Help me come up with activities for a nine-year-old boy
November 4, 2008 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Concrete ideas of things to do with a nine-year-old boy in the Baltimore, MD area. I am going to be the Big Sister of a boy in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, and as much as I love doing things this kid likes and things kids like in general, I'm having a heck of a time trying to come up with specific activities--for example, I can't exactly schedule an activity day for sword-fighting or reading.

I have a few ideas--going to the aquarium, zoo, or local museums for instance. And going to a movie, DC, taking a tour of a firehouse, and cooking at my apartment would be great once we get to know each other. But I'm drawing a blank on other things.

I see two types of activities: relatively low-key things to do for the first few meetings so we can get to know each other, and more extravagant, cool things that we can do once we've established a rapport and his parents are a little more comfortable with me. The first type is what's really giving me trouble.

Unfortunately, I can't find an up-to-date activity calendar on my program's website. I would greatly appreciate any ideas!
posted by anonymous to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total)
The Maryland Science Center
posted by watercarrier at 12:48 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: Here's the calendar for the Pratt Library (you can search by age group and branch).

And inspired by that list, how about playing board games or card games in a coffee shop?
posted by Airhen at 12:49 PM on November 4, 2008

My college bf was a Big Brother who did lots of cool things with his little bro. My bf was in a fraternity, so just hanging at the frat house and watching sports was pretty awesome for the kid. He also liked going to see action movies. The BB/BS program probably has special days at museums scheduled, but you'd probably be surprised how many places will give you some kind of special tour or access if you just call and ask. A tour of a sports stadium or news station (or fencing school - sword fighting!) would be kind of cool. I don't remember how, but my bf managed to get him and the kid on the field for a professional football game - they helped the tv guys pull the cords around. It was a pretty awesome experience for both of them.
posted by jrichards at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2008

Get him a copy of The Dangerous Book for Boys. Good stuff in there. Also seconding jrichards above - I bet that letting folks know you're doing BB/BS opens more than a few doors.
posted by jquinby at 1:03 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: How about frisbee at Patterson Park as a low key, low cost way to get to know each other? You'd be surprised at how many kids in Baltimore don't go to the park - and there are a lot of good ones. And there's skating at Patterson Park, too and never forget bowling. Duckpin bowling is awesome with nine year olds. Taking kids on the water taxi to the Science Center is always a huge fun experience, as is going further afield and hiking out in the country, especially since a lot of city kids have never done it. There are still some warm days to come; think about hiking. Also, hey, the zoo!
posted by mygothlaundry at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: - B&O Railroad Museum
- Geppi's Entertainment Museum
- walk around Lexington Market and get something to eat & some treats
- Fire Museum of MD
- Museum of African American Culture
- Freefall Baltimore calendar
- list of events & attractions from Baltimore Fun Guide
- If he likes dogs, watch the dogs play at the Canton dog park.
- Buy fresh veggies & treats at the Baltimore Farmers' Market
- Reenactments at Fort McHenry, from which you can also see very cool cranes & cargo ships.
- Play Bocce together at the public court in Little Italy! I've seen women in their 50s and 60s playing teenage boys (and kicking their butts).
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 1:43 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: Children's Museum at Port Discovery? The Aquarium (Fridays after 5). Apple picking at Larriland Farms, O's games in the spring are pretty cheap.
posted by electroboy at 1:53 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: I've been a Big Sister, and my best advice is not to get sucked in to always going on "field trips." Try to keep the special events to a minimum and plan low-key get togethers where you can get to know each other and just hang out. You don't need to be always going somewhere. I made this mistake and regretted it, because my Little Sister soon came to see me as more of a chauffeur than a friend.
posted by Joleta at 2:22 PM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: These are great ideas, thanks! Joleta, would you be willing to discuss your experience a little more, you can MefiMail me if you prefer. Is "low-key" like playing a board game or playing frisbee?
posted by Anonymous at 4:31 PM on November 4, 2008

Best answer: Having also been a Big Sister, I have to agree with Joleta. There are great ideas above, but I wouldn't plan an activity every time you're together. In some ways, the more low-key outings are better because it gives you and your Little more opportunity to talk, which is what I think it's mostly about. Even just having them over to your place and letting them be a part of your routine is fine. My Sis mainly just wanted out of her house. On the other hand, though my Sis's parents were a mess, her guardians at the time were good to her and I tried to participate in family activities with them when they invited me.
posted by curie at 12:26 PM on November 5, 2008

The harbor water taxi.
posted by dsaelf at 5:50 PM on December 8, 2008

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