Fun Activities For Grandparents And Grandchildren

Grandparents might have time

They say that grandchildren and grandparents are bound by a common enemy.

Having said that, if you are lucky enough to have grandparents in your vicinity, they can be a great resource and family builder. You see, most (but not all) grandparents have a natural interest in their grandchildren--their estirpe as we say in Spanish. Grandparents have a wealth of experience and stories to tell. And most of all, if they are retired, Grandparents tend to have some time.

As a matter of fact, it is not terribly important what activities the grandparents choose to do with the kids, as long as it's one that's appropriate for children. It is much more important that they spend quality time engaging with each other.

However, some grandparents may need a list of "don'ts". For example: It is probably not great for Grandpa to take four-year-old junior to his local VFW hall for a beer. Inebriated toddlers are never a good idea. Nor is it appropriate for Grandma to take four-year-old Cyndi to her weekly canasta game, as Cyndi may become bored and start kicking the other grannies. If your parents or in-laws do not have the judgment to choose appropriate situations you may have to babysit until they get the hang of what is appropriate.

Also, in suggesting these activities you have to be diplomatic. If Grandma and Grandpa are still working 40 hour weeks, or if they are very involved in the childless life (y'know, cruises, drinks at the club etc.) you may wish to temper your expectations. You know your parents/in-laws.

Another thing to consider is how much grief you/your spouse gave their respective parents. If you yourself or your spouse were a very trying or difficult child for them, your payback is that they may not want to hang out with little partial genetic copies of you. But if you were a dutiful and respectful child that brought them joy they might want to share that joy with your progeny.

Another factor to consider is how well-trained your children are. If they are whiny demanding brats with a sense of entitlement, Grandma and Grandpa may not wish to hang out with them. But if you've emphasized "please" and "thank you" and the fact that the world doesn't owe them diddly, Grandma and Grandpa may be able to tolerate them for a couple of hours.

If they need some suggestions here are some:

  • a hike to a nearby natural place, assuming Grandma/Grandpa are up to it
  • a trip to the park
  • fishing, boating, swimming
  • a trip to a museum (appropriate for children, of course)
  • scrapbooking
  • a trip to a spectator sport such as a baseball game
  • state or county fair -- best if Grandma and Grandpa have helped the kids prepare an entry in it
  • if Grandma or Grandpa know anything about foraging, a hike to forage for local natural food or herbs is awesome for kids. (I'll be doing this with my G.C. as soon as they're old enough to pick and put!)
  • a train trip is always fun
  • hunting (older kids, of course)
  • music or art festival
  • trip to the beach or a lake
  • if Gramma or Grampa are tech-savvy, maybe they could do a cross generational blog!
  • zoo
  • a big jigsaw (with snacks of course!)  
  • a movie (good or bad) but if it's bad, the G.P may wish to host a "bad movie party"  
  • amusement park
  • shopping
  • let Grandma/Grandpa plan and host a child's birthday party
  • baking cookies or doing crafts at the grandparents' house
  • have them come to your house and make a meal that you can all eat together
  • Grandma and Grandpa can take them to visit an old folks home
  • depending on the age of the kids, Grandma and Grandpa can take them on a weekend camping trip and give you a bit of couple time
  • Older grandchildren can be requested to help Grandma and Grandpa with cleaning or home improvement projects and get an excellent meal out of it.

What if you and your spouse's parents are a long way away? Often you can find local retired folks whose children (if any) live far away and who are dying to grandparent someone. Obviously you need to get to know and build up a level of trust with these people before allowing them to take your precious children. But they can become excellent friends and contribute to your child's rearing.

Older people have a lot to offer. They lived at a time before your time, and they may transmit ancient skills, stories, and outlooks to your children that you can't. They say every time an old person dies, a library burns down. Take advantage of grandparents or surrogate grandparents, build a mutually beneficial relationship, and get some time off!

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Comments 14 comments

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

Great tips! Thanks for answering this hub request so with a great hub.

Mireille G profile image

Mireille G 7 years ago from Kansas

Hi, this is a very interesting article to read, unfortunately in today's society many grandparents have lost the ability to be grandparents in the true sense of the word. I am a grandmother who has to serve as mom and dad to a special child and so my role has very much lost its former definition. I have written an article on grandparents as caregivers, on my blog, that might help some other grandparents in that role. I hope you will visit to see another view of the grandparent role.

Thank you for some great ideas that lots of us grandparents can use.

tee 7 years ago


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Yes it is unfortunate that so many Gparents are primary care givers and must deal with the discipline, education, care & feeding, and dirty nappies. In an ideal world they could just skim the icing and do extra special fun stuff.

Lisa Michelle 7 years ago

Hi, my name is Lisa Michelle. I don't know if I can get an answer here quick like, but my G'Pa is 76 years young and has always been like the energizer bunny. He can out do anyone in our family all the way around. But last week theyb found a mass of cancer innhis lung, and has been in the hospital for almost 2 weeks now. He's still fisty, but I see him starting to give in, and appears to be tired, or letting himself get tired. He's retired Navy (30) yrs and Metro P.D. for 27 years. I have 2 children that adore him as I do, and he actually loves them to pieces. So, here's my question....I need to find something to do with him when I go to the hospital everyday until he is released. Should I bring a deck of cards, puzzle, what? I'm drawing a blank. He's an extreme fighter always has been and I need him to keep his spirits up and we need to try and act normal. ya know. Please help.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Man that's a bummer, especially after he's been a mainstay and an energizer for all of you. I would put the focus on him rather than the kids and find something that he likes that they also like that doesn't require too much energy. I don't know him, so I suggest asking him for a suggestion. If he likes cards, sure, why not. Photo albums to look at are usually a hit for pretty much everyone. Especially if you have an old one of him when he was little. The kids would probably love for him to tell stories about when he was a little boy, and you will be building memories for the inevitable time when he is gone.

James Ginn profile image

James Ginn 7 years ago from Ohio

Great ideas. Looking at all the activities you listed made me remember that it was my Grandpa who took me for my first motorcycle ride. Nice.

Kimberly Bunch profile image

Kimberly Bunch 7 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

Great Stuff! Here's one that also might help your readers:

Vizey profile image

Vizey 7 years ago

I like your topic and I like your hub. grand parents love their grand children more thank their own children. They play with them, tell stories, give piggyback ride etc, to make them happy.

Leenie Pooh profile image

Leenie Pooh 6 years ago

When grandparents run out of steam don't forget board games and card games. Besides being an excellent teaching tool they are a wonderful way to interact with children. Watch for games on sale at local stores. Target, Barnes and Noble, Borders Books and others often have seriously discounted games that both kids and adults can enjoy.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 6 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Or if the gparents and the kids team up and create their own board game. Or create their own pieces for a well established game like chess or opoly. Or get a custom Monopoly kit and do it together.

agvulpes profile image

agvulpes 6 years ago from Australia

hot dorkage, as a doting grandparent myself I can endorse this hub completely.

We get so much enjoyment from our Grandkids we wonder what life was like before they came along.

Jacquelyn Dunn 5 years ago

I am a grandparent who thinks that old saving "If I knew what I know now I would have had my grandchildren first" is a true statement.LOL I enjoy my grandchildren so much because I am in a different place in life and I understand that love is the most important thing and to spend as much time with the people you love as you can.I lost one of my sons to a car wreck but he left this world with his 3 beautiful daughters and they are a blessing to everyone who knows them.

hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 5 years ago from Oregon, USA Author

Thank you for sharing your insights, Jacquelyn. I can not imagine how awful it must be to lose a child like you did. Your grand daughters are lucky to have you in their lives.

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