At eight years of age, children usually begin to display independence, understand their place in the world, and pay keen attention to friends and teamwork (1). Therefore, it is time to upgrade their games and activities to match their rapidly developing mental skills.
Keeping your eight-year-old engaged in a wide array of age-appropriate activities and games can effectively support their development. In this post, we share some interesting activities that can support an eight-year-old’s overall development.
30 Games And Activities For Eight-Year-Olds
Educational And Learning Activities
1. Letter talk
The fun-filled activity helps boost your child’s vocabulary and hone their spelling skills.
- Write a word on the whiteboard and ask your child to write another word that starts with the word’s last letter.
- Suppose you write “EXAMINATION,” your child has to write a word with the letter “N.”
- Take turns to write new words as long as you want to play. Explain and discuss the meaning of each word.
- Make the activity time-bound to add an element of fun and challenge.
2. Draw idioms
Idioms are phrases with a fixed combination of words that have a non-literal meaning (3). A few examples are, ‘better late than never,’ ‘a blessing in disguise,’ ‘get out of hand,’ and ‘no pain, no gain.’ Use idioms in sentences when you speak to your child. Ask them to draw the literal and non-literal meaning of the idiom to make learning fun. Learning idioms can help an eight-year-old understand a language better.
3. Captions and more
The activity promotes creative thinking and strengthens composition skills. You will need some old photographs, colored pens, and a scrapbook. Ask your child to create photo memorabilia and caption each photograph in a way that best describes their memory associated with that picture. Encourage the child to write creative captions while cherishing the memories together.
4. Weather wall
Help your child learn the weather icons/symbols with this activity. You can use a whiteboard and markers or a chart paper and colored pens.
- Make illustrations of weather icons that represent different weather types, like sunny, rainy, cloudy, windy, etc.
- Ask your eight-year-old to identify the day’s weather, either visually or through a weather app, and write the date under the corresponding icon.
- You can also say the names of the icons, such as sunny or rainy, and the child points out the icon for that weather.
5. Decode the message
Scramble the sentences in a short passage by changing the order of the words, and give it to your child to unscramble. Once the child unscrambles the sentence, ask them to write the sentence in their own words within the stipulated time. Unscrambling the sentences and rewriting them hone their analytical and language skills. When doing this, bear in mind the child’s developmental stage and set sentences that you are sure the child will be able to unscramble.
6. Identify the country or location
Place a world map on a table and a list of countries. The child needs to mark the countries on the map with a marker or place a pin on it. You can up the challenge by giving the list of cities to mark. This activity will help improve the child’s geography skills and widen their knowledge about different countries or cities in the world.
7. Math riddle
Math riddle is a brain teaser activity that hones your child’s critical thinking, logical thinking, and deductive reasoning skills. Math riddle books or online activity sheets can be used to practice age-appropriate math riddles. Make the riddle-solving session enjoyable by motivating your child to prepare riddles for friends and family. Again, bear in mind the child’s developmental stage.
8. Board games
Board games are a fun and engaging way to hone multiple cognitive abilities. A few interesting board games include Junior Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit Junior, Codenames, and Mastermind. Each game boosts some cognitive skill. For instance, while Junior Scrabble fine-tunes vocabulary and spelling skills, the Mastermind game encourages logical thinking and creativity.
9. Paragraph drawing
Make your child read a paragraph, preferably from a children’s story, and then illustrate the situation given in the paragraph, using colored pens. You can pick a paragraph based on your child’s drawing skills and preferred literary complexity. This activity promotes coordination between listening skills, cognitive abilities, and creativity. It can also promote self-expression and boost self-esteem.
Art And Craft Activities For Eight-Year-Olds
These recreational activities help children learn essential skills, like imagination, creativity, self-regulation, and self-expression.
Origami is an engaging paper-folding art. Get an age-appropriate origami kit for your child and let them indulge in some fun creations. Motivate them to prepare different items, like finger puppets, modular cube, butterfly, etc. Regular practice can also hone the child’s fine motor skills and promote mental concentration.
11. Cardboard creations
Upcycling waste material is about using it to create something new. It requires heaps of imagination and creativity. Motivate your child to upcycle cardboard boxes to create various items, such as storage box, pen stand, photo frame, or even toys. This activity can also sensitize the child on the importance of responsible waste management.
12. Beetle dice drawing
Label each part of the beetle’s body from one to six. For instance, mark one for the head (with eyes and antenna), two for the abdomen, and three for left legs, and so on. Ask your child to roll the dice, and draw the part of the beetle that corresponds to the dice’s number. Keep rolling the dice until the illustration is complete. You can increase the challenge by setting a time limit. Regular involvement in such activities helps hone your child’s time management and cognitive skills.
You can buy candle-making kits available over-the-counter. Make sure the child performs this activity under adult supervision. You may utilize the created candles or use them as showpieces, as well.
14. Batik painting
Batik is a wax-resist dyeing technique used in paintings and dying fabric. You can purchase a Batik painting kit online to introduce this artistic painting technique to your eight-year-old. Let your child try different patterns and use plenty of colors. The activity can help promote creative self-expression necessary to attain self-confidence.
15. Hanging plate
It is a simple recreational activity of converting an old, used plate into a decorative piece using acrylic paints. Involving your child in such activities boosts cognitive abilities and enhances self-expression. Besides, it is also a good way to introduce them to the concept of recycling and upcycling.
16. DIY mini garden
Create an indoor mini garden with an old plastic bathtub or a large flower pot and other decorative items. You will need soil and seeds that you can purchase from your local florist. Making a mini garden helps your child understand the basics of gardening and plant rearing. Gardening can also be relaxing since it provides the satisfaction of watching plants grow as the child nurtures them.
17. DIY obstacle course
The entertaining outdoor activity promotes physical development, strength and balance, and boosts cognitive functions, such as problem-solving. Motivate your child to prepare an obstacle course in your garden using any materials, including cardboard, ropes, hoops, etc. Let them use their DIY obstacle course with peers to test their creativity and improve their skills.
Indoor And Outdoor Activities
Indulging in indoor and outdoor activities supports an eight-year-old child’s physical and psychosocial development.
18. Family tree
A family tree is a visual representation of family relationships in the form of a tree. Use a scrapbook, colored pens, old pictures from the family album, glue, and scissors to create a family tree. The child can caption each picture and write five lines about the family tree. Making a family tree enhances creativity and fine-tunes writing skills.
19. Culinary experiment
Children enjoy eating new food varieties. You can up the excitement by letting them cook their next favorite snack. Introduce them to cooking with some simple fireless recipes. Encourage them to experiment with the ingredients and try recipes from different cuisines. They can also maintain notes to replicate their recipe later.
Research shows that Pictionary games enhance vocabulary, develop communications, and promote active thinking skills (4).
- Make two teams (team A and team B) with at least two participants in each team.
- Instruct team A to assign a word/phrase to one person from team B.
- The assignee has to draw image/s that can represent the word/phrase, and the other players of his/her team have to guess the word/phrase within the stipulated time.
- Use a sheet of paper or whiteboard and a marker to draw the picture. You can also use online Pictionary kits or online Pictionary games to play this game with friends and family.
Involving children in age-appropriate puzzles can promote motor skills, improve vocabulary, and enhance problem-solving abilities (5). Your child can try various types of puzzles such as cryptic puzzles, trivia puzzles, word puzzles, etc. Motivate them to participate in puzzle-solving sessions with friends and family to boost their collaboration skills.
22. Tape shape
Use an easy-to-remove tape to create various shapes, such as a square, circle, pentagon, etc., on the floor at a distance from one another. Take pieces of chart paper and write instructions, such as “run to the square,” “walk to the circle,” “hop five times to the pentagon,” etc., on each piece of paper. Place a piece of chart paper between the shapes. Your child will have to read the instructions, perform the task, and move from one shape to another within a stipulated time. The indoor activity promotes active thinking skills and physical development.
23. Treasure hunt
The indoor activity hones your child’s strategic thinking skills. Write riddles on chits, with each riddle giving a location of a goodie. Hide a chit and a goodie at various parts of the house. Give the first chit to your child and let them solve the riddle to reach the goodie where they also find the chit with the riddle for the next goodie. The game continues until the child finds all the chits and the goodies. You can time the activity to make the process challenging.
Chess enhances concentration, improves memory, and hones cognitive abilities. Eight years is an ideal age to start practicing chess moves and learn the basics. Explain your child each chess piece and its role in the game. Play with them and acquaint them with new tricks. Motivate your child to play chess with friends and family to improve their cognitive skills.
25. Bell game
- Make all the participants sit in a circle with legs folded.
- Pick a participant and place the bell in front of them.
- Instruct them to stand up, pick up the bell, and place it in front of the other participant without letting it ring.
- The next participant with the bell has to repeat the process by placing the bell in front of another participant without letting it ring.
- Passing the bell will continue until everyone has had a turn, or any participant fails to place the bell on the ground without letting it ring.
- You can set a time limit to up the excitement and thrill.
26. Reverse hide-and-seek
It is a quirky twist to the classic hide-and-seek game in which all the participants have to search the person in hiding. The person who catches the hiding person will have to hide with the person, and the others will have to search for the hidden participants. The game continues until there is no more space left for hiding all the participants together. Such activities are useful in teaching cooperation, collaboration, and teamwork.
27. Ball pass in pool
In this pool game, children swim with a plastic ball to pass it to another participant. The game helps develop strength, tone muscles, and promote balance and coordination. The challenge is to swim and hold the ball without letting it drift away. This fun pool game can be a great family activity.
28. Bulls-eye toss
Stick various balloons on a standard dartboard and let your child burst them all by throwing a dart at a time. Make the game challenging by asking the child to stand at least seven feet away from the dartboard. Fix a time limit and instruct them to blast x number of balloons to call it a win. Involve family and friends to make it cheerful and exciting activity.
Instruct the child to survey and study a mall, school, or park and then make a map on a plain sheet of paper. The child can include key features or landmarks of the place, such as a fountain in a park. This activity helps boost spatial awareness, memory, and improves creativity. It can also teach the child about paying attention to essential details of a location.
30. Outdoor gardening
Gardening is an interactive outdoor activity for nature-loving children. Involve your eight-year-old child in planting and tending plants to learn about nature and its processes. Working with gardening tools, knowing about soil types, seeds, fertilizers, manures, etc. can also help children understand basic STEM concepts. Besides, it serves as a recreational activity that teaches the child to be patient and compassionate towards other living beings.
Eight-year-old children learn new things every day. Parents should involve them in activities and games that feed their curiosity and contribute to their development. Relevant activities can also provide opportunities to upskill and develop children into responsible and accountable individuals.
2. Playful Learning; Durham University
3. What are idioms?; Cambridge University Press
4. Welliam Hamer and Ledy Nur Lel; Using Pictionary Game To Increase Learner’s Vocabulary Mastery In English Language Instructions; Semantic Scholar
5. Five Things Children Gain from Puzzle Play; University of Illinois
6. The Bell Game; CDC
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