Activity Ideas for Children 8-12 Years (that won’t break the bank!)

10 activity Ideas for Children Aged 8 to 12 

10 Activities for tweens (that won't break the bank)

The following comprises a list of ten great activity ideas for keeping, the sometimes insatiable, 8 to 12 year old age group busy without breaking the bank.  

1. Cooking

Abstract in the minds of some but something of a no-brainer to others, cooking is one of the unique activities that every household has 24 hour access to and can provide huge amounts of fun for zero extra cost. After all, you will be cooking meals anyway, so why not add something of a fun element to them and get the kids involved? Believe me, add a drop of blue food colouring to a bowl of mashed potato and you’ll always have them begging to get involved.

Activities for children 8 - 12 years: cooking

2. Hiking

Kids this age love adventure! A walk may not be all that exciting but a hike through the wilderness, or perhaps a nature trail, makes the walk something entirely different altogether. Try and tailor the purpose the walk to your kid’s taste.

 activities for children 8 - 12 years: hiking

3. Music

These days, musical instruments are incredibly easy and affordable to come by and have something of huge bonus in that they last a lifetime. Find out in advance what instrument your kids think is the most cool and look into picking one up from a second hand sale, eBay or classified ad in the local newspaper. It won’t cost you much at all and could grow into a wonderful talent.

activities for children 8 - 12: playing music

4. Museum

Modern museums are a veritable adventure playgrounds that have to be seen to be believed. Find out where your nearest modern museums are go exploring.

activities for children aged 8 - 12 years:  visit a museum

5. Photography

Getting your kids involved in photography used to be an expensive endeavor, but that has all changed along with technology. Digital cameras allow infinite numbers of images to be take and retaken without any expense, with only those selected to be printed on any home computer. Encouraging an interest in photography can grow into a lifelong skill.

activities for children 8 - 12 years: photography

6. Computer Time 

While most would steer their kids’ attention away from the computer, there are wonderful educational and social games that can be downloaded entirely for free. Check out the credentials of the games online and select a good selection to try out on your tribe. Kids can also write stories, create posters and do presentations. Computer time can be a good thing.

The Book Cook Free Resource Links is a great place to start for literacy based resources.

activities for children aged 8 to 12 years: computer time

7. Treasure Hunt

Perhaps suited more for the younger end of the spectrum, setting up a treasure hunt has the potential to offer hours of fun for literally zero expense. The idea is simple – just script a number of clues as elaborate as you like and position them across an area of your choosing. Ensure each clue points to the next and construct an intricate web of hints and clues, eventually leading to a reward – even a lollipop will do!

Activities for kids aged 8 to 12: treasure hunt

8. Art 

Now this is certainly not a suggestion to practice near soft furnishings or anything valuable, but if you have the space and are not concerned with a little mess, consider suggesting a little messy art. Here are some ideas: finger painting, paint throwing, balloon painting, portrait painting, canvas painting.

activities for children 8 to 12 yeras: painting

9. Earning Money

The odds are, kids this age are keen to earn a little extra pocket money – so why not provide them with the chance? Put them in charge of even the most minor of tasks to begin building a level of responsibility that will almost certainly be built in for life.

activities for children 8 to 12 years: doing jobs earning money pocket money

10. Baking

Okay, so this may be an extension of cooking, but it is likely that baking will hold much more appeal for many kids. They may take a little persuasion to get involved at first, but let them get a little messy with some melted chocolate and marshmallows and you may just have trouble fending them off next time!

activities for children aged 8 - 12: baking

Do you have any other activity idea for this age group?

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  • Reply
    July 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Great post… often these guys are the ‘neglected’ age group. It’s hard to find posts on them, that’s for sure! Thank you! x

    • Reply
      July 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      Yes, you are right. I have quite a few more posts for this age group too…I guess I’ve noticed that there isn’t many posts more now that my daughter is10. It changes slightly when they hit the preteen age hey?

      • Reply
        November 2, 2014 at 8:31 pm

        Yes it does, I was thinking about having themed “play dates” or sleep overs.. Example being a safe science experiment night with household items.. Each child find an experiment online or one from school or maybe just out of curiosity. Example: Making volcanoes, the hard boiled egg,pealed being sucked into a small opening of a glass bottle after a match thrown in bottle egg on top as soon as match is dropped egg gets sucked in.. I love science experiments myself I hope i can help encourage them with the fun interesting facts … I’m excited lol .. Then also other sleep over nights could be other themes… My children are 9 & 12 so I have some research to do .. Maybe magic tricks ..who knows possibilities are endless and they will be learning and enjoying it … Now I have to find a website for safe in home experiments and DIY things that will blow their minds…. If anyone has any interesting crazy mind blowing fun protects feel free to help me out… I’ll. Do the same for u!!! Find me on Facebook Kristy A Moser… Thanks for this page !! Its motivational and give me hope to stay connected w my growing kiddos!! Ty

  • Reply
    Glenys@Cupcake City
    July 16, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Some terrific ideas here Kelly. I’ll add bike riding, there are heaps of trails for that pretty much everywhere and if you pack a small picnic in a backpack even more fun. Get a small group together and plan the ride 🙂

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      July 16, 2011 at 9:56 am

      Oh yes! I remember LOVING bikeriding at that age too. Still do actually. Thanks for that Glenys!

  • Reply
    July 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    If there is one thing i wish, it was that my parents had given me a camera earlier. But then again, who knows, maybe i wasn’t interested back then!

    Love all of these ideas, may need to invest in some when i babysit next 🙂

    Hope you are well, have missed you and your blog! Catching up now!

    K xx

  • Reply
    July 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Awesome, thank you!!

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    August 14, 2013 at 9:07 am

    We’re getting into sewing, both by hand and machine. She’s learning to follow simple patterns as well as just experimenting with fabrics, it’s awesome.

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    August 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    My son has even had a go at knitting! Another one is match stick and paddle pop crafts. Not costly but something they can really sink their teeth into.

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    April 25, 2014 at 4:05 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about activities for children aged 8 to 12 years.

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    March 25, 2019 at 3:20 am

    is it cooking and bakeing the same

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