All grandparents want to have lasting relationships with their grandchildren. But the bonds are often challenged by living distances apart, busy family schedules and sometimes a lack of activities to enjoy together.
We may not be able to fix the distance you live from your grandchildren, but we can fix the problem of what to do when you are together.
Kids love to learn new things. They want to know what it was like in the “olden days” when we were younger. They want to learn new skills and feel successful. That’s where these ten hobbies come in.
All you need to do is research some simple hobby/project ideas, buy some supplies and plan ahead for the next time you get together with your grandkids. There are so many choices, but here are ten good ideas. You’ll log some quality time with grandkids and have fun in the process. You might decide you both enjoy the hobby so much you’ll plan together for future projects.
Although quilting requires a sewing machine and some basic sewing supplies, you can find very simple beginner projects to do with your grandchildren. Even boys will enjoy selecting fabrics, cutting out pieces and doing some straight-line stitching to make a quilt design. Simple blocks can be quilted to make nice gifts—placemats, hot pads, table runners and more.
See: Tips for Quilting with Kids and Quilting Projects for Young Children
The fine art of paper folding comes to us from Japan. The word is derived from “oru” meaning to fold and “kami” meaning paper. The fun part is there are very simple origami projects and exceedingly difficult ones. You and your grandchild can learn the basics together and then set some goals for refining your skills. The bright colorful papers make each project something special.
See: Origami Instructions and Origami Club
There are growing numbers of families who want to go back to basics and grow some of their own food. Your grandchildren may already have the planting/green thumb bug or you may get the pleasure of teaching them how to plant and grow fruits, vegetables and flowers. There are many gardening for children books available. Don’t think you need a big area to do some serious gardening—just a few square feet of dirt can make a great intensive gardening bed. Be sure to allow the grandchildren make some of the choices of what to grow and select the seed at your local gardening store.
See: Edventures with Kids and Eartheasy
Spending time out of doors is great fun. Wherever you live, there are bound to be excellent hiking trails of all levels of difficulty. Find a book listing and rating the trails in your vicinity and select one with an easy to moderate rating to begin with. Do a little research on the flora and fauna of the area so you can point them out along the way. Be sure to take along water, a first aid kit and some snacks. You may have such a great time that you’ll want to plan more hikes with your grandchildren the next time you get together.
See: The Trailmaster or Hiking the Trail
Compassion is a fine character trait to instill in your grandchildren. Find a shelter for the homeless, an assisted living, a food bank or some other local outreach to the poor, elderly or needy. Call ahead to be sure there are jobs that can be done by both adults and children. Be sure the grandkids understand the basics of the needs of the people being served and then go and give together. Giving time and “sweat equity” together will make for lasting bonds and build greater understanding of the world and its challenges.
See: Points of Light or Very Well
Both boys and girls enjoy spending time by a fishing hole. (or river or stream or lake). The leisurely pace of fishing leaves lots of time for thinking, talking, eating and generally hanging out together. It’s not so much about the fish that are or aren’t caught, but about being together in a beautiful place. If you happen to catch something, be sure to clean and eat it together too. A nice little campfire and an old frying pan is the perfect way to do that.
See: Teespring or Fishing with Grandpa by Christina Weimer
More and more families are finding value in writing down their family histories. Why not brainstorm with your grandkids to write poetry, letters to the editor, memoirs and original stories using the family members as characters. Why not write a mystery or an adventure story together? The act of putting words on paper and then “publishing” your finished works will be a source of pride and entertainment for many years to come.
See: Sandwichink or Curly Grandma
Put on a Show
This one may seem a bit daunting, but it’s really not. What can your kids do to entertain others? Can they sing or dance? Do magic tricks? Tell corny jokes or ask riddles? Whatever it is, have them polish up their skills and work with them to put on a show for the family. Guaranteed to make memories and bring lots of laughter to all.
See: Easy Magic Tricks or Joke Books for Kids
Cooking with your grandchildren is probably something you already do on occasion. There are so many fun recipes to try. How about teaming up with your grandchildren to plan and serve a family meal? A Sunday brunch or a weekend breakfast might be a good place to start. Go through the whole process of planning, shopping, prepping, cooking and serving the meal. Oh, and don’t forget about the clean-up.
See: Cooking with Kids or Five Important Lessons
Both boys and girls can get into scrapbooking if the topic is of interest to them. How about creating a scrapbook of the nature hike you took together? Or a favorite movie, book or action hero? Scrapbooks are a combination of pictures, artwork, crafting and writing. Turn your special project into a one of a kind memento of time together with your grandkids.