The kids are their own project managers
July 31, 2020 11:51 AM   Subscribe

What is a good project that two kids can do together over the course of 5 days that does not involve much help form an adult?

Next week a 13 year old family friend will be hanging out with my 6 year old during the afternoons, while I work (this is acceptable within the covid rules for the area in which I live).

I would like to set them up with a project at the beginning of the week that they can work on a bit each day and have something they are proud of at the end of the week. Ideally, after the initial set up, they would be able to continue it on their own. This project would be among other activities like going to the park or riding their bikes together.

I am happy to buy crafting/baking/building supplies as needed.

One caveat is that they do not have the same first language, and while this does not stop them from communicating, projects centered around writing or reading will be more challenging for them to do together.

Thank you for your suggestions!
posted by keeo to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Paper mache figures. Takes time to dry each coat.
posted by Ftsqg at 11:58 AM on July 31, 2020 [2 favorites]

They could make a storybook together. One of them draws the pictures first and then the other writes the story based on the picture. Sort of the opposite for how Axe Cop is made. The one who ends up writing the story will get more out of it, in that they'd be able to fully understand the story and enjoy the pictures, but the illustrator gets the benefit of dictating how everything goes so it kind of evens out.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:10 PM on July 31, 2020

Best answer: After watching Ponyo my then-6 year old and I became fascinated with the candle-fueled putt-putt steam boat in the movie. We built a model one over the course of several days using this extremely patient and well-thought-out YouTube tutorial. The boat was very satisfying to build, works perfectly, and we both remember it as one of the most fun projects of that era. It’s well within the ability of a 13yo, with lots of smaller tasks for a 6yo assistant. Many of the materials are things you probably have on hand anyway — drinking straws, milk carton, aluminum can. I think the only specialty item we needed was a particular type of epoxy that we found easily at Lowe’s. Maybe watch the movie, then build, then take it out to a lake or the tub?

The creator has several other good projects on his channel.
posted by apparently at 12:17 PM on July 31, 2020 [6 favorites]

Build a box & blanket fort. Or if you have a cat, a cat castle.
posted by lyssabee at 12:30 PM on July 31, 2020

If you have lots of cardboard lying around then you can buy special toy screws to fasten the pieces together to make things. Could be big things like forts or sculptures or smaller things like costumes. With a proper cardboard cutter (not an xacto knife/box cutter but one with a plastic "blade" with small serrations) either one of them could do the cutting. If you don't have one then probably leave the cutting to the family friend.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:05 PM on July 31, 2020

Best answer: The 13 year old might have some ideas for what they did as a kid -- it could be a moment for them to revisit a beloved childhood game or project.

Maybe a complicated Lego project or other building set? The older kid could help the younger kid troubleshoot. Though ideally you'd want two projects so they can each take one home, if desired. My kid was super into Legos when he was little and now, as a teenager, has fun if I give him little Lego gifts once in a while.
posted by bluedaisy at 1:14 PM on July 31, 2020

Best answer: A stop motion animated film or mini series. There’s a good app - Stop Motion App - and I think there’s a Lego movie app. They can construct sets and characters together., shoot the frames, and edit - then plan a premiere!
posted by warriorqueen at 1:15 PM on July 31, 2020 [7 favorites]

I was going to suggest stop motion too! It's really fun and ideal for two people to work on together.
posted by redfoxtail at 1:39 PM on July 31, 2020

Cardboard box castle/village/spaceship/DiagonAlley, with paper-maché elaborations/monsters, and then a storyboard to film! Either stop motion or live action, or theyll figure out how to do both. Are there farther relatives to watch the production when it’s done? (clapping, red carpet, returned fanfic).
posted by clew at 6:37 PM on July 31, 2020

I was overcome by my excitement. What warriorqueen said.
posted by clew at 6:38 PM on July 31, 2020

If you have an iPad - iMovie has these click and drop style trailers you can make. It requires them to take lots of photos and videos and then work together to make trailers. Then take more photos and videos and do more and more and more....
posted by Toddles at 9:18 PM on July 31, 2020

At that age I made a lot of model rockets with my 7-year-old brother looking on and helping with the easy parts. The only thing the younger couldn't help with is gluing on the fins. You can easily finish it in time for a launch at the end of the week.
posted by 8603 at 11:40 AM on August 1, 2020

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