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A friend works at a daycare center and has kids ages 10 to 13 for two hours after their regular school. This place offers only babysitting, not crafts. Do you have any suggestions as to things they could do that might keep the kids happy? The director might spring money for the occasional organized activity for the kids.
Doing sports outside like a game of dodge ball or touch football or 4 square always eats up some time.
Learning hand jives
Putting on improvised plays using stuff that's laying around as props
Get some hemp twine and beads with large holes in them and show the kids how to make knotted hemp braceltes. (it's fairly inexpensive- you can get a hank of twine for like $1 and thats enough for about 3 braceltes or so, ad beads can be as inexpensive as some pony beads)
Have each child bring in an old magazine or two and make collages with a theme, and vote on the one that best fits the theme. (examples could be poetry, beauty, healthy, funny)
Start up a beat and have each kid add a repeating beat of thier own till everyone is doing something different but it all goes together. (this can be lots of fun)
start a marbles tournament, and teach the kids to play (I know it sounds silly, but theres a lot of skill involved in actually playing)
Boardgames are FANTASTIC ways to pass time. Tell them to look at yardsales or at good will for good games at bargain prices (just make sure all the peices are there)
Alternately you could buy incomplete games and use the peices to make your own games, make up your on rules and eveything, a good chance to be creative
Make a comic book with a twist. Have each person draw a comic book page, but with the speech bubbles empty, then have the kids switch thier papers and have them fill in captions for the comic. (you might do this with a theme, and try to tie them all together somehow)
Lots more ideas, I'll add more later.
How about library books, story hour, drawing with crayons or markers on recycled paper gotten from business or print shop "goofs". Homework time, videos or DVD's rented or loaned free from libraries, simple snacks like pnut buitter sandwiches or crackers and p-nut butter. Could kids bring in a small amount of money, even a dollar a month or 50 cents a week to fund craft supplies?
Possibly setting up a quiet homework station might help.
Have your friend post on Freecycle.org in her local area and ask for the needed items and post that it's for a non-profit group.
Allowing them to express themselves acting out their favorite Role Model. That'll be interesting to them. Or making them Draw their dream City, Room. Or Put a kids educative and/or adventurous movies for them to watch and then have them say what they liked the most about it or their favorite part. Buy some new and cheap games for them to play, look them up and buy it for cheap in the internet. Also, think about new ways you can lead them towards a reality imagination (kids love to imagine things).
Because they are old enough, also have them into different groups give each group an interest and fun topic that you know most of them will like and than give directions and have each group organize their own acting scene to present/expose to the rest of the group. Or give each one the assignment to teach something to the class in 10-15 minutes.
Overall, just be creative and think about the things you liked doing or would have like to do when you was a kid. Also, just asking them what they like to do and try putting those ideas together into an activity will be great.
I have a daycare. Mix age group for bigger kids. We have cable, movies, non violent video games; one of each system, several televisions, interacting with them while playing. We have big doll heads with hair accessories for girls. Real drum set for music. Karaoke machine,if i spelled that correct. Homework room turns into playing school. Outdoor playground; slid,e swings, sand box, monkey bars, basketball play.
The kids make pizza on fridays. We have a reading bucks program where if kids read a book and write a paragraph about it they receive a $1. They plant flowers and vegetables. Have ice cream with their favorite toppings. Those are just a few things,and it might be sometimes costly, but at the end its worth it! Hope this helps.