You don’t make lifelong memories that your grandkids will cherish forever by sitting around the house. You need to get the kids away from the TV and video games, and give them a taste of all the fun and excitement life has to offer.
Here are 18 ideas for outings for grandparents and grandchildren.
Go out on the hunt for frogs, turtles, rabbits, bugs or other little creatures. Get out the nets and cages and head to a wild area near you. This is lots of fun and also a great way to get kids interested in learning about biology and animals.
Get out and Garden
Whether it’s the garden in your backyard or a nearby community garden, take the kids out and plant stuff. Gardening is another great way to teach kids about life and biology, and it also helps them see that they can make something grow. Grow tomatoes or strawberries and you can eat the products of your labor.
Your Local Zoo
Take the grandkids to the local zoo or some other place where they can see and pet animals. All kids love animals and zoos have special educational programs just for them.
Story Time at the Local Library
Head for your local library and find a few books to read. This is a great activity for cold weather or rainy days. Regular trips to the library show kids the excitement of reading and this is the basis for creating lifelong readers. It’s also a nice quiet place where grandma and grandpa don’t have to wear themselves out running around all day.
Tour a Museum
Find out what museums are in your local area. There might be a science museum, planetarium or transportation museum nearby. Try to find something that’s in sync with what your grandchildren like already so they’ll be excited before they even get there.
Go on a Picnic
The picnic is one of the simplest and most enjoyable outing ideas. Pack a lunch or pick up a lunch somewhere and head to the park. Bring along a ball and some other fun activities for the kids to do.
Back to the Farm
See if there are any apple orchards, orange groves, pumpkin patches or strawberry farms nearby. The kids can see where their fruit comes from. Many places allow you to pick your own to eat yourself.
Watch the Trains
If you live near a railway line or train station, find a good spot where you can watch the trains going in and out. Grab a snack or drink and take the grandkids to the best seats in the house. Small kids love to see the trains going by.
If you enjoyed fishing as a kid, why not impart its pleasure to your grandchildren? Fishing takes a bit more gear and preparation than the other ideas listed here, but it only takes a few fishing trips (as well as a few fish caught and eaten) to get kids into fishing for life.
Take a ball outside and play. There are all kinds of ballgames that range from complex to very simple. For small kids, play catch or “go bowling” with improvised bowling pins. Nothing more than a ball can provide hours of fun for little ones.
Take a Hike
Find a nice natural area near your home and take the kids on a nature walk. Try to find a place where they can see a variety of flora and fauna. Give the kids a disposable camera and turn them into nature photographers. Make a game out of it, having them take pictures of as many different trees, leaves and flowers as possible, and make a photo album for them to remember it by.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
Scout out your local area for landmarks, interesting places or unusual things and create a scavenger hunt. Make a printout and have the kids search for all of the items on it. Or, make a bingo game out of it. Another variation is to have the kids find all of the letters of the alphabet on things like signs and car license plates.
Go on a bicycle adventure together. Try to find someplace new or a little farther away. Bring along snacks or lunch and make a picnic out of it. This idea has the added benefit of giving grandma and grandpa a little exercise as well.
Visit the Animal Shelter
Go to your local animal shelter. Most animal shelters let you volunteer to feed, walk or otherwise care for animals. This is a great activity to do especially for kids who don’t or can’t have a pet at home. But be careful – they’ll want to take home every animal they meet!
Visit the Fire Station
Fire station visits are great, especially for little boys that are obsessed with fire trucks. They can see a variety of cars and other vehicles and meet real live firefighters. Many fire stations have special educational programs for when kids visit as well.
Start a Collection
Go on an adventure searching out and collecting something like autumn leaves, seashells, arrowheads, or acorns. Try to find as many as possible and bring the collection home and keep it.
Go Day Camping
If an overnight trip sounds like too much for you, take the kids on a day camping trip. Head to a local campground or park and set up a tent and supplies. Give the kids the experience of camping without actually staying the night.
Kill two birds with one stone by bringing the grandchildren along for errands. Make the things you have to do into “missions” and end it with something special for the kids, like an ice cream cone.
Your outings don’t have to be elaborate at all. Simple ideas just like these can provide days and days of entertainment, as well as educational opportunities, for your grandchildren.