The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild is so special, yet finding activities for kids and seniors to do together can be challenging.
But spending quality time with older family members is essential and has many benefits. For example, grandchildren will often discuss personal problems with their grandparents, and they listen to the advice the grandparent gives in response. Also, grandparents are essential in passing on family traditions and history.
Many studies have even shown there are lower rates of depression in both the grandparents and grandchildren when they spend quality time together. This is particularly important for grandparents who want to be as involved as they can before they require a different level of care in their lives.
You are never too old (or too young) to new things and new experiences. The best part is that when you are retired, there is more time to concentrate on spending more time with family. Now is the time to plan your next adventure!
Here are 12 fun activities for kids and seniors to help keep everyone active and enjoying life:
Go to the playground
It’s usually free, and it’s fun. Your preschooler will enjoy trying all the different parks in your community and going back to their favorite. Don’t just sit on the bench and watch them. Join in the fun and stay active!
See the animals at the zoo
A huge metropolitan zoo is fabulous for the older child who has some knowledge of animals. It’s great for the younger child also—but maybe start with specific sections in case they tire out.
Don’t forget the smaller zoos, such as petting zoos. See if there are any animal sanctuaries in your town. Many allow visitors, and you and your grandchild can learn about the animals that can’t be returned to the wild due to injury.
Additional recommended reading: Laundry Room Safety For Grandparents With Dementia
Go to the local history museum
Besides the permanent exhibits in the collection, most museums also have on loan temporary exhibits. They can range from a re-creation of ancient Egypt to an exhibit of Native American culture with authentic clothing and the different type of shelters used at the time.
Visit an art museum
Most kids like to draw and paint, and most have been exposed to sculpture through Playdoh® and clay. Why not take them to an art museum to see other types of art?
This is usually more age-appropriate for an older child, but even a young child can enjoy the art if you tailor the visit to what they will love. Check out the different types of art and then see what they are drawn to.
Go for a hike
If your grandchild is still in a stroller, you might be restricted to paved paths, but at least you can vary where you go. Take a walk through a botanical garden and talk about the pretty flowers. If they are very young, the emphasis may be on just the colors. You can introduce the smells plants have and the different shapes of the leaves.
Older children can go on hikes in the woods or by the lake. Many state parks have guided hikes that teach about the tracks animals make. They also have nighttime hikes to see nocturnal animal activity.
Visit a farm
Many states that have a strong farm tradition host a “Breakfast on the Farm” or “Day on the Farm” where you can have a tour of how the farm works and then enjoy a farm breakfast made from the food the farm produces.
Better yet, take your grandchild to a Field-to-Table event. All the food used in the meal is made from food grown at the site and prepared right after harvest. This is a great opportunity to introduce them to concepts of good nutrition and healthy food.
Pick your own fruit and make something
Pick your own strawberries and make freezer jam with it. This is an easy project, and your grandchild will have strawberry jam to take home. You can also save some strawberries to serve over ice cream for a treat later on.
Check out what is grown in your area and find a pick-your-own farm to gather cherries, apples, blueberries, pumpkins, or even peaches.
Fly a kite
Why not spend the afternoon flying kites at the local park? You may even be able to find a kite exhibition with huge kites in your area. These are usually held on shorelines of big lakes or in large open fields.
Along the same line, see if there are any hot air balloon events in your area. These are usually held early in the morning or in the late afternoon. It’s pretty impressive to see several hot air balloons take off at the same time and the kids will love it!
Go miniature golfing
There are some very unique miniature golf courses that make spending time together really fun! Even if you are a real golfer, miniature golf evens the playing field! The best part is all ages can participate.
Go for a boat ride
You can go whale watching, if you live by the ocean, or go canoeing in the local river. Enjoy the experience of being on the water together.
Take your grandchildren to a drive-in movie
Take a trip back in time and show them how you went to the movies in the “old days.” The good news is most drive-ins have the option of dialing in your radio for the sound instead of using the speaker that hangs on your window. The radio option may not be quite as authentic, but it sure does lessen the mosquito population in your car!
Make a birdhouse
If you are good with construction and woodworking, build your own one-of-a-kind birdhouses. Or, if that isn’t one of your strengths, buy premade, unpainted birdhouses and lots of colored paints and spend the day painting your birdhouses to hang in your yard.
We hope these suggestions inspire you to get out and explore with your grandkids. These ideas are a great way to connect with a grandchild if you’re a caregiver.
But whatever activities you decide to do, remember the number #1 rule: have fun!
Additional recommended reading: 5 Simple Steps For Laundry Room Safety
About the Author:
Susan Ashby, MS Gerontology, is a Community Relations Manager with Superior Senior Care in Little Rock, Arkansas. She has a passion for helping families age with health and happiness and in the setting of one’s own choice. She loves to spend time outdoors with her children and grandchildren. Her favorite activities include boating, swimming, fishing, and hiking the nearby mountain trails.