10 Things Every Kid Should Experience Before the Age of 10

boy and dogNo matter how many times people tell us to embrace every moment of our kids' childhood because "it'll be over before we know it" -- it still seems so amazing just how quickly the time really does go by.

My son will be turning 8 years old in less than two months. It has put me kind of in a state of "crunch time," trying to make sure he's having all of the necessary life experiences to get him ready to enter into "bigger" kid territory.

If we want our children to grow up to be mature, well-rounded individuals, we have to give them as strong a foundation as possible ... right?

From extracurricular activities to pure fun to learning responsibility -- here are 10 experiences every kid deserves to have before he/she reaches the ripe old age of 10.

  1. Having a pet -- We welcomed home our very first pup this past weekend, and the effect he's had on my son already is astonishing. This little guy is teaching him patience, kindness, and is also reminding him that he doesn't always have to be the center of attention. (Total plus.)
  2. Earning money -- I know they're way too young to go out and get a job ... but even something as simple as giving our kids an allowance for doing chores around the house is a great way to teach them some responsibility.
  3. Taking a trip to Disney -- I know, I know, it sounds kind of frivolous and cliché. But it really is freakin' magical the first time your kid sees the mouse. In order to get the full effect, you have to take 'em when they're still easily impressed.
  4. Giving back to the community -- Whether it be collecting items for a local food pantry, adopting a family around the holidays, or doing some other kind of service project -- kids need to understand that giving feels just as good, if not better than receiving.
  5. Going camping -- There's really no better way to teach your child how wonderful nature is than giving him the chance to sleep under the stars. And it can be fun for parents too. (At least that's what I've been told.)
  6. Having a sleepover with a friend -- Let's be honest ... staying up late, eating junk food, and telling ghost stories kind of loses its luster after the age of 10 or so. Sleepovers are memories every child will treasure forever.
  7. Being part of a team -- Whether it's sports or some other group activity, kids need to learn how to work together and play fair. And encouraging a little competitiveness can't hurt either ...
  8. Traveling by airplane -- Every time I hear a child say he's never been on a plane, I feel a little bad for him. Again ... it's really something that's only exciting when you're young. The older you get, the more of a hassle air travel becomes.
  9. Going on a road trip -- By the same token, planes are all sorts of fun, but kids need to take good old-fashioned car trips complete with car games and the whole nine yards -- like we did when we were young.
  10. Feeling disappointed -- It's awful to see our children upset. But they need to learn that it's ok if they don't always get their way. Nothing builds character quite like a blow to the ego. It may sting initially, but it's so good for them in the long run to learn that life sometimes is not fair.

Are there any experiences you would add to this list?


Image via Mary Fischer

activities, behavior, discipline


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the4m... the4mutts

I will not be taking my 10yr old, or any of my other kids, on EXPENSIVE plane rides, just for the sake of having been on a plane.

That's just stupid. After age 10, kids still want new experiences, and can still be awestruck by things they havent seen before.

You think after age 10, kids just become crotchety old geezers, or what?

Camping sucks balls, and Disney is stupid.

So, I guess I have the "disappointed" area covered, since they can just be disappointed about never flying, camping, or going to disney.

What about more things like

hold an insect/animal that they're afraid of

Play in the rain

Go into a store and purchase something all on their own

Be scared shitless by a haunted house on Halloween

You know, things kids will remember, that dont revolve around spending thousands of dollars, standing in idiotically long lines, or getting west nile virus

fave82 fave82

Didn't you just write a post about how your kid won't be having a first sleepover any time soon? Oh yeah, you did. http://thestir.cafemom.com/big_kid/163340/warning_7_things_that_will

Anyways, I guess it just depends on you're tastes and priorities. Like, I love camping and Disney and id never bring my kid to a haunted house, unlike above. I never flew until I was 16, we drove everywhere, so I don't see that as super important.

nonmember avatar Victoria

Could not agree more with having pets around kids! Teaches them so much about compassion and responsibility. Even if it's as simple as a beta or hamster, I believe all chill should have pets. I always had tons of pets as a kid, dogs, cats, hamsters, chinchillas, fish, iguanas, you name it, we had one at one point or another, usually at least 2-4 pets at a time (not counting fish, those we had like 20 of). There's something about an animal that is completely dependent on you that teaches kids more about empathy and responsibilities more than any chore/ little siblings/ sports teams ever can.

craft... craftycatVT

Congrats on the new "baby!" Adorable picture!

nonmember avatar Mischief

I disagree on the pet. If the whole family is not on-board with the responsibility of caring for an animal long term, it is unfair to the critter and the child both. Love my kids, like animals, but I have enough on my plate caring for the humans in my family without adding animals to the mix at this point. We aren't up to the time, work, or expense required to properly care for pets. Not right now anyway...maybe someday.

Chero... CherokeeBabe

I had a pet that when my son came along he said was his doggy.  Then our dog died in Oct. 2013 I don't have the time (since I travel for work on occasion)  to take care of another dog.  As for Disney can't afford it right now.  Airplane out of the  question to expensive.  My son does get road trips to my old home town and staying in a hotel is an expierence with him, he does earn money  by helping sweep and clean the floor, he does get to go to the store and buy or pick out his own items.  He plays in the snow, rain, and  being a kid.  

Morgan Haynes

We've hit all 10 by age 4! Woot.

nonmember avatar Maggie

You know, 4Mutts, just because you don't like something does not mean you should shove that dislike onto your kids. If my kid wants to do something I don't like, be it sports or whatever, I'm going to encourage them, not say it's dumb and they shouldn't do that. What kind of support system is that?

Lobelia Lobelia

I've never been an airplane. Nor have I gone to Disney World or land.

molly... mollyk124

All 4 of ours can check those off. I'd like to add a couple.

See an ocean

See snow

Experience live music

Go to a zoo

Know how to make at least one meal for themselves.

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