Six Kids Means Six Times the After-School Activitiesby Julie Cole
People often ask what my kids are into and how I manage all the activities. Managing it all is a constant work in progress, but as far as current interests go, this is how it’s looking:
Son Number One (12 years old)
At the moment, his greatest love of all is Minecraft. His dream would be to either play Minecraft or watch Minecraft YouTube videos at all times. I think he’d even sneak on a pair of “Depends” to avoid bathroom breaks. As such, we have some screen restrictions in our family.
During the school week, there is no iPod, iPad, Wii, or Xbox use. Kids are allowed up to one hour on the computer if homework is done. Considering there is one computer between the six of them, no one ever really gets an hour.
Books - I spent a lot of time fretting in his younger years about reading. It frustrated me that all he would read were graphic novels. Finally, a teacher told me to relax and just be glad he’s reading - regardless of what it was. As soon as I did, he began to enjoy what I consider “proper” books. This summer he read the Hunger Games series and just finished “I Am Number Four” by Pitticus Lore.
Extracurriculars - Scouts, hockey, taekwondo and hip hop keep this boy’s mind off Minecraft!
The Multitasker (11 years old)
This kid functions best with a very full plate. She runs from activity to activity, sport to sport, and doesn’t like to miss out on any action. I think of her as a Julie 2.0 of sorts. She’s friendly, fun, and delightfully resilient.
Books - She’s covered all the usual tween books: Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Percy Jackson... She devours books but won’t touch anything she considers “girlie.” Her latest favourites have been “Divergent” and “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth.
Extracurriculars - Hockey, ballet, jazz, tap, Irish dance, violin, and a variety of school sports keep her very busy.
The Sass Girl (9 years old)
This child can be found climbing trees and leaping treetop to treetop... in rollerblades... while carrying her fishing rod. She loves anything to do with nature and animals, and she spends most of her waking hours begging me for a dog. She’s bright as a button, sweet as pie, but crazy as hell.
Books - Afraid the Hunger Games will scare her, she’s avoiding them at all costs despite the pressure from siblings and cousins. She knocked out the Harry Potter series in the spring and is now on the fifth book in the Percy Jackson series.
Extracurriculars - My outdoorsy girl is into Cub Scouts, jazz, hip hop, tap, singing, and hockey.
Little Lady #3 (7 years old)
Currently obsessed with mermaids, she can be found swimming in our pool in the new mermaid tail our neighbour made her during much of her free time. Her favourite TV show, “H20: Just Add Water,” is about three Australian teenagers who are secretly mermaids.
When out of the pool, she is obsessing over her “American Girl." She spends time poring over the catalogue, fantasizing about what outfit she wants her AG to have. When I took her to NYC recently, we spent an obscene amount of time (not to mention money) at the American Girl Place. This AG stuff rubs me entirely the wrong way, but she loves it and it truly keeps her busy and engaged in imaginative play.
Books - She’s not interested in the books my other girls were reading at this age, which were the Magic Tree House series and Cabin Creek Mysteries. She likes to read the Geronimo Stilton books, which are a step up from Junie B. Jones, who drives me crazy.
Extracurriculars - She loves her hockey, tap, jazz, hip hop, and piano.
Little Man (5 years old)
This kid spends a fair bit of time remembering irrelevant numbers and dates. His favourite activity is math quizzes and he gets much pleasure from beating older kids at getting to the correct answer. When he’s taking a break from his math fun, he’s angling a way to play Plants vs. Zombies™.
Books - He has just started reading, so he's into most early reader books he can get a hold of.
Extracurricular - He's busy with hockey, taekwondo, tap dancing, and piano.
The Pint-Sized Dictator (3 years old)
This wee man spends most of his time ordering people around and generally being a bossy boots. He likes to tell the biggies that it’s time for them to go to bed. At other times he can be found wandering around the house pretending to be a zombie.
Books - He loves Eric Carl, so I hold the world record for number of times having read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”
Extracurricular - He stays occupied by going to pre-school, attending the sports and activities of his big brothers and sisters, running around arenas, and most importantly... causing trouble.
What are your kids into at the moment? Do you have any kids age-matching my guys? Do they share similar interests?