Being a grandparent is such a privilege and blessing. If you were lucky enough to know your own grandparents growing up, you probably have special memories of the time you spent with them. Have you ever noticed that a certain smell, scenery, song or food item can evoke vivid memories of your childhood, perhaps, special memories you made with your grandparents? For me, I can’t see or smell large, sugar cookies from a bakery in one of those white bakery boxes tied with a string without thinking of my maternal grandparents. The memories I hold dear inspire me to think of fun things to do with my own grand-kids that they will hopefully remember fondly when they’re grown.
My Pops would bring a box of those cookies along when he and Gram visited us every other Sunday. (On the in-between Sundays, my paternal grandparents would visit, and on holidays such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, both sets of grandparents would join us!) I can still picture my grandfather taking the string off the box of cookies. He would carefully wind it into a ball and slip it into his pocket. He’d say, “Comes in handy. You never know when you’ll need a little bit of string.” I used to imagine that, as years passed, he was amassing an enormous ball of bakery box string somewhere in his apartment.
Fun things to do can start with ‘tradition’
It was tradition for our Pops and Gram to bring us bakery-bought cookies on Sundays. They would also tuck a crisp, new $1 bill in our birthday cards. Such simple traditions brought tremendous pleasure to all seven of us kids, and I know that each of my siblings can still recall these special treats as well as I can. What traditions will you share with your grand-kids? When you’re thinking of fun things to do, you might want to start a tradition!
Maybe you can bring your grand-kids a special treat that your son or daughter (their parent) enjoyed as a child. You can read stories that you used to read to their mother or father. Story time is a wonderful tradition. I love when my grand-kids visit and we all pile into my bed to read together. Another tradition I look forward to is an annual sleepover my grand-kids have at our house on Thanksgiving. Their parents love to go Black Friday shopping, so the kids all spend the night with us, which gives us special time together and also turns the shopping trip into a date night for my son and daughter-in-law.
More fun things to do
When my kids were growing up, we had a “Daddy’s little sweetheart” t-shirt that was passed down the line. Each of my children wore it, and then we passed it down to our grandchildren. What did you save that belonged to your child? For fun things to do with grand-kids, go through the treasures you saved from his or her parent’s childhood, and see if there’s something you’d like to hand down.
Teaching a life skill, such as gardening, sewing, cooking, painting or carpentry is another way to make grand-child visits special. It fills my heart with joy to hold a little hand and stroll through the garden with a grandson or grand-daughter. Children are naturally eager learners. They want to know what the plants are. They will help you pull weeds, too! And, it’s fun to let them get squirted by the hose after watering the plants on a hot, summer day!
Look through old photos together
This has to be one of the most fun things to do with your grand-kids. Watch their eyes fill with wonder as you show them pictures of their mother or father as a baby, a toddler, a teenager or a bride or groom! Place a baby picture of your grandson or grand-daughter next to one of your child, and see how much they look alike! You can stroll back even farther down memory lane if you have photos of yourself on hand from when you were young. Ask your grandchild who is pictured and see if they know it’s you!
Become pen pals with your grand-kids
Kids love to get mail and so do grandparents! Every year, during the Christmas season, my children and I each hand-write a letter to my mother, who is age 91. We decorate the borders of the our papers to create homemade stationery. We don’t fold our letters. Instead, we carefully slide them all into a large envelope, then send them to her. The excitement never grows old. My mother delights in receiving her pile of letters and reads them over and over again. She loves to write back, and shares beautiful, funny and interesting stories about her life. My kids keep her letters in a special box. Those letters are part of their Grandma’s legacy!
Do something ‘modern’ with your grand-kids
Do your grand-kids have a favorite video game or do their parents allow them to use Kids Messenger or Instagram? Using social media or playing ‘modern’ games are fun things to do with grand-kids, too. They’re likely to giggle if their Grammy, Pop-pop, Mimi, Nanna or Pappy makes a Tik Tok or tries to beat them at Just Dance. They’ll also appreciate the fact that you make an effort to keep up with the times and learn knew things to which they can relate.
Going to church together, attending baseball games, track meets or cheer competitions, or sitting around a campfire on a chilly evening are all fun things to do with grand-kids. Some day, they will tell stories about you to their children. The memories you build with them today will be the stories of their tomorrows.