Parents want to know more about play for children between age 9 and 12. During this period of development, children experience rapid social maturation and physical growth. They are in transition.
No longer so young, their interests grow more sophisticated. Despite the many changes, they still benefit by having a good balance of activities at home, at school and at playtime.
Children will expand their talents and interests if they are encouraged. So, this is a great opportunity for parents to introduce new hobbies, as well as a range of activities and experiences, to their children.
At this age, friends are a significant influence on a child. However, with your support and encouragement, their individual talents and interests will also expand. The older child likes to make things, work on projects and see results.
Gift ideas include interesting hobbies, crafts or construction sets. They also like computers, cameras and scientific materials. Other possible gifts include sports, creative arts equipment, stuffed animals and also the introduction to or support for special collections.
Also consider assorted books, board and video games, a camera or video camera, and the newest hand-held technology.
This is a good time for children to discover and expand their interests and unique talents. They can also be encouraged to pursue music, art, dance, drama and writing.
Your child's ability to concentrate for longer periods of time at this age will be reflected in what they pursue and how much they develop their interests after-school. Provide time for them to spend alone to find their own interests and enjoy being productive.
Children appreciate knowing about different alternatives and having the opportunity to make selections based on their interests and curiosity. When children are constructively occupied, they are happier, more satisfied and more productive at home and in school.
Reading, playing games, flying a kite, throwing a Frisbee, putting a puzzle together and having a hobby can all help to make children more focused, smarter, social and self-confident.
Just as friends and individual pursuits are important, as they grow older, children need to also interact with their parents. So find some fun group activities to do together that allow everyone to win.
Play is the smart way to learn.
See Chapter Six, "Older Child", in my book, Smart Play/Smart Toys, for more about play and toys for older children. Learn more about toys and find suggested specific selections in "Dr Toy's Guide" www.drtoy.com.
© 2013 Stevanne Auerbach, PhD, Dr. Toy, San Francisco, CA
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