View Full Version : Ideas for entertaining my 11-year-old friend

02-16-2014, 10:05 AM
Hi all. :)

I have an 11-year-old friend that I'm trying to keep in touch with, but I'm struggling to find things to do with her that don't break the bank. She used to go to my church and was in my Sunday school class. Her family stopped going but we've tried to still hang out ounce a month or so. The problem is I don't really know what to do with her.

A few times, we grabbed some food and then did a bit of shopping. We had fun, but I just really can't afford that. We also went to an art museum once but I think that would get old if we did that every month. I'd love it if I had a place I could bring her to do baking or crafting or even just watch a movie, but I don't. My roommate/landlord is a borderline hoarder, the house is a wreck and I can't bring anyone there.

So I'm wondering if any of you ladies might have some creative ideas. The main things are relative cheapness and some location out of the home.

Thanks! :)

02-16-2014, 10:21 AM
I can't remember where you live, but do you have any places to hike or enjoy the outdoors? One thing our family did one time was take a nature walk and each person gathered items from nature in a paper bag - leaves, twigs, dried grasses, pine cones, etc. We brought our bags home and used hot glue to attach all or treasures to straw wreaths. It was really neat to see how creative we could get with a bunch of "junk". Some of them were really pretty. Straw wreaths are cheap, so is glue, and the hike is free.

02-16-2014, 12:42 PM
Being near D.C., there are some cool fun things you can do that won't break the bank. Metro down to the National Mall and tour the monuments on foot (when it's not freezing and snowy LOL). Go to the arboretum and look at the flowers in the spring. Hike or picnic at Rock Creek Park. The zoo isn't super metro-friendly but it's not a bad walk, and not too expensive to get in either.

I don't remember which part of D.C. you're in, but if you aren't too far from Wheaton Regional Park, there is so much to do there. I think the ice skating rink is still open, and that's not expensive to get into. You can rent skates there. They also have a free arboretum, lots of walking trails, and a playground area (she might be too old for that, but you're never too old for the lame train ride :P)

Also, pick up one of the free community newspapers they sometimes have at grocery stores and delis, if you don't get one thrown into your driveway a couple times a week. There are often a bunch of free community activities listed in there - street fairs, arts and crafts shows, stuff like that.

02-16-2014, 04:09 PM
How much time (hours) are you spending together in one visit?

02-16-2014, 06:28 PM
Thanks for the ideas so far! I actually live in Maryland, about 20 minutes outside of DC. I'll have to look up Wheaton Regional Park. I'm assuming it's near Wheaton in which case it's only about a half hour or so from where I live.

How much time (hours) are you spending together in one visit?

It depends, but usually at least 2 hours. On a weekend, possibly as much as 4-5.

02-16-2014, 06:59 PM
Can you just go to a coffee shop with a board game?

Do you have a friend that will let you both hang out at their apartment? Maybe you can do some baking or cooking together and offer some to the friend whose apartment you use as "payment"?

02-16-2014, 07:04 PM
Is there a local park you can take a picnic to when the weather warms up?

My newly 12yo just likes spending time with me even if we "do" nothing so I don't think you need to plan something fancy each time.

02-16-2014, 08:17 PM
I second doing outdoor activities together!
You could find out if any local elementary or middle schools are putting on a school play or concert and go to that together.

02-17-2014, 08:48 AM
Thanks for the ideas everyone! I like the idea of the coffee shop and board game. And I definitely need to look into some community events. Warm weather isn't too far off (hopefully) so it should become easier then.

She does like just hanging out and I don't want to overplan. It's just that whenever we get together and I don't have a plan, we default to shopping and I just can't keep squeezing that stuff into my budget.

A lot of great ideas here, this should keep us going for a while! :) Thanks so much everyone!

02-17-2014, 09:31 AM
Do you have to buy something at the mall though? ;) You could just browse and chat :) Maybe play dress up a bit and then sit in the food court with a couple of drinks you brought with you. You could even bring a deck of cards to play with while you talked.

02-17-2014, 09:35 AM
I think an 11yo is old enough to understand if you explain that you don't have a lot of money to spend but you'd love to just spend some time with her so let's just go window shopping or (fill in the blank) and hang out together.

02-17-2014, 01:22 PM
You're absolutely right and I think she does understand. For our museum trip, she actually invited me and specifically said she would pay her "own way" which I (mostly) took her up on. But she won't hesitate to ask if she wants something and I'm just no good at saying no. I'm probably just too much of a pushover, lol.