Five Fun Things to Do with Grandchildren in the SummerJune 15, 2018
It’s summertime! The days are long; the nights are warm; and the grandkids are out of school. Take advantage of this special time of year to create summer memories with your grandchildren that will last for the rest of their lives.
There is no better time than time spent with your grandchildren. But what can you do that keeps them entertained and happy? It’s best to keep things simple and easy, and take advantage of the bounty of the summer season. Here are a few tips and tricks for having summer fun with grandchildren:
- Grandma Camp: Of course, Grandpa is welcome, too, but the term “Grandma Camp” has become a popular nickname for creating a camp-like experience for your grandchildren at home. It’s also been called “Cousin Camp” which brings cousins closer together through summer camp fun. You can try a one-day camp first to get used to having the responsibility of entertaining one or more of your grandchildren for the day. If things work well, you can try a one-week or two-week camp. If your grandchildren live out of state, it gives them a chance to stay with you for an extended period. Think of all the classic activities that makes summer camp so much fun for kids: arts and crafts; swimming; camping under the stars; cookouts and games. How to Host Your Own Grandma Camp and How to do Summer Camp at Grandma’s will give you lots of ideas to try. There are also several books that can give you guidance. If the idea of hosting a summer camp doesn’t appeal to you, there are professional camps for grandparents and grandchildren to enjoy together. Well established organizations, such as The Sierra Club and Road Scholar, offer camps for kids and grandparents which vary in length, cost, activities and amenities. Take a look at Going to Grandparent Camp for more ideas.
- Get outside: With the combination of long days and warm weather, it’s the opportune time to get out in nature. Take a nature walk; go to the beach; play at the playground; plant in the garden; have a picnic; cool off in the sprinkler; ride bikes; go fishing; or try birdwatching. Lay in the grass and look up at the sky – during the day, you can tell each other what shapes you see in the clouds, and at night, you can look for constellations or falling stars. Play some outdoor games, such as tag; swing the statue; and red light/green light. Great Outdoor Games for Kids will help jog your memory on those old-fashioned games you played as a child. Organize a good, old-fashioned scavenger hunt or treasure hunt. For an outdoor treasure hunt, fill a box with small items, such as stickers and action figures, and bury it or hide it outside. Create a treasure map with clues to find the buried treasure. For a high-tech treasure hunt, try geocaching. Geocaching uses a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device to find containers, called “geocaches” at locations marked by coordinates all over the world. There are probably several locations near you! A typical cache is a small, waterproof container containing a logbook, pen or pencil, and small items for trading, such as toys or trinkets. The geocacher signs the log to prove that they found the cache. The geocaching app often gives hints and tips if you have trouble locating the cache.
- Indoor fun: If it’s raining or you just want to spend some time indoors, there are lots of fun activities you can plan for you and your grandchildren. Try cooking or baking in the kitchen. Teach them one of your favorite recipes or let them help make a meal or yummy snack. This activity has the added advantage of eating the fruits of your labor! Kids love arts and crafts. Even if you’re not artistic, there are many kid-friendly crafts that can fill a rainy afternoon, such as tissue paper flowers; collages with images cut from magazines; papier-mâché; potato prints and macaroni art. It’s fun to make your own craft supplies, such as homemade playdough and sidewalk chalk. Have an indoor hair salon or barbershop to create fun hair-dos, manicures, or pretend shaves. Read a book or watch a movie together – or go to the library or movie theater for an indoor field trip. Play board games, puzzles and card games in the house, or go to an indoor playground, bowling alley or arcade.
- Quiet time: You don’t have to plan every minute to keep the kids entertained. Both grandkids and grandparents need some rest time. And many children enjoy time to themselves to play quietly, draw, paint or read. Some quiet time activities: get out the sleeping bags and have a quiet camp-out in the living room; put on some quiet music or read a bed-time story; pull out the crayon box and coloring books; ask the older children to play with the younger children for a while or have one grandparent watch the kids while the other one rests. If the grandkids are young enough, use naptime as a way to get some rest for both of you. These quiet periods will recharge the batteries for both young and old and set up the rest of the day for success!
- Field trips: What would summer be without exploring new places? Discover what’s in your own backyard and look for some fun places to explore with your grandchildren. You could go to a farm or petting zoo to see some animals. Or try an aquarium to learn about aquatic animals. Look for a children’s museum or child-friendly exhibits at larger museums. Tailor the field trips to your grandchild’s interests. If he or she loves trains, find a model train store which often has entire scenes set up with scale model trains, towns, tunnels and people. If your grandchildren are old enough, you could take a longer trip to fun, summertime destinations, such as theme parks; waterparks; or national parks. Here’s some Tips for Taking Grandkids to Universal Studios. If you have more than one grandchild, try taking a special trip with one grandchild at a time. It gives that child special one-on-one time with you and creates unique memories for both of you to treasure forever. As each child turns a certain age, that child gets to have his or her special trip with grandma and grandpa.
Still stuck for ideas? Check out these lists for hundreds of things to do with your grandkids this summer: