Big Brother Big Sister Program. Ideas please?

Has anyone ever done this or had any experience with it?  I just got matched with a ten year old girl whose father is incarcerated and whose mother works full time and wants someone to be a positive influence on her kid.

Any suggestions for what I can do with my Little Sister?  There are a lot of rules involved.  She can only be around me, no other friends or family members, because I'm the only one they've background checked, and I am not supposed to spend more than $10 on her per outing.  Going to movies must be limited and only if the child asks to go see a particular movie, because I wouldn't be spending time talking to her. 

I am going to take her bowling for our first outing, but I am going to be spending a lot of time with her this summer, and was hoping for a few ideas.  Thanks!

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Re: Big Brother Big Sister Program. Ideas please?

  • Do you have any DIY wedding stuff she can help with - like assembling centerpieces or something?  Crafty projects can be fun with a 10 year old.
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  • Arts and crafts, maybe take her to a zoo or aquarium, something like that?

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  • My uncle has a little brother, and I know the two of them cook a lot together since food is a big interest for both of them.   He's taught his little brother about healthy eating, since the kid's family considers a Domino's pizza a balanced dinner.

    I know they go to local minor league baseball games a lot too--tickets are pretty cheap--and local high school games.  GL!
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  • Bowling, biking, walking through Cherokee Park, any sort of artsy thing, etc.  I'd look for cool summer events that are free and try to take her to some of those that are age appropriate. 
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  • Do you have any parks in the area? Could you bring her out to ride bikes, rollerblade, etc.?

    Any museams/aquariums? They might give you a discount for being in a program.

    Any minor-league sports teams? A/AA/AAA baseball is usually pretty cheap but fun.
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  • Buy some loaves of bread and take her to feed ducks at a local park

    Is there a place to paint pottery?

    You said not around others, but does that exclude volunteering with her, say at a Humane Society walking dogs or playing with cats?

    Come up with a scavenger hunt at a park that she can play, or a nature hunt.

    I hope this really helps!!
  • Hiking? I know around here there's a chasm that has a lot of hiking trails through the woods and through a rock chasm.  It's pretty neat, and it's a fun thing to do on a summer day.  Pack a lunch or something with it so halfway through you can have a picnic.

    What about flying a kite? Do kids do that anymore? Haha! A nice park with an open field would be a great place to do this.

    Going to a lake, park, or art museum.  You both could learn a lot and you could be opening her horizon's to a lot of things.

    Go to a craft store and get wood picture frames and paint them together? Or some other type of crafts that takes some time to do. Little girls generally like those types of things!

    Good luck! And it's so nice that you're getting involved with her!

  • Awesome ideas!  Thank you all!  Here's some more information from her profile, if it helps inspire anymore ideas.

    She is a 10 year old African American female of average height and weight. She may be shy at first, but will warm up and likes to stay really active. She enjoys swimming, running, being outdoors, jump roping, girly activities, shopping, and going out to eat (and eating cake, she says!). She lives with her mom and 2 older sibs. Her father is incarcerated and she has little contact with him. She is generally well behaved. She struggles with math at school. Mom works a lot and can't spend much one on one time with her children and really wants someone that will get out and be active with them. 

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  • In Response to <a href="">Re: Big Brother Big Sister Program. Ideas please?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Buy some loaves of bread and take her to feed ducks at a local park Is there a place to paint pottery? Y<strong>ou said not around others, but does that exclude volunteering with her, say at a Humane Society walking dogs or playing with cats? </strong>Come up with a scavenger hunt at a park that she can play, or a nature hunt. I hope this really helps!!
    Posted by goetzr19[/QUOTE]
    No, being in public around other people is fine, as long as there is no opportunity for her to be alone with anyone.  And no one I know can come along when we're together, or if she's at my house no one else can be home, because it takes away from the one-on-one bonding.
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  • I was a big sister, but it was a slightly different situation - I saw her after school, with a bunch of other pairs.  I helped her do her homework a lot of the time, but she loved doing arts and crafts, and, when it was nice, just hanging out on the play ground and chatting.  I'd say parks, zoos, and other places where you could talk while having something in the background would be good activities.  My little sister loved making jewelery, so maybe buy some beading supplies and friendship bracelet thread and just have her over your house and craft a bit.
  • edited June 2010
    It's a great program, I was also a big sister once upon a time. The not being around other strangers is not only in regards to the background checks, but some of these children come from abusive homes and are skittish around unknown males (or people in general) and they need one on one activities to feel safe.

    Since the weather is warming up maybe swimming at a local pool or rollerskating (outside or at a rink), or even a book club at a local library.  Libraries have a lot of fun summer programs for kids of that age. Also, since you pointed out she has trouble with math - maybe you can incorporate projects that require counting, like someone said maybe DIY wedding stuff? Jacks, checkers, board games ... etc. Fun in conjunction with learning is always a plus.  Good luck, and congrats on participating - it's a rewarding program Smile
  • I am a big sister to an eleven year old (we started last year, when she was 10 in fourth grade).

    I visit her at lunch once a week.  Inside school she loved doing arts and crafts (I bought some Crayola kits) as well as playing Sorry and now we run around the gym and rock out to music.  Outside of school we have gone bowling and to the Museum of Science (obviously way more than $10).

    Other friends of mine have taken their littles ice skating, roller skating, had them over to make food.

    Good luck!

  • Very cool! Are museums, etc. ok? The Science Center and Slugger Musuem are nice. There's also a lot of school gardens she might enjoy. Most of the gardens are maintained by kids in similar situations. Ice cream by the river is kind of my favorite pastime as well. I'll be thinking of other things too.
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  • It sounds like she loves being outdoors and active.  Go for a walk in a park or rent paddleboats at a lake.  Something where she can move around but you can still hold a conversation with her.  You said she likes to go out to eat, does she know how to cook?  That's a skill lost on a lot of our young people that could be really valuable.  Teach her how to cook simple but fun food and give her an appreciation of homemade food.
  • My mom did this years ago - she started with the progam in 2001 (when she was 51!) - and her Little just finished her freshman year in college and is still part of our lives/family nearly 10 years later.  My mom used to take her to museums or events at the local colleges (which are often free) - like dance programs, etc.  She helped us bake Christmas cookies one year, and one year, when N was really into dance, my mom paid for her to take a dance class (which might be outside the bounds of the rules of your program - though I think they might not have been official BB/BS anymore by then).

    Anyway, I think it's great that you're doing this, and there are a ton of things you can do together!  Be creative and have a great time!
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  • Also Bats games. Tom Sawyer state park. If she likes art at all, Glassworks and Kaviar Forge are great places to watch artists work.
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  • I was a Big sister a while little sister finished her sophomore year of college.

    Surprisingly enough we would do some really inexpensive things.  She was 10 and had never really played at the park without fear of gun shots.  Also sometimes when I thought I should have something planned she really just wanted to hang out and talk. 

    As OP have suggested baking/cooking was a great way to bond. 
  • Definitely baking/cooking (especially if she said she loves cake!) -- honestly some of the best times I spent with my Little Sister were when our original plans fell through and she ended up hanging out at my apartment working on her homework. It felt like there were always fun events happening in the parks nearby (ballet exhibitions, farmers markets, craft fairs, etc), and she loved those things. It's really just thinking like a 10 year old!

    Also, if she's shy at first (as mine was), it helped to have more structured activities planned for our first few outings, then we just hit a stride of making things up as we went along. Bowling is great because it allows time to talk and get to know one another, but there is an activity involved to focus on as well.
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  • I had a Little Sister, and here's what we did:
    Roller skating
    Dog park visit (w/ my dog)
    Craft projects
    Museum visits
    Farmer's market or street market trips
    Makeup and movie night

    We also sometimes got free tickets to stuff through the BBBS program - a concert, and an ice show, and they had sports tickets all the time but my little didn't like sports, so we didn't use them.  They usually send out a list of good ideas for activities, and I relied on that pretty heavily.
  • In Response to <a href="">Re: Big Brother Big Sister Program. Ideas please?</a>:
    [QUOTE]You said not around others, but does that exclude volunteering with her, say at a Humane Society walking dogs or playing with cats? 
    Posted by goetzr19[/QUOTE]
    Oh, we did this, too, and my little loved it!  We played with the dogs and walked a few of them, and got a lesson on dog training.  The Humane Society had a schedule set up for kids who wanted to come down and volunteer, but if yours doesn't, you could ask them to just let the two of you volunteer there together.
  • My friend did this.  But it was a specific "division" of BB&BS.  It was a snowboard lesson one, but then come summer they did stuff together.

    THey'd go to parks and read books
    I'd take her to a place where you can paint pottery
    Picnic lunch in a park
    Plays (some cities do plays in parks - mine does)
    Bike riding
    Pet store to pet puppies and kittens

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  • Bake and decorate cupcakes together!  She can bring them home to her mom.
    Jump rope
    I'd make flash cards basic math stuff.  Adding, subtraction, multiplication, division... make it fun though. 

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  • Baking has a lot of math in it.  Especially fractions.  Double a recipe of cookies and have her do the measurements. 

    Can you take her strawberry picking?  Huber's should have great stuff right now, if you can go that far. 

    Beargrass Christian Church has an awesome Farmer's Market on Saturdays, right in St. Matthews.

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  • dees14dees14 member
    Congrats on being a mentor! I was a mentor to a 10yo and 15yo girl, and am going to mentor a couple of former foster youths who are having trouble in college this fall.

    One thing I learned was that these kids are usually happy just to get out of the house and have undivided attention from someone. If money was tight for me, we would do free things like window shopping at the mall or going to the library.
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    How about geocaching?  Just a thought.  It's something fun to do outdoors, and finding those little treasures as a team could be really rewarding.

  • I had a little sister before, that sounds very similar to yours, so feel free to message me if you have any questions/need advice.

    In the beginning I would recommend doing activities that are free.  You don't want to set up the expectation that you are always going to be doing stuff that costs money.  Plus you want to do things that let you have good conversation and get to know each other.  Ask her what she would like to do (don't make promises though unless you are 110% sure you can keep them b/c many of these kids have been let down a lot in their lives)  Some free ideas: going for a walk, going to a playground, free nights at museums (cultural stuff is good, builds cultural capital), going to the library.

    If you feel comfortable with math, I would try tutoring her once in a while (not every time though).  I was a grad student at the time so I used to take her to my college, just to hang out or even to help me find books for my research.  This was really good because she'd say stuff like "I want to go here someday".  I also took her to an open house at my undergrad (also in same town).  Stressing the importance of school is important, also encouraging confidence and good self-esteem.

    We used to go ice skating a lot (I figure skate and taught her to skate), go get ice cream, the occasional movie (but usually only if she read the book the movie was based on first, and then we would discuss afterwards).  Doing volunteer work together is also good.  Also check with the agency, but oftentimes they get free tickets for events (baseball games, disney on ice, etc) that you can take your little sister too.
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  • Gardening and cooking brought my little one great satisfaction and accomplishment. Also volunteering to visit kids in hospitals or old folks in rest homes. Many of these kids have low self esteem and nothing gives them a sense of self worth then helping others! 
    I agree with previous post about starting modestly, and try to as many free things as possible first. Make the movie dates special occasions when a good test score is earned or a good day of volunteering or some other accomplishment. It will make the enjoyment that much sweeter!!! Most of all have fun, and know it might take time for her to warm up to you and feel comfortable!
  • Good for you.  My fiance was a big brother and still stays in contact with his little brother (even though he has fulfilled his time commitment and the little brother has graduated from high school so it is technically over.)  I agree with the pps.  There are lots of free and fun things to do with children.  Also, maybe you could help her with her math a little. Make it fun by playing games.  There are many printable games on the internet.  Maybe just do it once out of every so many times or for five to ten minutes each time.  Can you tell I am a teacher? lol  This might have been mentioned above but what about board games too.  You can find some cheap ones at yard sales or ask friends to borrow those.  Have fun. 
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  • You could figure out some of her interests and help her expand on them.
    Example: If she likes photography, maybe you two could start going to the park and she can use your digital camera to take photographs.  Get them printed off for her and maybe together you could make them into a scrapbook?

    Also a fun idea might be to buy each of you a scrapbook and you can spend a day at the park or elsewhere being artists, sketching drawings of what you see.

    If she's got family members and Birthdays coming up (or like Father's Day), maybe help make a craft for that specific person so she has something to give them.  Sometimes there's those places you can pain ceramics and so forth.

    Maybe you could check out your local Jo-Ann Fabric stores and the like to see if they have any small sewing class, to make a pillow or something like that.

    You could have a day where you cook some cupcakes or something like that.

    Make your own "spa" day, even if its just a make-it-yourself kind of thing.
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  • I am a big sister and my little sister and I have been matched for a little over a year and their money situation is very tight.  We have done a lot of cooking, we look at recipes together then go shopping for the ingredient and then cook.  We have gone to the zoo and local art/craft shows.  We sometimes just go for walks, biking or swimming.  I took her to my work on a weekend and she she took me to her school it was nice to see where eachother spends a lot of their time.  At first you will want to do activites that allow you to talk and get to know eachother but then you can go see movies every once in a while.  Also ask her for ideas too because she may have something she really wants to do that she may not say anything about unless asked.  You should also be able to get some help from your match coordinator I know our local BBBS did 1 monthly event that was free for bigs and littles like parades, park days, carnivals and things like that.  The program really is rewarding for both bigs and little, good luck and hope you have as much fun as I have.
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