Long days and warm weather provide the perfect backdrop for fun summer activities with your grandchildren. Finding fun things to do with the grandkids can be a challenge, and you might be worried that you'll need to spend lots of money to keep them entertained. But you don't need to break into a retirement fund to keep the young ones happy. Instead, focus on making memories to treasure forever. Whether your grandchildren are into crafting, exploring, technology, or games there are so many ways you can have the best summer ever with your grandchildren.
Learning to care for plants is a wonderful skill that will stay with your grandchildren for many years. Depending on the children's age, you could plant seeds, pot on seedings, or even mow the lawn together. Focus on tasks that take little time and emphasize how much you appreciate their help. One fun idea is to plant a fast-growing plant like a sunflower. If your grandkids live far away, they can take the pot with them when they go home. Be sure to ask after the plant when you call them for a chat.
Geocaching is an international, free hobby that many families enjoy. Using an online map, explorers look for caches of hidden treasure. The treasure is usually a waterproof box with something small inside, like a button or a written message. Many people leave their own treasure once they find the location. Check the internet for geocaching locations in your area, but you can always start your own. Older children may enjoy showing off their smartphones while you teach them to read a map!
A huge favorite with younger children, looking for and at bugs can fill a whole day. Depending on where you live, there could be ladybugs, spiders, snails, or even fireflies. Find a clean jar or, better yet, a bug explorer kit with a magnifying lid for closer examination. Even if you don't know what the bugs are, you can have fun watching little critters and talking about being gentle and kind to small creatures. You might be surprised at how much young children know about insects, as learning about them is a common topic at school.
For those of you who are experienced fishers, you probably have a spare rod to lend to your grandchild. If you have already taught them the joys of fishing, then to head out for a day by the water. If you're teaching a complete beginner, expect to have their attention for an hour at most. Younger children might like rock pooling or trying to catch crabs better. If you don't know much about fishing, try learning together with your grandchildren. There are lots of places that rent equipment, or you could just borrow some off friends.
Maybe the weather is good enough for a grill-out, or perhaps a rainy day is keeping you indoors. Either way, there are lots of chances to have fun cooking with your grandchildren. For younger children, try cooking pizza, where they can assemble precut ingredients to make their own design. Older children will appreciate helping plan the recipe and having more freedom. You can teach them a family favorite recipe to share with everybody. Ask parents about any allergies to be on the safe side.
Another fun craze that's on social media is decorating small rocks. There are groups online where people share decorated pebbles found in public places. To take part, have some acrylic paints and waterproof varnish. On one side, write your first names and where you are from. On the opposite side, let the children decorate whatever they like. Once dried and varnished, take the pebbles and put them where people will find them. Check the online pages, as a photo of your artwork may pop up sooner than you think!
A good calming activity or something to do in the evenings is to look through family photos together. This is a nice activity to bond and reflect on fun times of the past. Grandchildren are always amazed at photos of their parents as kids! Whether they find past fashion choices funny or are interested in learning about living history, let them lead the way and ask questions.
Board games are ever popular with younger children and a fun way to spend time together. Children of all ages enjoy card games too, even simple ones like snap. Outdoors, you might want to play catch or throw a ball for a dog. Younger children may not understand that you might not be as fast as their parents, so explain this to them. Find out what games they like too, and ask to learn.
Musical styles change over time, but great music lasts forever. Try asking your grandkids what their favorite band, artist, or single is and ask to have a listen. If they are really into their music, you can spend a whole day listening to songs. You're not going to like them all, but we all have different tastes. If they are interested, try sharing your favorite songs too. Should you have a vinyl collection hidden away, teenagers may be interested, as LPs are back in fashion.
What are your grandchildren's favorite movies? Plan a movie night with popcorn, ice cream, and some great films. Although sitting and watching the TV may not feel like you are making the best use of time, it can actually be relaxing family time. And if the movie is one they have watched many times, you can expect lots of chatting while they explain everything to you!
Perhaps you love knitting, playing the guitar, or have a hobby you are passionate about. Ask your grandchildren if they are interested in trying it themselves. Sometimes a grandchild will pick up a hobby easier than the parent--they say some things skip a generation. Start small, and show them something they can try. Tell them to remember you have been doing your hobby for many years and some things take practice.
Summer days are even better in the water! Plan a day out at a waterpark, the beach or the local pool. If the children are not strong swimmers, be sure to keep a watchful eye on them as they build confidence in the water. Splashing in shallow water may be enough to cool down on a hot day, and it's safest for small children and babies. Older kids may prefer more freedom to go off and play with friends.
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A classic summertime activity is a picnic. Encourage your grandchildren to help you prepare and pack the food, and pick some toys to take along. Ask them to choose a spot to lay the blanket whether that's in the garden, the local park, or even the living room on a rainy day. Have fun setting out the tasty food, and relaxing together this summer.