Family Activities for Kids with Large Age Gap
While I don’t consider five years as a significant amount of time, I have found some challenges when parenting my two kids with a larger age gap than most siblings. Most notably, it can be challenging to plan family activities that are fun and age-appropriate for everyone. I feel lucky that my 8-year-old daughter is a good sport and still enjoys a fun trip to the local playground and my 3-year-old son is willing to try new things such as hiking longer distances than most toddlers. And although I sometimes feel sad that my son rarely gets to watch Sesame Street during Sunday morning TV time, I’m secretly glad my daughter has also vetoed Dora.
Despite all that, it is important to my husband and me that we plan family time together and make memories that do not have “chore” in the title. Here are a few family activities that work for our family.
Activities for Families with a Large Age Gap between Kids
• Hiking, nature walks & outdoor activities. My children love being outdoors so we try to plan fun nature activities that we can all enjoy. Short hikes through forests and meadows is a perfect balance for both kids. We love to play nature iSpy and often find interesting mushrooms, bugs, moss, wild blueberries, and more.
• Amusement parks. We don’t go very often but both children really enjoy going on rides, eating ice cream, and playing amusement park games. I’m always amazed at how much fun my daughter finds the kiddie rides even when she’s tall enough to go on the bigger ones. Sometimes my husband and I have to split the kids up but we usually make it work and everyone has a blast.
• Zoos and farms. My kids love animals so a trip to the zoo, farm, or petting zoo is a perfect destination despite their 5-year age gap.
• Movies. Whether at home or in a theater, this one can be a little tricky when it comes to family movies appropriate for my 3-year-old. Luckily, my daughter understands this and can enjoy a Disney or animated movie as much as her younger brother. Also, we’ve found some live action movies, such as “A Dolphin’s Tale” and “Annie”, that are enjoyed by both kids (and parents!).
• Beaches or lakes. Our go-to family activity this summer is the beach. Although we have to be alert for my little guy who has no fear of the water, we’ve found that playing in the waves, building sandcastles, and picnics on the beach are fun for everyone.
• Children’s museums. Recently, I told my husband that I thought my daughter had outgrown the local children’s museum. Mistake! We brought the kids on a rainy day this spring and she still loved it – maybe even more so because she could show her brother all the cool exhibits.
• Sporting events. We are fortunate to live in an area where there are a variety of sports activities – from professional soccer and baseball to college hockey and football. Best of all, there are affiliate baseball teams that make it their job to be family-friendly.
• Simple, traditional outdoor play. And when we’re at home, nothing beats a day full of unstructured outdoor play.
Whether there is a two-, five-, or ten-year age gap between your kids, the most important thing is to find family activities that everyone can enjoy. Of course, it’s also important to spend some one-on-one time with each child. What are some of your favorite family activities?