When families plan things to do with grandkids, the list can get daunting pretty quickly. Grandparents may fall prey to the temptation to do too much: for the grandkids, for them, for everyone. The best ways to have fun with your grandchildren don’t need to be extravagant, a thrill-a-minute, or very detailed.
Often, the things grandkids end up remembering about their grandparents aren’t exciting or expensive outings. The best grandparent-grandkid activities are the ones that allow each person to spend quality time together. When grandparents choose activities to do with their grandkids, they should try to focus on their potential for their relationship.
The relationship-enhancing qualities of a grandparent-grandkid activity don’t all have to be quiet or contemplative. Grandparents and grandchildren can still have fun together while making lasting memories. Let’s take a look at things to do with grandkids that will be fun and meaningful.
Free Things to do with Grandkids
Arts and Crafts
Choose something creative to do with your grandkids. Art can have a calming effect on children and can be a great conversation starter. Check online for free printable coloring sheets; they can be educational or feature favorite cartoon characters.
Draw pictures of each other; don’t worry if you aren’t artistic – the results can be part of the fun! Grandparents can also use art as a way to teach grandkids about their roots by drawing a family tree together.
What kid doesn’t love to play outside? Especially if the grandkids are getting rambunctious or impatient, a quick dose of vitamin sunshine can be the cure. Go for a walk together, either around the neighborhood or at a local park.
If you want to take it up a level, come up with a goal for your walk: collect leaves or nuts, or catch bugs. Grandparents and grandkids can plan a simple scavenger hunt (spot five people on bikes, a dog in a sweater, etc.).
If grandma or grandpa isn’t up for a walk, there are still tried-and-true ways to get outside together. Most grandkids are content with a good, old-fashioned playground trip.
Being outside, moving their bodies, and encountering the world around them can be an excellent opportunity for grandparent-grandkid bonding.
Take a Trip to the Library
Why not visit your local library together? Find out if your nearest branch hosts a storytime or other kid-friendly activity, like Lego club or craft time. Even if they can’t make it to an event, grandparents and grandkids can explore new books and stories together.
Reading together is a surefire way for grandparents and grandkids to make lasting memories together.
Pretend is the ultimate free activity. Let the grandkids take the lead and play pretend. Grandparents don’t have to plan anything; they only sit on the floor and enter into whatever the kids are doing!
Cook or Bake Together
Flour, eggs, butter, sugar, maybe some chocolate chips – and, voila! You have everything you need for a baking afternoon together. Grandparents can find age-appropriate ways for the grandkids to help.
Older kids can measure out ingredients and handle equipment like hand mixers. Younger kids may enjoy mixing together dry ingredients.
Baking teaches patience, the joy of making something yourself, and the virtue of enjoying the result of hard work. When grandparents bake with their grandchildren, they are also giving them a little math and science lesson. Children can practice simple fractions and learn about the way different substances like yeast, water, and flour interact.
Even very young children get an educational sensory experience out of baking. They can experience different textures, smells, and tastes.
Enjoy the finished product together, save it for an after-dinner treat, or send it home with the grandkids to share.
Gardening is another way for grandparents and grandkids to get outside together. Most kids love getting dirty, so gardening has the potential to be a hit with grandchildren.
If you have a garden or a plot at a community garden, find something age-appropriate for the grandkids to do.
No garden? No problem.
Grandparents and grandkids can work together to plant a small container garden. Potting a plant or flower together can be a simpler, less-messy activity that takes less time than the container garden.
Like cooking or baking, planting a seed, watering it, and watching a plant grow are activities that teach kids patience. Grandkids can learn the satisfaction of seeing something they did themselves smart small and develop into something bigger.
Puzzles and Board Games
Puzzles and board games are a perfect rainy day activity. They are also a fantastic alternative to screen time. Of course, movie nights with popcorn and blanket forts have their place, but nothing beats the multisensory appeal of games.
Puzzles and board games engage children’s minds and senses: you touch, feel, and see puzzles and game pieces. Games, puzzles, and card games can teach concentration and patience, as well as encourage conversation among players.
Next time grandma and grandpa babysit, plan a grandkid/grandparent game night. Divide teams by kids versus adults, girls versus boys, or any way your family can imagine!
Want More Things to do Grandkids? Twin Cities Kids Club to the Rescue!
If you need more ideas for local activities that are free or discounted, get a free Twin Cities Kids Club card. A TCKC membership is free and gives you access to discounts at local businesses and events in the Twin Cities area.
Don’t worry about missing out. Follow our events calendar, which lets you know about kid-friendly events near you. The schedule is chock full of local festivals, family events and concerts, playtimes, and storytimes.
Quiet times at home with the grandparents, baking, coloring, or pretending, will always have a special place in grandkids’ memories. When grandma and grandpa or the grandchildren are ready for a change of scenery, Twin Cities Kids Club can help.
Membership signup is free, quick, and easy. Fill out our simple online form and start enjoying affordable local family-friendly activities!