Living Gems

Creating memories

Great ideas for activities with the grandkids

One of the greatest pleasures in being a grandparent in retirement is having the time to enjoy spending with the grandchildren.

Children share a special bond with their grandparents with studies showing that spending time with grandparents contributed positively to a child’s wellbeing by providing a listening ear and sage words of advice based on the experience of raising their own children.

In the past few decades, due to both parents being in the work force, grandparents are playing an increasingly important role as active caregivers and many children are spending much more time with ‘nan and pop’ than ever before, said Living Gems CEO Adrian Puljich.

“There are few things more precious than seeing the delight in the eyes of your grandchildren as they discover something for the first time,” he said. “And seeing life through a little one’s eyes is a sure way to feel younger yourself.”

Here are some creative activities that you can do with your grandkids – away from the screens.

Exploring nature

Spending time in nature has been shown to improve mood and reduce mental fatigue – that’s a great reason to get the grandkids into the great outdoors, said Adrian.

“Toddlers have boundless curiosity which can be channelled into learning about the world around them,” he said.

“They love to get hands-on, so have fun digging in the dirt to make mud pies or sandcastles down at the beach. Collecting sticks, rocks, leaves and shells offer a great opportunity to help children name different types of objects.

“What’s more, these found objects can be used in craft, such as painting rocks, making collages and other forms of imaginative play.”

Scavenger hunts

For older children, a trip down to the local park can become a grand adventure by turning it into a treasure hunt.

“Before leaving home, come up with a list of things to find. The task to find something orange could be to hunt for a leaf or a flower, for instance,” said Adrian. “Scavenger hunts help test their powers of observation and deductive reasoning.

Spending time in the great outdoors encourages a sense of adventure and play and has great benefits for grandparents too by increasing fitness and mobility.

Hikes in nature, camping or biking along the beachfront are activities that can be enjoyed at just about every age and are a great way to involve older grandchildren too.

“Teenagers might feel like they’re a bit too old for outdoor adventures, but many of them will go along with the fun and games if they have some friends with them,” Adrian said.

“Look for nature-inspired adventure activities such as treetop rope courses and ziplines. And make sure you join in the fun as well – rainforest hikes or a half day cycling will help your fitness too.”

Games without frontiers

Even if you don’t see the grandchildren as often as you wish because of distance, you can still create great memories together.

“Consider a virtual scavenger hunt game using photographs,” said Adrian. “This game can be played even when your grandchildren aren’t visiting.

“Set them an assignment by email or text message to, for example, photograph something red. It might be a flower, a balloon, a roof or even their t-shirt, then ask them to set you a task in return.”

As children get older, they can learn more advanced photographic skills such as in-camera editing where they learn to take better images using thoughtful composition, focus and shutter choice as well as lighting.

Creative teenagers who have computer skills can have their abilities challenged by using editing software to turn photos into stunning artworks.

“The role of grandparents playing a positive impact in the lives of their grandchildren can’t be under-estimated. And best of all, it doesn’t take expensive equipment or the latest gadgets, all it takes is a bit of your time,” Adrian added.