Development through Play: 9 to 12 Year Olds
What to expect in your Child's Development between the ages of 9 to 12
This is a time for a whole new set of worries for us as parents, as friends become more influential, children want to be independent, and hormones kick in. The dreaded P word – puberty – can be a stressful experience for all.
It’s important to keep the lines of communication open so that children feel able to talk about problems that arise, and playing together as a family can support this. Children also need to keep active, to keep their growing bodies healthy.
9 to 10 years
At this age, children will start being more aware of how their behaviour will affect others. This is particularly important within friendship groups, where arguments can quickly escalate. Identity and fitting in is important, so activities like sports or crafts which can be done as a group can help children build that bond with friends.
Board games are also good for encouraging friends to play together, and for valuable family time. As children’s thinking skills have developed rapidly, they are now better at approaching goals strategically, so board games that don’t rely on luck alone can help develop these abilities.
Children will have a wider range of creative possibilities now, including cooking, drawing, writing and music. They will spend time making a good product and take pride in the final piece. As identity is developing, taking part in hobbies like this can help children express themselves – e.g. they might be someone who likes to bake, or who loves writing horror stories. Materials which let them explore this creativity can help encourage them to pursue their hobbies.
11 to 12 Years
Moving to secondary school is a big and often scary step for children, where they go from being at the top of the school and a familiar environment, to being bottom of the rung in a huge new world.
By this age ‘playtime’ is likely to become focused on hobbies, rather than toys. Products that support these hobbies are a great way to encourage children to follow their passion, and support their confidence as they master new skills. Sports and active hobbies such as dancing are an ideal way to help children keep fit and healthy as their bodies grow.
Board and card games continue to be popular, and these can support social skills. Educational toys like science kits are great fun and can support children’s learning in school.