Grandma, grandpa. Gigi, pops. Memaw, pawpaw. Nonna, nonna. No matter what your grandchildren call you, you’re now part of an exclusive club where wonderful, magical things happen. That’s because grandkids hold an indisputably special and valuable place in your heart—and vice versa.
Encourage and support your unique relationship by doing things together as often as you can, but especially on National Grandparents Day (traditionally observed on the first Sunday in September after Labor Day). There are so many ways to celebrate your bond. We’d love to suggest the following 10 activities for kids and grandparents to enjoy together:
Visit a Playground
Playgrounds and swing sets are a great way for both generations to have fun, get some fresh air, exercise, and laugh ’til it hurts! (Pssst, it’s also the perfect outlet for hyped-up, amped-up energy, usually on the side of the kids.) Squeals of “Push me! Push me!” are guaranteed. Then again, you may both need to take a nap afterwards.
Teach Rock Skipping
Virtually a lost art, rock skipping (also called stone skimming) has brought hours of fun to all sorts of generations. Yes, even Gen X. Renew this fun outdoor pastime—and enjoy your bonding time—by teaching your youngster how to do it properly. As they say, “It’s all in the wrist!”
Plant a Garden Together
Flowers. Vegetables. Herbs. Berries. It doesn’t matter what you plant. What matters is that you’re working together, and that you’ll have something to show for your efforts before too long! Imagine gathering a beautiful floral bouquet, snacking on crispy carrots, snipping aromatic thyme, or making juicy strawberry shortcakes from your crop. We like to call it memories (and green thumbs) in the making. There’s nothing better.
Fly a Kite
Choose a mega-fancy model, a dollar-store version, or even a simple homemade contraption. The type of kite doesn’t matter. The giggles do. Find an open space (park, field, beach, etc.), check for wind direction, then let ’er rip! You can certainly discuss geometry, physics, velocity, and aerodynamic lift if you want. But frankly, pure child-like fun is much more, welp, fun!
Yes, hopscotch. That fun, timeless game you used to play as a kid yourself. Whip out that chalk, draw those squares, fill in the numbers, and teach your munchkin the rules of the game. Maybe even share a funny story or two of you playing this game as a kid yourself. Children always love hearing what their grandparents did when they were young(er).
Whether from a box or from scratch, cupcakes are always a fun way to celebrate any occasion—special or not. Measure, stir, pour, bake, cool, frost…it’s all in the yummy details, working together and having a blast. Of course, finally eating them is the best part. (Sneaky, stealthy detail: You’ll be teaching the fine art of following directions and developing patience—and maybe even a little math—along the way as well.)
Watch a Classic Movie
There are the children’s movies of today. Then there are the classic, award-winning children’s movies of the good ol’ days. You loved them as a kid. Now show your own grandkids what they were like! Print movie tickets. Make popcorn. Even build an indoor drive-in movie theatre by creating cars out of cardboard boxes, pillows, and blankets. Then dim the lights. Cuddle up together. And let the movie begin!
Sketch Each Other
Calling all mini Picassos and amateur artists alike! Put paint, markers, or jumbo crayons to paper and sketch each other as you see each other. Artistic talents not required. Just a whole lot of lovin’ and a good sense of humor. Afterwards, discuss what features you emphasized and why. You may even decide to frame your masterpieces afterward. A great gift idea.
Put on a Puppet Show
Good, old-fashioned fun always involved a puppet show. So let your creative juices flow as you and your grandkids buy or make puppets. Script a play based on a funny story from your past or a modern-day adventure involving your grandchildren. Build a stage. Then invite friends and family to your show. However, the real fun, as you’ll clearly see, will have all taken place behind the scenes—together!
Interview Each Other
What better way to get to know each other than by asking questions? Set up a mock interview and let the inquiries begin! Hint: Be sure to ask each other the same questions. Record your responses. (They may surprise you!) Afterwards, you may even want to jot them down and turn them into a book to give as a gift to your grandchild. They’ll treasure it always. To help you get started, here are 10 sample questions:
- What makes you happy? Sad? Scared?
- What’s your favorite thing to do and why?
- One word to describe yourself is ________.
- If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?
- What’s your favorite color?
- Who’s your best friend?
- What’s your most favorite food? Least favorite?
- What’s your favorite thing to do in the summer? Winter?
- If you found a magic lamp, what 3 wishes would you ask the genie to grant?
- What do you love most about me?