If your children are lucky enough to live close to their grandparents, here are some great ideas the kids and grandparents can do together to help bridge the generation gap.

Explore the grandparents’ “stuff.” Take the kids on a tour of grandma’s attic, basement and special treasures. Kids can learn so much about their family roots through collections of baseball cards, vintage music, classic books, old photos, special autographs, antique toys, personal diaries and other mementoes.

Go fishing. Boys and girls alike are always up for a short bout of fishing with a grandparent. They not only learn how to bait a hook and cast the line, but their faces light up when they actually catch a fish. Even if nobody catches anything, at least the kids and grandparent get to spend some quality time together.

Get a makeover. Girls love to accompany grandma to the beauty salon or get a makeover at grandma’s house. My girls adore how Grandma Mac brushes their hair, because she is patient and gentle and talks to them so lovingly while doing it. A simple session of nail painting can be very relaxing and the perfect time for a girl-to-girl chat.

Plan a special activity. Keep the grandparents involved in your child’s latest interests. For instance, if your daughter develops a love for ballet, have grandma take her to see “The Nutcracker.” If your son is crazy about trains, grandpa could treat him to an excursion on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway or take him to the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History in Kennesaw.

Share a skill or hobby. Does grandma scrapbook, garden, paint pictures or cook a favorite dish? Your child can join in and learn how to do it, too. Grandma Tutu (my mom) got my kids interested in rocks when she gave them some quartz crystal chunks.

Make something. The possibilities for your kids to interact with their grandparents are endless: They can bake cookies, build a birdhouse or plant a pot of marigolds. My husband’s grandma made wooden stick horses for all of her grandchildren, and they still have them. Now my kids play with them – 40 years later.

Go exploring. A nature walk or a trip to a petting zoo or nature center is an ideal activity for grandparents and grandchildren. Even just a stroll through the park or around the block can be a rewarding and memorable experience.

Have a sleepover. My sons love shrimp, so when they visit their grandparents, their grandfather makes them a dinner of shrimp, potatoes and green beans and tops it off with a big bowl of sherbet while they watch a movie before going to bed. In the morning, they wake up to eggs, hash browns, bacon and a day full of fun.

Volunteer together. My father-in-law takes my 10-year-old son to a food bank every few weeks for three hours of sorting donated food, then they go out to lunch. Head to volunteermatch.org to find all sorts of volunteer opportunities that grandparents and kids can do together.

Cheer them on. Invite the grandparents to as many sports competitions, scouting events, dance recitals and other special occasions as you can, so they can lend their support to your children’s achievements. Their presence at these important milestones will be remembered and appreciated.

-Kerrie McLoughlin

Recent Posts