You love your grandkids, and spending time with them is a joy. The problem is, especially as they get a bit older, they need more activities to satisfy their busy and curious minds. Whether your grandkids are visiting you at your assisted living community for the day, or they're staying with you for the weekend while their parents are away, there are plenty of fun ways for you and your young family members to enjoy each other's company. Here are a few activities that seniors and kids can enjoy doing together:
Reading with young grandkids is a great way to engage both of your minds while your grandchild learns and has fun. Helping a young child learn to read – or reading to them during an afternoon together spent inside – is a nice opportunity to strengthen your bond, make each other laugh and learn patience from one another.
Go with the flow when reading with a little one. They may get frustrated with tough words, or may want to read their favorite book over and over again. When you've finished the book, though, they'll be happy they spent time with grandma or grandpa reading and telling stories.
Play games and do puzzles
Board games and puzzles can entertain adults and children alike. Even better, these games help spark brain activity, improving memory and cognitive function for both kids and seniors, so as you're playing Yahtzee or solving a puzzle, you can know that you're taking part in an activity that's good for everyone.
Break out the Monopoly for kids who are a bit older, or play Go Fish with younger children who are still learning to process more complicated rules and concepts. Your grandkids may also bring their own activities – don't be surprised if these games are on a smartphone or tablet. If so, be open to the experience and encourage them to help you learn, too. Keeping up with technology is good for both kids and adults.
Arts and crafts
Work together to create something fun that they can take home and remember their favorite afternoon with grandma or grandpa. If you're lacking for inspiration, think seasonally. In the fall, make Halloween crafts together; in the winter, try out making snowmen from socks and some felt for decoration; in the spring and summer, sit outside together while making colorful sand art with an oceanic theme. There are countless options that you can find online or in craft books.
Just make sure that you have all the necessary supplies ready to go before the kids arrive, and have some snacks handy for the little ones to eat after they're finished.
Bake and cook
Speaking of snacks, why not take your time together to bake or cook something delicious with your grandkids? You'll be teaching them important skills and having fun at the same time. Kid-friendly recipes include cookies, snack mixes, mini muffins and more. You can make something sweet together while letting your grandkid carry out tasks such as stirring the batter, using cookie cutters to make their favorite shapes into sweets, and applying frosting as they come out of the oven.
Be sure to keep them away from the hot stove and teach them how to use measuring cups and to have fun in the kitchen. Then enjoy these homemade treats while watching a movie together on the couch or reading.
Trips and excursions
If you're up for an outing together on a nice day, consider some time out of the house with your grandchild. From trips to the local park to a children's museum, there are likely many options in your area to keep little ones entertained.
Be sure to keep yourself in mind during these excursions. Gauge your energy levels and adjust your plan accordingly. Maybe you're not up for chasing a 7-year-old through a museum, but you could take that same child to a matinee movie where you can sit and relax while still providing them with stimulation – and maybe a little popcorn while you're at it.
Talk to your grandkids' mom or dad beforehand to check whether they can handle movies, museums, trips to the library, or whatever you're considering. Then get together with your favorite young family members and enjoy this special time together.