One of the best parts about being a grandparent is having a loving, fun relationship with your grandchildren. Being a grandparent is the best job in the world, but it's not always easy! Today's kids can be a hard bunch to please, and scheduling is tricky between all their sports, lessons, and other activities. But usually, they will be excited to spend special time with Grandma or Grandpa, because it is quality time focused on them that is sometimes difficult for their parents (who often have more distractions of house, work, and all the demands of a busy young family) to give. It's a win for grandparents, parents, and the kids too.
But what do you do that's fun for both grandparents and kids?
A key thing to remember is to keep it simple and fun. This isn't the time to press for perfection. Let them be kids! If you have several grandchildren, mix up your activities with group times vs. one-on-one dates. Give each one their special time with Grandma or Grandpa.
Here are some easy ideas that are fun and give you time to talk and get to know one another. Plus, most of these things can be done for no money at all.
Find out what the child's favorite treat is and make it together. They'll learn a valuable skill, you get some great time together, and then of course, you get to share the yummy treat.
Tune up a bike
If the kids have bicycles, they may be in various states of disrepair, and fixing it up together would be fun. Learn how gears work together. A ride around the neighborhood afterward would be an extra bonus.
Show them that the PlayStation isn't the only game in town. A board game offers better conversation opportunities, too.
Simple and easy and is sure to bring a smile.
Make a dollhouse together
from thin cardboard such as shoe boxes.
Make homemade clay
Recipes abound for hardening or non-hardening types.
Start a collection
Find out what the child is interested in, and go on a hunt together. Share with them things you may have loved collecting in your own childhood.
There's one for every level.
For girls, how about an appointment at Grandma's salon?
Fancy hair and nail polish can offer giggly fun.
Older grandchildren might enjoy a photography lesson
Learn about exposure, aperture, and cropping. Maybe they'll have a thing or two to teach you about uploading photos and cellphone cameras!
If you have a scout in the family, there's probably a merit badge you could help them get completed
There's one for practically any interest.
Visit the local fire station
You will want to call first, but most stations are glad to have you.
Cut snowflakes from paper
Make a family newspaper with a word processing program
It's easy for kids to take their own pictures for a project like this, and they love nearly anything using computers.
Make a time capsule together and bury it in your yard (to be opened in five or ten years)
There are many more ideas out there, but the main thing to remember is to make it fun and focused on the child. Let them know this is their time, and if they have an idea of their own, roll with it. What you do is not the important thing, but that you are together, building that relationship you'll treasure forever.