The bond between a grandparent and their grandchild is a special one. The friendship and unconditional love a grandparent offers is good for helping growing children build self-esteem. There is emerging evidence to show that intergenerational connections are good for both generations.
Grandparents can help their younger loved ones learn important social skills, empathy and character. Grandchildren can, in turn, offer companionships, joy and energy to their elders.
If you are trying to find ways for your children to enjoy quality time with grandma and grandpa this summer, we have a few suggestions that might help.
7 Summer Activities with Grandkids
Here are some summer activities your older and younger family members can do together:
- Green Thumb: Plant and grow a children’s garden together. It might be a simple one they create in containers and raised beds or a larger one in the corner of the yard. They could plant an edibles garden with herbs, lettuces and easy-to-grow vegetables. Another fun idea would be to pick a children’s book theme such as the Beatrix Potter character, Mr. McGregor or Alice in Wonderland and model your garden after the story.
- Movie Night Under the Stars: Have an outdoor movie night. These are fairly easy to set up with a white sheet against the side of the house or garage, a laptop and LCD player. If you need some suggestions on movies both generations will enjoy, Grandparents.com has reviews to make it easier to choose. Movie titles range from the oldies to newly released DVDs.
- Become Bird Watchers: A great summer activity for grandparents and younger grandkids to enjoy together is bird watching. Kids can help keep bird feeders and bird baths filled for their feathered friends. You can help them learn to identify birds by borrowing bird books from the library or by showing them websites such as Audobon.org. With a digital camera and printer, they could take it a step further and create their own “Birds of Summer” scrapbook.
- Make a Little Magic: Purchase a magic kit online or at the local hobby store. They are inexpensive and usually include a few easy-to-learn tricks. The two generations could even host a summer family magic show!
- Wii Tournaments: Invest in a new or used Wii with programs like golf, bowling and dancing. It provides grandparents and grandkids a way to enjoy a friendly competition while also getting in a little extra exercise this summer.
- Put Together a Puzzle: Buying a puzzle that can be worked on together is a good activity for hot or rainy days. Age-appropriate puzzles are available for children as young as 18 months. The quiet time spent assembling a puzzle can give families time to bond and learn more about one another.
- Sing Along: Another fun way to spend a rainy summer day might be by singing along to karaoke songs. You can rent, buy or borrow a small karaoke machine. You can easily find karaoke DVDs with songs that range from the oldies that might appeal to grandparents to newer music the grandchildren will like.
Family Summer Safety Reminders
Because summer activities often take place outdoors, here are a few safety reminders to keep in mind:
- Always use sunscreen. Because this generation of seniors didn’t grow up using it, they aren’t always great at remembering sunscreen basics. Buy sunscreen for them to have on hand and encourage them to follow the directions on the label for how much and how often to apply it.
- Encourage hydration. Remind both generations to keep water with them and drink it often when they will be outdoors.
- Be mindful of special diets. A grandparent may find themselves tempted to disregard their dietary restrictions when entertaining the grandkids. Encourage them to stick to their diet and to try to keep the kids on a healthy track too.
We hope these suggestions and tips help your children and parents enjoy bonding time this summer!