If you’re on ‘grandchild duty’ this summer, take heart! Here is a list of activities that are fun for all and will keep the youngsters fully occupied:
1. Junk modelling – raid your recycling boxes for old cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and foil. Give the kids a roll of sellotape, some string and some safe children’s scissors and see what amazing creations emerge! If you’re feeling brave on the mess front, let them paint their models, too.
2. Nature hunt – write a list of things children can go and find in the garden (a snail shell, a feather, a shiny pebble, a stick taller than them etc.) and send them off with your worst Tupperware box to collect it all in. It can be fun and interesting to look through and talk about their findings together when they’ve finished.
3. Pick your own strawberries, raspberries, or whatever! – Find a local pick your own fruit farm and let the kids do the hard work. If there’s plenty to go round, make a fruit salad together when you get home – that’s pud sorted!
4. Build a den – as long as you’re happy for things to get moved around a bit, den building can be a great activity, rain or shine. In good weather, kids can use garden furniture, bushes, blankets or old bits of wood to build their den; if it’s raining, let them have cushions, bedding and whatever else you’re willing to risk to build a den indoors.
5. Make your own pizza – most kids love pizza! If you know how, make the dough together (if not, buy ready-made pizza bases) and let the kids choose and arrange their own toppings. Try sweetcorn, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped pineapple, small pieces of ham or salami and chopped peppers along with passata and grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese.
6. Teach them a new game – you may be amazed by how few kids play good old card or board games; they may be amazed by how much they enjoy them when they learn! Teach them the games that you or your children used to play. Depending on their age, consider snap, draughts, chess, family Monopoly, Ludo or snakes & ladders. This is a great alternative to on-screen games and apps.
7. Go to the local park or beach – kids are often more than happy to simply run around a local park or build sandcastles at the beach – even more so if they’re visiting you and it’s a change to their own local park or beach!
8. Have a picnic – especially if you’re doing number 7! But a picnic wherever you’re going nearly always goes down well. If you’re not going anywhere, have a picnic in the garden or even indoors on a blanket on the floor if it’s raining.
9. Go to a museum – many museums are free and often suit kids of all ages. Some museums have interactive displays for younger children and some are just great spaces for children to explore with you.
10. Draw outdoors with chalk – if you have a patio or safe driveway, get some chunky chalks and let the kids get artistic in the great outdoors.
12. Make paper aeroplanes – teach them how to make paper aeroplanes (or get them to teach you!) Decorate them and fly them. If you think they’d enjoy it, make it into a competition.
13. Prepare and perform a play or musical show – let their imaginations take over and get them to practise and then perform a play or musical show. Any costumes or props you can offer will always go down well!
14. Make a bird feeder – there are lots of ‘recipes’ for bird feeders that use easily available ingredients such as apples, yoghurt pots, nuts, seeds and string. They are fun to make and can provide days of interest once birds start feeding from them. If your grandchildren catch the bird-watching bug, help them to make a bird-watchers’ poster by finding or drawing pictures of different birds, cutting them out and labelling them.
15. Play with water – provide watering cans, bowls, trays or other containers filled with water and let them play!
Here’s to an enjoyable and activity filled summer for all.