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Your favorite "group activities" for kids

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In reading the various threads about comebacks to socialization comments and concerns about a lack of group work, I have been really interested to read some of the suggestions about what your children do with other children from outside the family. I hadn't heard of some of them before.


If you would be so good as to share what activities (such as scouting, 4H, sports, and so on) you have found beneficial to your children, I would be appreciative.


Thank you!

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Brownies has been the best for us. We have a small mixed age girl scout troop run by a homeschool mom. The girls meet together each week for a group meeting w/the leader (girls from 5 up to high school) then split up into their individual groups ie daisies, brownies, juniors, etc to work on their current badges. We do field trips, camping, and ceremonies together. Sometimes the older girls teach the younger girls for some of their badges. We have a lot of fun. Also, there is a "brother" boy scout troop that meets the same night at the same church. Sometimes we do things with them as well.


My girls also participate in Sun. School and children's church on Sun. From Oct. to Dec. they meet at church for children's choir to practice for and perform in the Christmas pageant. This gives them the oppurtunity for public speaking and singing in a group.


We are members of a field trip only group for homeschoolers. This allows us to do group things at museums and get group pricing. Sometimes museums do special things for school groups (like living history museums) that we wouldn't necessarily get just going as a family. This group is good for that.


Mine also do sports, usually one at a time. They have done team sports like soccer, but most usually dance and gymnastics, swimming lessons, and that sort.


We are planning on trying to join a co op, but have no experience there yet. I am very pleased with our activities so far.

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Cub Scouts is awesome. Quiet son has emerged as a leader in his Den (still quiet but steps up to the task).


Dance class has been good for DD. She is assertive & even takes new kids around to introduce them to the former students. She learns to cooperate with the dance & instruction... but to lead & guide by her nature.


If they were not confident individuals & did not respect others... they could not do well in the groups. Prepare confident & respectful young people & they can lead and work well in a cooperative environment!

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One of the best things for my kids has been hosting a game night at our home. I think it is really important for the kids to be able to get together without an educational agenda. We have had so much fun and developed some great friendships as a result of game nights. In fact, we're having one next Friday!

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My daughter turns 9 next month. Throughout her life we have been involved in our church on a regular basis, where she is in Sunday School, joined the choir this year (along with two of her friends), helps with social justice and other projects, helps set up the sanctuary for Sunday service, helps the person doing the after service coffee, etc. Sometimes these helping activities involve other children, sometimes not. They have done winter pageants the last couple of years. We have also regularly attended age appropriate programs at the library and parks/rec centers.


Initially, we did preschool (social and exploration focused, not academic focused) from 2.5 to 4 (2 half days at 2, 3 half days at 3, 4 half days at 4---fabulous). At 3 we tried ballet (horrible, horrible experience--combination of bad teacher and daughter's bad behavior---the preschool years were not fun with her!), moved to non-competitive gymnastics until about age 6(good experience).


At 4 1/2 we joined a homeschool support group (best thing that ever happened to us--we are still there). It has yielded lasting friendships for her and for us and a plethora of activities including a monthly board games night with several other families, our current GS troop, a First Lego League (new this year), weekly park days, various field trips, educational group events, etc.


At 5 we tried 4H Cloverbuds for a few months (not a great experience, but not horrible). During preschool years, she went to a one week summer half day camp for 2 years at an arts center where they explored various arts (good experience, even though her behavior was challenging). She's also been to camps at our church, the local children's science museum, a local historic site, this year one that collaborated between the parks and rec and the science museum (today was the last day), and will go to a Girl Scout day camp in a couple weeks. We try for at least one week-long camp each summer, two if we can afford it (the church one and the GS one were inexpensive, so that helped). I anticipate that at about age 10 she will be ready to consider going to overnight church camp or GS camp.


At about 6 1/2, she started aikido at a family dojo along with her dad---wonderful experience, they are actually having a campout there this evening and going to play lasertag with the group after class tomorrow morning. There are several kids in the kids' class and it is a very community/family atmosphere. We started Girl Scouts that year as a Brownie (so-so troop, been much better now that we have our own troop in our hs group and she is a Jr). Over the last year she has been going to a monthly writing club and a monthly book club at the library as well as a twice a month craft/activity afterschool program there (good experiences). This year she joined the neighborhood swim team and wants to do it again next year (runs for about 6 weeks).


That's about it that I can think of for activities in which she has been engaged in a sustained manner with other kids, rather than just being in an audience or something like that. She's a very socially-oriented only child, so we have made a specific effort to help her find outlets for that. Whether the particular activity was beneficial or not often hinged on the instructor/leader and a mesh with my daughter's personality, so some of the things that didn't work for us would work well for others.

Edited by KarenNC
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