By Debra L. Karplus, MS, OTR/L
You have fond memories of the alone time you spent with your grandparents. Now that you are a grandparent, you know that one of life’s greatest joys is to have to the little ones or not-so-little ones at your house without their parents. It can be a real treat for them and for you if you think of memorable activities to do when they visit. It’s not about how much money you spend or how elaborate the plans, some of the simplest activities can be done at your home and will leave an impression that will last a lifetime.
Being outdoors is fun if weather permits.
Who doesn’t love growing a vegetable or herb garden or the beauty of a flower garden? Even the youngest child can help make seeds to grow by digging holes in the soil or planting seeds in the ground. Older children take a more active role in terms of measuring spaces between rows. You can turn this experience into a teaching moment of math and science at its most basic level! Your grandchildren will beg to visit and help in the garden, and they’ll be quite pleased with themselves when the tomatoes in the salad at the family dinner come from the garden that they helped nurture.
Some activities are perfect indoor rainy day activities.
Genealogy has become a very popular and inexpensive hobby in the past few years. Interest in family tree research has gained impetus, in part, by the availability of information on the Internet. But there are many other aspects of learning about one’s ancestors that don’t even involve the computer. Work with your grand kids to interview relatives and learn the family history from years gone by; together you can put these stories into writing. Dig through boxes filled with old memories such as photographs, and teach your young ones how to scan and label photos. Makes charts to show the relationships of your grandparents and the ancestors before their generation. This can become an ongoing project that lasts for many years, well beyond your lifetime.
The kitchen is a haven for affordable projects to do with grandchildren of all ages. Whether you bake foods for fun and immediate gratification, such as decorative cookies, brownies or fudge, or for an evening potluck, the kids will enjoy the opportunity to be creative and bond with you. Bread is fun to make without any special kitchen appliances; even the tiniest hands can knead dough easily. Each child can make their own loaf adding flavoring such as caraway seeds. Create braided bread or turn bread dough into bagels or pizza crust, allowing each child to make their own pizza with favored toppings. Assemble tacos and tamales, encouraging each grandchild to choose their own filling. You’ll be amazed how much fun kids can have in the kitchen.
Many exciting things can be done either indoors or out.
Both children and adults can enjoy a treasure hunt, inside the house or out? Grandparents can write clues to find things with a prize at the last stop. Be original and write your clues in rhyme.
Kids of all ages enjoy building things. Design a structure outside such as a small playhouse made out of fireplace logs. Build a model from a kit.
Be creative in your ideas for entertaining your grandchildren, and they will ask to come back to visit. The time spent together will be as special for them, regardless of their ages, as it is for you. They may even have their own ideas to fun activities to do when they are at your house.
Author biography: Debra Karplus is a licensed occupational therapist, teacher, and freelance writer for national magazines, baby boomer, and grandmother of two. She lives in a Midwestern college town. She has been published in Grand Magazine in the past. Learn more about her at http://debrakarplus.blogspot.com