Inside: Here are 7 amazingly fun activities that show grandparents love for their grandchildren. Easy to do; fun to implement—activities of art, music, baking, and creating that build a bond between grandkids and their grandparents!
Have you ever read the book; I’m Going to Grandma’s by Mary Ann Hoberman? It’s a charming story about a little girl who is going to her grandmas to spend the night and about her grandparents’ love for her.
The grandmother shares her love of dancing, gardening, and cooking with her granddaughter and makes special jam cookies for her. And her grandfather teaches her all about his love of music and art.
Her grandparent’s house is a place where memories are made and love abounds.
Love and family are what grandparenting is all about!
According to the American Grandparents Association (AGA), 72% of grandparents feel that being a grandparent is the most satisfying thing in their lives and like the book–grandparents love to share their interests, talents, and hobbies with their grandchildren.
If you’re a grandparent, you know all about a grandparents’ love for grandchildren. And studies show that not only are grandparents important to a child—but grandchildren are equally important to grandparents.
Our 13 grandchildren keep us “on our toes,” they make us laugh and help us feel younger than our years. For those reasons and more, we started this “mini-school/playtime” for the 4 grandchildren that live within an hour of our home.
On a previous blog, I shared activities and themes we do when our grandkids come to visit 2-days/week. Here are some more ideas to do with your grandkids to build a bond of love and create cherished memories…
Grandparents Love: All About “My Family”
This week the theme is “My Family,” with each activity teaching different skills.
#1 Art: Cardboard Houses (teaches cutting, gluing, drawing, designing)
Don’t throw away your cardboard! It’s perfect for most art projects and allows your grandchildren to experience a different paper texture.
For this project, use white cardboard and cut out a simple shape of a house for each grandchild to decorate. Here are some ideas of materials they can glue on their houses:
- Popsicle sticks
- Colored paper cut in squares of different sizes
- Pom poms
- Small pictures of their families (and pets)
One grandchild made windows on her house and put the pictures of family members looking out the windows. The others quickly followed her idea. To make it easy for the 2-year old’s, I had them put dots of glue on the roof of the house first and then paste their pieces of paper over the glue.
The result–colorful houses! (I found this idea in Cardboard Creations by Barbara Rucci)
#2 Art: Graham Cracker Houses, Popsicle Stick People, (teaches how to make frosting & spatial awareness)
These graham cracker houses are super simple to make. The “glue” you use to connect the graham cracker squares is melted sugar—that’s it. Click here to see a video on how to put them together (I make these at Christmas too). Here’s how to do it:
- Dip the bottom and side of the first cracker in the melted sugar and stick the bottom onto a paper plate
- Dip the side and bottom of the second cracker in the sugar and stick one side to the cracker and the other side to the plate
- Repeat with the 3rd and 4th crackers–now you have an enclosed square of crackers
- Take 2 crackers and dip the top of each and put together like a triangle–this is your roof; set aside
- Turn the entire house upside down and dip into the melted sugar. Take out and attach the roof
Please note that melted sugar is extremely hot. If your grandchildren are young, glue the houses together for them.
Give each grandchild pictures of all his/her family members. Mount them on colored paper so they are not flimsy and hot glue them onto popsicle sticks.
Just about any candy works for decorating the houses:
- Wilton chocolate candies
- Gummy bears
- Jelly Beans
- Licorice squares
- Photos of the outsides of their own houses and each family member
- Each child frosts all areas of the house and sticks on various candies. They may want to frost one “wall” at a time
- On the front of the house, they can “glue” the photo of their own home using frosting
- After they have finished decorating their house—give them each a piece of Styrofoam to stick the pictures of the family members into.
By the way–don’t make the mistake we did–we forgot to take pictures of the grandparents for their houses–oops!
#3 Grandkids in the Kitchen: Making Frosting & Rice Krispies Treats (measuring, mixing, reading a recipe)
Have your grandkids help make the frosting for their graham cracker houses by measuring, mixing, and stirring the powdered sugar, milk, shortening (or butter), and vanilla flavoring. Add enough powdered sugar to get a semi-stiff consistency.
Frosting can be made quickly so add another easy recipe for the kids to make like Rice Krispies Treats. Use the recipe on the box of Rice Krispies cereal. Again, have all the kids take turns measuring and mixing ingredients.
#4 Flying Kites at the Park (the science of kite flying)
Do your grandkids like to fly kites? There is something about kids and kites that go hand-in-hand.
Take your grandkids to a park with large open spaces and few trees (you don’t want their kites getting stuck in a tree). Purchase kites of different shapes so you can “experiment” to see which shapes fly the best. (P.S: The kites at Walmart for $1.77 are great little kites!) Our grandkids discovered that wider triangular kites and diamond-shaped kites fly better than narrow triangular kites. However, the biggest secret in flying a kite is having plenty of wind, knowing which way the wind is blowing, and having enough lift to overcome gravity and drag.
Kites + Kids = Winning Combination!
#5 Board Games & Puzzles (teaching spatial relationships, problem-solving skills and strategizing)
Kids of all ages love board games. Our favorites with this age group are Twister, Candyland, Quirkle, matching games, and Sorry!
Once kids ages master a game, they usually want to play it over and over. You may disagree, but if your grandkids cheat a bit on a game—let them—our motto is that younger grandkids should win at all costs. Once they are tweens and teens–all rules apply.
Board games teach kids amazing skills—spatial relationships, problem-solving, and strategizing which translates into better math skills. And, if you’re ever at a loss on what to do to keep the grandkids away from the TV and the computer–the answer is–play board games and put puzzles together!
#6 Music & Reading: Singing books (develops listening skills, speech & language, math)
If possible, try and read to each of your grandchildren individually especially if you are reading to grandchildren of various ages. Oftentimes, younger grandchildren like books sung to them. Here are some favorite titles of books you can sing:
Singing books to your grandkids is not only fun, but it’s also educational, too, and will increase their speech & language, reading, and even math abilities. A master Japanese mathematics teacher was asked, what was the most effective way of heightening a child’s mental abilities. He answered, “The finest start for infants is to sing songs. This helps to elevate their powers of understanding and they register astounding speed in learning math and languages.”
I’ve noticed this with our 2-year old granddaughter (pictured above). Her language skills for a 2-year old are advanced–she speaks Japanese (her mother) and English (my son) and they sing books to her all the time.
#7 Bedtime Music (develops listening & memory skills)
Reading bedtime stories is always a MUST, but try playing some music while your grandkids are falling asleep. I played several different CD series when my sons were growing up and now I’m playing the same CDs for my grandkids.
Their favorites are the Classical Kids CD series that includes:
- Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage
- Mr. Bach Comes to Call
- Hallelujah Handel!
- Beethoven Lives Upstairs
- Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery
- Mozart’s Magic Fantasy
- Tchaikovsky Discovers America
This series tells fanciful stories using the music of famous classical composers. Some of them tell stories from the composer’s life like “Beethoven Lives Upstairs.” You’ll be surprised just how much your grandchildren will remember about these stories–even when they’re falling asleep!
Grandparenting is very much like service—it’s never convenient but it always pays BIG dividends! There is nothing more important than developing a healthy strong relationship with your kids and then again with your grandkids. If done consistently and with love, you will build relationships that last a lifetime. Yes, it takes time, effort, and money—but it’s so worth it!
Children are the rainbow of life. Grandchildren are the pot of gold!
What are some activities that you love doing with your grandchildren? Please comment in the section below
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What grandparents should not do…
Grandparents should not take over the role of the parent unless there are extenuating circumstances. They are the grandparent and should be careful not to usurp the parent’s position.
They should not control how the parents’ choose to parent their children and they should not contradict what the parents tell their children.
If they disagree with something the parent has told the child, they can diplomatically give their opinion—only if asked.
It’s confusing for a child if the parents say one thing and the grandparents say something entirely different. Be supportive of the parents, even as you play your role as a grandparent.
Your main role as a grandparent is to simply love and adore your grandchildren and be a positive role model in their lives.
How important are grandparents in a child’s life?
Most grandparents feel their grandchildren are the most important thing in their lives.
The American Grandparents Association (AGA) found that 72% of grandparents believe “being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their lives.” And even though being a grandparent requires effort, creativity, and lots of love—grandkids are worth it.