There’s just something special about grandparents and grandchildren. The relationship they develop often proves close and rewarding, and there’s no denying that the time they spend together can be fun with a capital F. But many of the fun activities kids can enjoy with their grandparents offer educational potential as well. Here are 5 activities guaranteed to make special time with the grands fun and educational:
- Nature Walks: Who doesn’t love spending time out in nature? And with spring on its way (we hope), the opportunities for planning nature walks abound. Nature walks are great for identifying trees, grasses, flowers, and other plants; learning about poison ivy and poison oak, bird watching, and discussing such topics as photosynthesis and the water cycle. Grandparents can even use these walks to fill children in about health topics, such as how walking and time in the sunshine keeps the body healthy. Grab those field guides and go!
- Museums: Sometimes rain, snow, and even high or low temperatures just make time spent out in nature sound like the very opposite of fun. When that happens, it’s a great time to head to a local museum. No matter how many times you’ve been, there’s always something new to see and learn. Make it more fun by going through the museum at a leisurely pace rather than focusing on seeing everything in one day. Allow your grandchildren to gravitate towards the exhibits that interest them the most, and then spend some time exploring and discussing them. Bonus points if you choose a local children’s museum to explore.
- Cooking: Who said education had to feel like learning? Many children love to help in the kitchen, so cooking together offers grandparents and children an opportunity to have fun and bond. Without even realizing it, your grandchildren will learn about things like measuring, food safety, and balancing food types for optimal nutrition. You can even sneak in some fraction lessons by doubling or halving recipes. Bonus points if you allow your grandkids to help you shop for the food too! It’s money math in action.
- Gardening: If Grandma or Grandpa has a green thumb, that’s an excellent talent to pass on to the grandkids. Let them help you prepare the soil; plant flowers or fruits and veggies; and maintain the garden by weeding, pruning, mulching, and watering right alongside you. From gardening, kids can learn about things that help and hinder plant growth, bees and pollination, the plant life cycle, insect helpers and pests, measuring and counting (space needed and seeds per area), weather and the environment. Bonus points if you give them their own small section of garden space to plant and maintain. Don’t forget the kid-sized gardening tools.
- Talking: Yes, talking with your grandchildren can be an educational activity. Let’s face it, you’ve been there and done that. You have stories to tell, some of them very surprising for your grandkids. Don’t keep them to yourself! Use (or develop) your storytelling skills to give them an interesting account of historical events, your family history, your career (including homemaking), and your philosophy of life. Don’t skip the lessons you learned the hard way. It can be good for kids to discover that even grandparents make mistakes. They will especially enjoy hearing about your childhood hijinks.
Keep in mind that education can happen anywhere and everywhere. Kids learn from life! Spending time with your grandkids, sharing a hobby, or even just enjoying a meal and chatter contributes to their knowledge in surprising ways.