Gael ~ July 21st, 2011
Yes, summer is here!
School is already out or almost out in a lot of places. This means that Grandparents may be preparing for what my own folks like to call “Camp Grammy”. Camp Grammy is where the grandparent look after the grandkids, giving the parents a small break. This break may be an hour, an afternoon or a week, depending on the situation in your family, but whatever the time period, what you do is up to you!
Many Grandparents take on their camp counselor role with gusto – planning events, beach outings, city trips, and more. But, other Grandparents may not be so able. So I thought it would be nice to get a small list together of things you can do with your grandchildren that won’t leave you (too) exhausted by the end of the day.
- Indoor playgrounds or children’s museums – Many people are lucky enough to live near a local children’s museum or play center. While the big city Children’s Museums are great fun, they can sometimes be too big to experience in a day or at a leisurely pace. Local Children’s Museums usually offer fewer rooms of activities (imaginative play, live animals, science discovery, etc) and have places to sit and watch the children while they have fun learning and exploring. To find one near you, visit the Association of Children’s Museums website.
- Arts and Crafts – The best camps have the greatest arts and crafts activities, now so can Grandma and Grandpa. There are vast resources on the Internet for making crafts using just about anything you have at hand. Collect materials from your office supplies, your backyard, even your kitchen, and you have everything you need to make some fun and interesting art. The best thing is art can be done anywhere! Inside when it’s raining, outside when it’s nice. Collect seaweed, seashells and rocks at the beach and make a beautiful collage on the sand! Here are two sites with some great ideas!
Childhoon 101: Playopedia
- Gardening or Pot Planting – If you will see your grandchildren several times throughout the summer, consider planting something with them that they can watch grow! Kids love to play with the dirt and help you plant. Then just wait until you see their faces when the flowers, vegetables or fruits start growing! Priceless! An added bonus: picky eaters may even be willing to try whatever vegetable they spent all summer watching grow!
- Local Library – The local library is a great place to go with kids of all ages. There are often events planned throughout the summer to keep children engaged with reading (reading throughout the summer is proven to help kids maintain or improve their school reading level). Many libraries have fun story times for young children and entertaining reading programs for older children. Sign up your grandchild for a reading program that encourages and even rewards them for reading during the summer with the knowledge that you are preparing them for success in the next school year!
- Let them play! – You remember just playing right? When you would go outside and just discover things, find interesting leaves, dig holes, play hopscotch, run around in circles? Many parents are under the impression that they have to keep their kids busy 24/7, but guess what? With just a little encouragement (or a little boredom), kids will come up with great games, find something to investigate, or just lie down watching the clouds go by all by themselves.
These are just a few ideas to help you keep the children in your life entertained without over-exerting yourself. There are so many great ideas out there if you are willing to give a little time and effort.