Are you taking care of the grandchildren this bank holiday? Whether it’s for a couple of hours or for the entire weekend, the prospect of looking after youngsters in this day and age can be daunting.
But before you jump to foregone conclusions of spending the whole time attempting to coax a sentence out of your them while they play on their high-tech gadgets, we have plenty of ideas for fun things to do with grandchildren. Bridge the age-gap, teach them something new, feel closer to one another and create some great memories with your grandchildren this bank holiday weekend and onwards into summer.
Go bug hunting
Adventurous and nature-loving children of all ages will love this activity! With younger children, all you’ll need is a plastic tub (like an old ice-cream container) and some foliage – like a bush, shrub or tree. Hold the tub under the leaves and give them a shake to see what falls out. If you’ve got a book on creepy-crawlies, see if you can identify the bugs together.
Older children will prefer the hands-on approach, and can be trusted to delve through the grass or use a trowel to dig up worms and other creatures. Ask them what they’ve learned about bugs at school, and challenge them to find out the name of every bug they catch - it will definitely give them some stories to take back to school when summer has ended.
Create a masterpiece
If the weather takes a turn for the worse, keep them entertained indoors instead. Spread a tablecloth over the dining table (or on the floor) and use the underside of an old roll of wallpaper for drawing paper. Grab pens, pencils, chalk, and wax crayons; make stamps out of slices of potato to stamp with paint; use leaves and flowers as stencils, and let their imaginations run wild. Then hang their works of art on the wall, or let the children proudly present them to mum and dad when their fun at granny and grandads’ is over.
Tell stories about your childhood
Kids love stories, but there’s no need to reach for a book to entertain them when you’ve got memories to share. You’ll be surprised how intently your grandchildren listen when you tell them of your memories as a child. Choose tales from childhood that they can relate to - what school used to be like, where you went on holiday, the clothes you used to wear, toys you used to play with, and especially stories about their own parents, aunts and uncles.
You’ll have them rolling around laughing when you tell them about the time their mum or dad did something especially naughty or silly. You could really inspire their imaginations if you have any old toys or photographs to show them.
Get busy in the kitchen
We can guarantee that the grandchildren will have a brilliant time helping you in the kitchen. Just be prepared to get flour and icing sugar everywhere - children are experts when it comes to making mess. Pinnies are a must here! Bake fairy cakes or pizzas with older children, so that they can learn to beat cake mix or knead dough. With younger children try making cornflake cakes, or let them help to ice the fairy cakes once they’re ready.
Do A fashion show
Teenager grandchildren can be particularly difficult to please, but at this age they’re developing their own personal style, and might love experimenting with some of your old clothes. Find dresses, suits, hats, jewellery and accessories for them to try on, and take pictures of them all dressed up. Not only will it be a great laugh, but you might find they even love some of your ‘vintage’ pieces – be prepared to part with some items, which could be given a whole new lease of life in their hands!
Whatever you love to do with your grandchildren, summer is the time to really bond. If your loved ones are into crafts, consider bringing them along to GrandFest, RVS's festival to introduce skills to a younger generation. If you can't make the events in London, be sure to keep an eye out on the McCarthy & Stone website for events and workshops across the country.