Thursday, October 20, 2011

what to do, what to do?

I need your advice.

Here's the deal...Eli loves school.
Great, I know!
But when he is home, he is often "lost" much of the time.
He loves to watch TV and play video games,
but we try to limit those things, for obvious reasons.
He likes to draw, and does that often.
He also plays outside a lot.
BUT...other than all that, if the other kids are busy doing
their own thing... he will just stand/sit around with
nothing to do.
A lot.
A lot lot.

So...

I am trying to think of things he can do to stay busy.
We are giving him a big set of Legos for his birthday coming up...
which I know he will love.

But can you all give me some other ideas of things
for him to do?

I feel stupid even asking that because...duh...we have two older boys.
It's just WAY different!

Today Macy said,
"Well, maybe it's because he's Asian."
Bahaha!
Not sure what difference it makes what culture you're from...
a kid is a kid, so you'd think.

He needs some direction...and I would like to be able to say to
him, "Hey, why don't you go play with Legos...or this...or that...or
that, that, that."
Ya know?

Ok, now shoot me some ideas.

Thank ya!!


Oh, and please don't say jigsaw puzzles.
Though that's a great idea...with these little kids around,
it would be a set-up for failure, I'm tellin' ya!

27 comments:

Shelly said...

Steppin out of the woodwork here.... but does he like to cook? Maybe shoot some hoops or hit some golf balls out in the yard? Our boys are 11 and 13 and spend SERIOUS amounts of time with the Lego's, maybe you should give him an early birthday present! :o) The Lego website has tons of cool stuff and ideas of things to make! Good luck.... I love following your blog and will go back into the woodwork now! LOL

Diane said...

What about Sudoku? If he likes school, especially if he likes numbers or math, he might like these mind puzzles. The books go from easy to hard, or you can play online. Personally, I like the paper/books better, especially when learning.

Lynsay said...

Shucks. I was totally going to say Puzzles! What is better really than a 1000 piece puzzle with only 999 pieces? NOTHING! :)

Not a clue, sorry.

Guitar? A guitar strumming Asian around your house might be fun!

Hugs

Mia said...

maybe you can make him a a little schedule and write downs things he can choose to do while others kids are busy with their own things. You can ask him to write a short journal what he did today or he can write chinese letters to his friends in china (give him a notebook so he can keep writing things done that he want to share with his chinese friends). He can read books too...I think you can explain to him that this is his own spare time and that he can do anything he wants.

Susan A said...

Maybe he could start a scrap book with pictures of all his friends from China and write about their needs so that he can share with you all at dinner time to pray for one per night?

Robin said...

Does he enjoy taking pictures? Sometimes at that age kids (boys especially) aren't into posing but they love taking the photos and documenting even the smallest bits of their lives, maybe for a (Chinese?) blog he could share with the kids back in China who've been matched but are still waiting for their forever families to come for them? Maybe a travelogue of sorts, or even just a scrapbook for himself? Being behind the lens might also give him a way to interact more with his surroundings without feeling too exposed and vulnerable.

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Robin said...

Or what about more art supplies. If he likes to draw, does he also like pastels, or painting, or even sculpture (fimo/clay/playdough/whatever)?

Angie said...

My boys are CRAZY about bionicles and playmobil. They will play for hours! Throw in some Star Wars guys and light sabers...I may not see them surface all day!

Holly said...

Maybe an erector set? My kids have one with a motor that they enjoy.

Or maybe he just needs to process all the changes he has been through this year. One of my kids likes to be with people even when she's "not doing anything."

Pam said...

Well, I just wanted to say that I know EXACTLY where you're at. We brought home a 10.5 year old girl in July '10, and the HARDEST thing for me was that she simply could not occupy herself. If she didn't have a "screen" in front of her, she didn't know what to do. She was in a foster family with teenage boys since she was a baby. I asked her, "When you weren't at school in China, what did you do????" Her answer, "Computer, computer, computer. TV, TV, TV." Unfortunately for her after having 3 older bio. kids, I know all about screen time. And this time around, we are really limiting it in our younger crew, while they are young. SO, this has really been a struggle for both of us. She has come a long way, but we are far from "good" in this dept. Initially, when told to "find something to do," she would grab the nearest preschool toy and start playing with it. Needless to say this drove. me. crazy. (our other 3 from China are 5,5,& 4) She has a bike, roller blades, and a ripstick (she is not "girly" in the least) but will not play outside with them by herself. She does like to draw, so we've given her lots of art things. Unfortunatley she's not a reader. But it is hard. And still a struggle. She does best just playing with the little ones. At almost 12. Anyway, just wanted to let you know that you are not alone in this "occupying themselves" thing. :)

Sherrie said...

A playmate his age maybe????? HA! I agree with the art suggestions, and maybe a musical instrument to learn. Depending on when his birthday is, I might consider giving him the legos early, or maybe buy another small set of legos first. Take him to the library and let him pick out books about things that interest him?? I think it is a hard age, no matter what. There are many 12 year olds that don't know what to do with themselves, so it's tv, computer, or Ipod. Or one friend has a 13 year old daughter that loves horses, so she takes riding lessons, and now works at the ranch taking care of horses. Good luck, and really another boy his age might really help.....I'm just sayin....

Matilda Joyce said...

I'm assuming his english might not be good enough to read yet... but most books are available on CD these days, and the library has loads of them. Listening to a story might be easier than reading it himself. Harry Potter, for instance? Best of luck!

judy said...

I relate ... I limit all screens , my 13 year and 10 year old always find something to do , but my 11 year old has trouble with that . She is not girly , would rather play soccer , basketball , bikes etc.. if the other two are busy she would sit. This fall it came to a head and I have worked at planning for her.I will say she loves legos and will play, she also likes to help me cook . I now have her making cards for anyone we know who is sick , having a birthday , whatever .. she will sit in the kitchen and work on that for a long time .. I teach pioneer girls at church ,little ones , I give her things to cut and package for me ..maybe he can help set up something for the littles for school . I know where you are coming from and happy to hear anymore ideas . Judy

Donna said...

I SO hear you on this one!! Andrew was a little over 7 when he came home almost a year ago and we are still having the issue. Seems that he was plopped in front of TV or computer all the time in China. He will grab a coloring book or puzzle (we have legos, lincoln logs, knex, books, more outside stuff than you can shake a stick at, playmobil, blocks, army men.....you get the idea) and that's about it. It just never seems to occur to him to "do" anything. We have the stuff, but no idea how to get him to do something that takes "play". And he's my 6th kid and I'm still clueless!! For what it's worth, my big boys loved the knex roller coaster and ferris wheel when they were about Eli's age....
Enjoying reading everyone else's ideas - and keep us posted on how things go!!

Karin said...

Lots of good ideas already...just wanted to agree with them. :) And if all else fails, maybe tell him that if he doesn't find something to do you will find some things--like chores--that he might not necessarily love. That way it puts the responsibility for entertaining himself on HIM and not on you. He needs to learn how to do this for himself. If he is perfectly happy doing chores...well..at least you have some help! Cleaning the chicken coop? :) If he doesn't like chores, I bet he will start to think about some things that he DOES like to do and not stand around waiting for you to put him to work. :) This always worked for my mom when we told her we were bored and didn't have anything to do. haha

judy said...

Love that Karin , it does work in our house . My girls know never to say the word bored , I will have something for them to do . The other day the two younger girls had a friend over , the friend told me they didn't know what to play , I looked at her and said " Really , well I have three bathrooms , all of which could use a cleaning , and I see three girls . I think we just solved your problem . " Needless to say they were off and running ! Judy

Tracy said...

I actually was thinking along the same lines as Lynsay. What about some kind of instrument? I know that Macy plays piano, maybe you could ask Eli if there is an instrument that he would like to learn to play. I also thought the idea of another boy around his age, maybe someone from church? Nothing better than another child in the mix to keep them occupied. I know our grandson and our son are very close in age and they love, love, love getting together. : )

Ruby said...

This was a non-adopted kid that I was watching during college (i.e. I spent upwards of 50 hours a week in the house). He would just wander if not in front of the TV or video games (which I limited, parents did not), drove me nuts.

Eventually I came up with the activity jar (first one was just a glass mason jar, then when it started to work one of the tasks in it was to decorate a can that used to have something in it). In it I had a lot of ideas. He was to choose one, then he had to do it for 30 minutes (he had attention problems and would bounce from activity to activity). There were things like Legos, play-dough, take a picture of something that starts with every letter of the alphabet (so this meant 26 pictures, apple for A, a bike for B, exc), play with erector sets, draw a picture, write a letter to grandpa, play solitaire, learn a new version of solitaire (he liked card games and I had found a book of solitaire games), work on a model (he liked building models of planes), cook a dessert for dinner, do a "Where's Waldo" book (something else he liked to do independently).

The activity jar was really what helped us. If I were to tell him what to do or give a list of suggestions, he would have reasons why he would not do it. If I caught him wandering, the rule was time out or choose something from the activity jar. For a while we were dependent on the jar to dictate the next activity. After a while he would start "hoping" to pull a certain activity, and then we worked on him just INITIATING the activity before I "caught" him wandering. I never particularly cared what he did, I preferred if he initiated something he really wanted to do instead of directing him, but it took a long time to get to that point.

Chris said...

Same problem at this house. I love when he has homework...(bad mommy) because otherwise he has trouble occupying himself.
Our son is a mite depressed when he just sits around, but I sort of think he has an excuse (he has only one good extremity right now)
But I agree with the others. They were never taught to amuse themselves. And were always on someone's schedule and unfortunately that included a ton of screen time.
Yup, our poor younger 3 have very little screen time. Learned from the first one.
I especially like the activity jar.

Mom2Four said...

Have him help you with whatever you are doing. He probably will enjoy the one-on-one time - even if it is chores. I think it is better to do them with him than have him doing them alone.

Tesseraemum said...

Great ideas!! What about a drum set? I know, I know but he may be all about the large motor skills rather than puzzles etc. He may be one of those kids who is watching the stuff going on around him. That may be entertainment enough!! I wish we lived closer. Isaac is the perfect playmate! He loves all things outdoors! He has spent hours/years in the woods. Creating,sitting, pretending. Even now at 14 he would prefer pretend play. His buddy is here today and he brought his new xbox but they are out on scooters!
OO, What about target shooting or archery? Does he like that sort of thing? That is something you can do with a friend or alone.
Let us know what you hit upon!! Sheri

Anonymous said...

If he likes puzzles a cardboard three fold project board works great. He can work on it in the middle section and fold it up and move it anywhere when he is ready. My sweetie stores hers between her matress.

Anonymous said...

Woodworking ???

Jennifer said...

Hey girlie! With our older kids, they have a little screen time and after that they need to play. Our oldest is in a phase of "I'm bored". She has far too many things to play with and is still bored....so if she can't figure out what she wants to do, I pick something for her...that is less appealing. ;) For her it's a choice, it could be totally different for Eli. :)

Holly said...

I LOVE the activity jar idea. Might steal it..I mean BORROW it! During a season of my life several years ago when we temporarily had a 12/13 year old from Africa living with us who had grown up in an orphanage, I also learned that she truly lacked the skills to entertain herself and obviously one Mama can only give one on one attention to a child for so long! She did not grow up with access to many toys and she lacked imagination and creativity to know what to do with all the excess we have here. She was addicted to TV and movies. She also had an ipod...she loved listening to music and learning the words. Does Eli have an MP3 player he could load some music onto? Hearthsong has these little dics with slits in them called Connectagons that you can build thigs with and they can fit into a quart or gallon sized ziplock bag to go! LOVE that and it is on my list to get my own kiddos! Also, what about something educationational that is electronic like Leapster or something? If I come up with more ideas I will come back and share!
blessings,
Holly

Talley Images said...

Lots of good ideas here... my first thoughts were to see if he likes to cook - good for reading and math...

or try giving him a disposable camera and let him see what he can find...

Renee said...

Our son was 9 when we brought him home and was much the same way. I had no idea what to do with him, so I would have him cook with me. He LOVED it. Almost 4 years later he is still cooking and is such a great chef. I tell him I will be washing dishes in his restraunt one day.

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