Joint activities for 4 and 8 year old boys

I could ask 20 different questions with the above title but for today, I'd love to ask about joint indoor activities and xmas presents to support those activities for 4 and 8 year old boys.

My younger boy is extremely difficult and strong-willed. My older boy is tired of the younger one being so difficult to the point of perpetual eye-rolling. I am looking for xmas present ideas for board games or toys that the two of them can play together. We are swimming in legos and the younger one IS finally playing with "little" legos and that allows them to play together a bit. Looking for something new where the older one isn't bossing the younger one around and/or the younger one isn't exploding in frustration. Wishful thinking maybe...

We do best when we're out in nature, but we can't always be out in nature. 

Thank you!

Parent Replies

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As a mom and aunt of older kids, I really think the answer is there is no such thing. Forcing the issue will be misery for all. Their ages, abilities, motor skills, and attention spans are too far apart. They might be 12 and 8, or 20 and 16, before they can do fun things together.

We had a Nintendo Wii when my daughter was small and had a great time playing Wii bowling and Wii golf (from Wii Sports,which I think is still included with the console) as a family. Neither game is beyond the coordination of a 4 year old, so his frustration with the game play should be limited (I hope--he sounds like a handful), though he could get frustrated if he's competitive and his brother is better than he is. Video games probably aren't what you had in mind, but we found the Wii Sports games to be very family friendly.  

I'm the mom of 3 boys and I know what you mean. My two oldest sons never got along because their personalities are so different. It's Bro vs. Hipster. There just isn't any common ground.  Here is the one place where they got along: The Beach!  I know you said you're trying to find indoor activities but really, honestly, there just may not be any indoor activities they can enjoy together. But the beach!  We could go to Stinson Beach in January when it's freezing and they would have a great time! We'd take a few shovels and buckets and get them food at the hot dog stand and they were in a mutual nirvana for hours. When they were older we rented wetsuits and boogie boards and if you had seen them together at the beach you would have thought they had a true bond of brotherly love. But it was only at the beach!  I recommend giving up on indoor activities and instead try to find an outdoor activity that is so awesome for both of them that they forget they can't stand each other. It really works!