you know any fun ones for 10-12 year olds, feel free to drop those ideas in the comments.