What fun things can I do with my nephews for a day this weekend?
April 5, 2012 3:05 PM   Subscribe

What fun things can I do with my nephews for a day this weekend?

So I have the opportunity to spend the day with my nephews (6 and 5) this weekend, and I want to spend some quality time with them.

I've arranged to take them out in the morning, and to bring them back when they are tired(!). I want it to be a fun and memorable day for them, and to remind them that I am the cool uncle! Previously, when I visited last, I created a spy game for them that they loved, with basic codes and ciphers, and hidden messages and it inspired me to do something bigger and better. Hence the visit this weekend.

My idea was to have a bit of a themed day; for example "Space Adventure", where they pretend they are astronauts, and we spend an hour or so in the morning planning our journey to the stars by drawing space-scenes and so-on. Then to take them to a local park and play out the adventure with them.

I also have enough time to prepare accessories beforehand, such as an Astronaut pack with "captain's logs" and "star charts" and badges etc!

I would really like to incorporate fun, small scale, science-y stuff like water bottle rockets (is that too risky?), but other ideas I've had include making catapults, giant paper planes, building a den, or making bows/arrows.

They live in the countryside, so we've got wide open spaces to use and play in.

They love dinosaurs, castles, space, superheroes. The usual. They also love the TV series Merlin, so I could potentially create a child-friendly LARP game, with fun quests etc.

Has anyone any further ideas that are a definite hit for young boys? Or that will nicely utilise the time and space we will have? Any links to resources would be amazing.
posted by Petrot to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Where are you? (Or rather, where are they?)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:12 PM on April 5, 2012

do you have a smart phone? one of my friends (i totally wish i remembered who it was, because i want to ask them about it) set up a qr code scavenger hunt for some young people she knew. maybe hiding some space stuff (astronaut ice cream, space stickers, matchbox shuttles, etc) around and give them qr code based clues attached to each prize.

i don't know if they're too young for that kind of thing (if you help them, it might be just fine), but it sounded so cool it stuck with me.

this might be helpful if you decide that's what you want to do (i looked up qr code scavenger hunt on google.).
posted by koroshiya at 3:14 PM on April 5, 2012

that should be: young people s/he knew. oops.
posted by koroshiya at 3:14 PM on April 5, 2012

Any good children's museums near you? Also miniature golf keeps the 'cool' in 'cool uncle/aunt'.

And take them out for lunch, someplace with real menus, not fast food!
posted by easily confused at 3:15 PM on April 5, 2012

Make a treasure map! Every place along the trail has a fun activity and directions to get to the next part of the map. You could even dress up as pirates!

Another idea is creating your own obstacle course. I used to do this with couch cushions when I was babysitting on a rainy day. You can use whatever you have. For example, if you're at the playground:

Through the tunnel
Down the slide
Over the swing
Back through the tunnel
Walk backwards through the Jungle Gym

As fast as you can, follow me! Ready. Set. GO! (You all take turns being the one to come up with the obstacle course and the leader until everyone is completely exhausted. It works like you wouldn't believe to tire out boys that size and the lucky person watching them.) It's like ramped up Follow the Leader.
posted by TooFewShoes at 3:21 PM on April 5, 2012

Treasure maps and scavenger hunts are great ideas!

In answer to some queries, we're in the UK, but any ideas that involve being outdoors are fantastic. No smart phone, or indoor places. Lunch will be a packed-lunch (explorer's rations!) eaten outside.

The boys love playing outside, and as I'm in the army they love the idea of playing their uncle's "games" like camping and playing soldiers. HOWEVER, I don't like playing any games that involve guns, or fake violence with them -the most I'll do is bows/arrows!
posted by Petrot at 3:44 PM on April 5, 2012

Mr. Pony's Uncle offered him coke on a houseboat full of dog hair???? Just kidding (but its true).

My point is: You are a dream uncle!

All I can recommend is to bring yummy snacks. Everything else sounded beyond amazing.
posted by misspony at 4:03 PM on April 5, 2012

Are you in the US? Because this weekend is easter. even if you're not religious, hiding a bunch of candy in the back yard & tellimg 2 kids that age to go find is some awesome good fun. Tricky if you're Jewish or Hindi or whatever, but I thought i'd mention it. On preview: UK, well you could improvise: it doesn't have to be a cultural practice; you could get a bag of toy soldiers or something equally boy-desirable & have an impromptu hunt just for the sheer fun of it.
posted by Ys at 4:19 PM on April 5, 2012

Do you have a GPS? Check out if there are many geocaches in your area (link). It would fit right in with a "behind enemy lines" plot.

Even if you don't, you can use good old-fashioned compas and map orienteering!
posted by clorox at 5:47 PM on April 5, 2012

You are an inspiration to all of us fathers of young boys on AskMefi.

I have two younger boys, and have always thought about doing something like this: a simulated voyage to Mars, where the prep work includes a large appliance box (refrigerator size if possible). The first task: decorate the spaceship, build and decorate the controls, help cut out the appropriate windows, use small kid chairs for the seats, make sure there's space for the pilot astronaut, the co-pilot and the passenger. Make an audio recording of the start of Star Trek, and selected cuts from E.T., Close Encounters, Star Wars etc. to enhance the experience of takeoff, flying through space, and landing.

The second task: navigate the Martian terrain using a map. Build a few imagined obstacles - a valley of blazing heat, a forest of fog, crawl through brush, all directed on the map. Arrive at the goal: base camp!

The third task: find a pair if Y-shaped branches (or plant beforehand?), make slingshots for protection, have target practice training on use of their weapons. Award prize certificate for best shot, and a second certificate for most curved shot. Provide foam ammo for them to keep in a belt ammo clip. (Can get creative here too.)

Fourth task: go hunting for Martians. Setup a fluorescent-painted scarecrow thing at a specific place, and pretend hunt the Martian. Dispatch with foam ammo. Celebrate with cold punch drink of choice. Optional: Carry home the 'head' or other body part (?) as a trophy.

Fifth task: find water and food. Perhaps plant a cache and use a map, or make your way to a known picnic spot. Stop for lunch. Be sure to recall some of the morning adventure.

Sixth task: Safety exercise, act out a scenario where one member of the team is hurt, and another member has to dress the wound, make a makeshift stretcher, and carry the wounded back to a designated rally-point for radio-rescue. Repeat a second time switching roles. (note: no need to carry the wounded very far, as this is only a training exercise.)

Seventh task: perform scientific experiments, by testing the air, water, and soil for new life forms. Binoculars for any new forms of life, described in your notebook, magnifying glass for any new worms or frogs or minnows where you can find them, bring some trowels and turn over some logs and rocks and be as descriptive as possible. Note: looking for new life forms in the atmosphere will involve higher elevation by climbing trees. Life forms in water will involve getting feet wet (at least) so plan accordingly.

Eighth task: spaceship maintenance, you return to the spaceship and work on it with provided tools. (These should be simple - a cardboard tube and a stick can be a wrench and a screwdriver.) test the battery charge, troubleshoot it and replace the needed part. This process can go in many directions, up to changing major parts critical to its function.

Ninth task: mid-afternoon fruit and cracker snack. (Adventurers gotta eat.)

Tenth task: blastoff checklist. Find small safety problems and fix them. Blast off back to earth, with a reprise of the Star Trek and other space themes.

Eleventh task: post-mission debrief with the Mission Control officer and the head of the EU Space Agency. (Their parents.) Bonus awards and certificates as needed.

P.S. - I'm going to do this with my own boys next month when we go camping again.
posted by scooterdog at 6:16 PM on April 5, 2012 [4 favorites]

Alka Seltzer Rockets are a fun project for this age.
posted by coevals at 7:05 PM on April 5, 2012

How about pond dipping? Get a some aquarium nets, duct tape them to some poles or sticks and see what kind of swimmy things you can catch. Couple jars and your in business.

Or, walk through the woods and turn logs over. See what kind of bugs and other creatures you can find. Always put the logs back the way you found them.

Even better, do both.
posted by bricksNmortar at 8:36 PM on April 5, 2012

Thank you everyone!
posted by Petrot at 2:01 AM on April 6, 2012

Favoriting your question because I became an uncle last week. These are all great ideas.
posted by emelenjr at 7:39 AM on April 6, 2012

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