19 Unforgettable Activities to do With Grandchildren
Here are 19 unforgettable activities to do with grandchildren. These are grandparent tested and grandchild approved!
This post is a love story. It’s about the love between my grandchildren and me. This is the real stuff we do to build an unforgettable bond.
To be an unforgettable grandparent, you need to do memorable things with your grandchildren.
I’m here to provide the inspiration, motivation, and encouragement to not just be unforgettable but to also form an amazing relationship with your grandchild or grandchildren.
Even if you’re not sure you could ever be unforgettable, I promise you that you already are.
Children may remember some gifts but what they really remember is time with you!
Here’s what I really want you to know about unforgettable activities.
I have worked with children so much in my life. I was a Brownie leader, a cub scout leader, and I ran a teen and children’s program.
All children adore an adult who will spend time with them in activities that they enjoy.
It really doesn’t matter what you do–it’s that you do something with them. When you put your time, focus, and attention on children they LOVE it.
You can shoot hoops, go for walks, sit and talk, play games, cook food, or anything else you like to do and that you think they’ll like.
June 2021 Update: This post was written before the pandemic and during this time, we found new ways to have unforgettable activities and those were included in this post since it was written. Those activities can also work for long-distance grandparents.
In the past two weeks, I did a couple of fun things with the grandkids that were spontaneous and well-received.
The first was Dress Up Movie Night. We rented the movie Cruella to watch at home. My son-in-law bought cute t-shirts for my daughter and I to wear. I brought beads, feather boas, and feathered headbands. The little girls wore their fancy dresses.
Let me tell you. Just calling something “dress up” makes it even more memorable!
I am so grateful to be able to see my grandchildren in person now and for us to do some fun things together! Every moment is precious and unforgettable!
Recently, I had the two little ones spend the night. Having children over can be really memorable for them. This was the first time in a year and a half that they had spent the night!
Here are the things I’ve been doing to stay connected to my grandchildren pre-covid and during covid.
Long Distance Activities
Family Zoom meetings
I started these in March 2020. I use Zoom for life coaching clients and so I set up a meeting and invited my mom, siblings, nieces, nephews, kids, and grandkids.
At times we will have four generations from age 2 to 88. Not everyone comes every time, but we usually have a decent turnout.
The little ones love this. They don’t stay on the whole time, but they do enjoy coming on and saying hi. This has been a great way for them to get to know their extended family and the cousins they’ve only met once before.
Last night all three of my grandchildren were on and two of my sister’s grandchildren were on. And three of my mom’s grandchildren were on.
My daughter tells me that her girls look forward to the Zoom meetings each week.
At first things felt a little weird because we are all spread out and some of us didn’t know the others very well.
In the beginning we often had themes and games. This really helped break the ice and gave people something to look forward to. Feel free to message me, if you want more ideas.
Here are some of the things we’ve done for Family Zoom:
- Show and Tell. Adults and kids alike had to bring something that meant something to them and tell the group about it.
- Various games that different people came up with. One favorite was “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?”
- Dress up activities. We had Tiger King, Favorite Movie Character, Halloween costumes, our favorite sports team.
- Last night we did, What Would Granny Do? We all brought questions for my amazing and wise mom.
I’ve sent some surprise packages to my grandchildren. I’ll pick up things here and there that I think they’ll enjoy and when I have enough, I’ll pack them up and mail them to them.
Everyone loves a surprise package! And because it comes from you it makes you even more unforgettable.
One of my granddaughter’s favorite packages included envelopes (6X9), stamps, markers/pens, card stock, and family addresses.
They immediately started making cards to send to me. Since then, they’ve used the supplies to make birthday cards and thank you cards for other family members.
I put a box of office supplies together. I found kid sized tape dispenser, pencil sharpener, high lighters, pens, paper, stapler, and scissors. That was super well received.
Other items were cute lip glosses, bath bombs, bracelets, and a big bag of colorful hair scrunchies that I found on Amazon..
I put a few treats in for mom and dad too so the whole family can enjoy the box.
This is good for me too! I have so much fun finding little things to brighten their day that it makes me feel great as well.
In-Person Activities to Do with Grandchildren
If you are lucky enough to be together, you can find all kinds of things to do. My grandchildren range in age from 20 to 12. These are things that don’t involve going out, so you can do them safely at your home or the grandkids home.
Creating memorable activities that could be done at home was so much fun. What I really discovered was that everything can be fun with the right attitude.
Find a movie that everyone wants to watch. I do this with my daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. We have fun finding movies that my daughter liked as a kid or new releases.
We put a picnic blanket on the floor with cushions for the kids. There is always popcorn with some candy treats sprinkled in.
As I mentioned above, it’s even more fun when you dress up to the theme of the movie but that isn’t required every time.
One activity that all three of them loved was painting. I had picked up a set of 30 acrylic paints in a set, a big pack of inexpensive brushes, and heavy duty painting paper.
Supply paper plates and cups of water for painting. A plastic table cloth is helpful too.
It was fun to see how all three girls expressed themselves. Even the baby had fun. I provided the most help to her, but she loved the experience.
All three girls had their own way of painting and creating their works of art. I love encouraging creativity.
While art is my thing, you could totally do this with simple sewing or a baking project.
We had fun doing some puzzles together. Nothing too hard. Again, it was good for all three ages. The baby doesn’t like to do baby things, so she’s always game for what the older girls want to do.
Their favorite was a United States map puzzle and they had fun learning about the states while doing the puzzle.
Making Christmas ornaments
This is next on my list! Here is a post I did that gives lots of ideas for ornaments you can make. I love making things that create memories and I love homemade Christmas ornaments!
This year, in 2020, we didn’t do our annual cookie making party. But one day I was looking at my newest cookie cutter, a Christmas sweater and decided the grandkids and I could do salt dough ornaments.
I used the same paint I had used for a painting activity, a set of 30 acrylic paints and I made the dough ahead of time. They were so much fun to do!
Whether it’s dancing inside or playing outside on the swings, my little ones love fun music.
When the weather was nice, we took the music outside and played on the swing set. I kept the two little girls going, while big sister could swing herself.
You can’t see it but we have a big speaker to play our tunes. Playing outside or dancing to music is a great way for kids to use some energy. We have a blast.
I keep a playlist of their favorite songs on my phone. We play them in the car, while playing outside, and just when we feel like getting silly with some dancing.
My grandchildren love to play video games but I don’t. So, even though they ask me, I always say no. I know, party-pooper for sure. However, some video games make me dizzy, so the girls totally understand.
If you don’t get dizzy like me, your grandchildren would probably love to have you join them.
I did enjoy virtual bowling and the entire family was able to participate in that.
I love to play board games. However, games vary depending on ages and I’ve not been able to find one that works for ages 2 to 12 that they all like!
So, I can play some games with one or two of the children depending on their abilities.
It’s worth trying to find games to play because I think games are good for kids! They learn to follow rules, compete, and practice good sportsmanship.
Unforgettable Activities to Do with Grandchildren
June 2021: Many of these are things we don’t currently do because of covid. But I am so looking forward to the day when we can resume our going out activities, especially live shows.
Once a month or so, I like to schedule an activity with a grandchild or two that is more catered to them and what they like to do.
For the most part, anything that involves one-on-one time with me is considered something special by the grandchild. They really do like to hang out with me and go anywhere I suggest.
Over the past few years, the following activities to do with grandchildren have emerged as our favorites.
I’ve also made a note on what I’m calling their TOP-RATED activities. These are activities that they literally count-down the days until we get to do them.
Go to a live theater production
I’m starting with this activity because it truly is my granddaughters’ favorite thing to do.
Instead of presents for birthdays and Christmas, my daughter, their aunt, and I purchase tickets to live productions that we later take them too.
We’ve done Broadway shows, movies at the symphony (it’s a thing here in Houston and the girls and adults all love it.) We’ve done live shows based on favorite cartoons.
Long after other presents are forgotten and who gave them what, the memory of a great show lives on forever. This is definitely a TOP-RATED activity.
Go to an amazing park to play
To a kid, most parks are amazing. Here in Houston, I’ve found a few parks that are memorable that the girls had never been too.
Most of the time, taking the grandkids to a park is a treat enough but when you find a great one it becomes an unforgettable activity to do with grandchildren.
Recently though, I added a small picnic to it to make it even more special.
My grandchildren from 1 to 11 all love going to the park and when they get to go to a special one, it’s even more fun. TOP-RATED
Take a train ride
Train rides are fun! This is a super fun thing to do with grandchildren.
The park near my house has a small train that runs throughout the park. The grandkids love that. In addition, we have a metro rail that runs through town. That’s about as adventuresome as I’ve gotten.
However, there are real trains out there and kids love that too! My sister’s grandchildren love to go on real train rides.
To tell you the truth, I still remember my first train ride as a child. Train rides are memorable!
Take them to meet an author or artist
You can find these events at bookstores, gift stores, museums, or other types of cultural centers. I did this with my oldest granddaughter and she was thrilled.
While children often read books, they don’t really have the concept that real people create the words and art!
Get a museum membership and do frequent but short visits
Going to the museum can be expensive. I purchase a dual membership every year to one museum.
With a dual membership, I can take one grandchild at a time. Because it’s a membership, I don’t feel I have to stay at the museum all day.
It makes it easy and memorable, when you can pop into a museum and just do one or two exhibits.
That way no one gets tired or overwhelmed (ME) and you don’t have to spring for expensive museum snacks.
Take them to a restaurant they wouldn’t normally go to
It’s fun to take the grandkids out to a restaurant they wouldn’t normally go to.
Heck I like that too! My grandchildren are not picky eaters and can usually find something they like anywhere.
If you usually go to diners, try taking them somewhere a little fancier. If you usually eat inside, try eating outside.
Try some different ethnic foods and introduce them to another country’s food. Go somewhere that has things for the kids to do.
Plant a small garden together
Flowers, herbs, or vegetables. Even if you don’t have room for a proper garden, you can put some plants in a pot or two.
I recommend going to the garden store and picking some things that are already growing.
While planting seeds has its benefits, it’s kind of slow for kids. Plus, nurturing seeds along is more work.
Make a little garden together and then later, enjoy it or pick something to use in a meal.
Make a scrapbook with pictures of your experiences
Be sure and take pictures of all your fun and adventures with your grandchildren. I LOVE to look through everything we’ve done together over the years.
To make it more memorable, create a scrapbook together. If you do it online, you can order copies for yourself and your grandchildren as well.
I’ve use Shutterfly and they were easy to use. Sign up for the mailing list to get the best prices!
You can also print out the pictures and paste them into a scrapbook, the old-school way.
Make crafts together
I keep a variety of things for the kids to craft with. Your collection doesn’t have to be extensive but keep the basics on hand.
I keep paper, chip board (like what goes behind pictures in a frame), scissors, markers, glue, pencils, and different things they can embellish their crafts with.
Often, we make cards or photo frames as gifts for family members.
Or they can just draw. I keep a tablecloth with the crafts so I don’t have to worry if they mark on the table. TOP-RATED
Share books from your childhood with your grandchild
In addition, I love introducing books to the grandchildren. Reading is still one of my favorite activities and I love having little readers in the family.
We visit libraries and bookstores to get books to read. I’ve even passed down some of my own books for them to read.
As well as books I read myself, I also introduce them to books my children loved reading. It’s hard to believe that Harry Potter has been around that long!
Send postcards from every place you visit
When my own children were small, their grandparents traveled a lot and sent postcards from every location. The kids still have all of these postcards 25 years later!
Now that I’m traveling more, I try to keep up this tradition. When you travel, take addresses and stamps with you to make it easier.
Teach them to do something
Teach them something you like to do. Cook, knit, crochet, play soccer, bake a cake, fish, ride a bike, make friendship bracelets. You get the idea.
Share something you enjoy and teach them to do it too!
Let them help you with something
While kids don’t always like chores, often they won’t mind a bit to help you with a project.
Children of various ages can help clean out a closet, weed a garden, dust furniture, or go grocery shopping.
Take them to a pool and you get in too
This activity has the distinction of being the grandkids favorite activity and my least favorite activity.
They have amazing memories of going to the pools at my apartments. Even though I don’t like getting in the water, for safety reasons, of course I’d get in with the little ones. TOP-RATED
Have grandchildren spend the night
Overnights are a favorite memorable activity for grandkids. This is always a TOP-RATED activity!
Here’s how to Help Grandchildren Feel at Home When They Visit.
Take them out for breakfast the next morning
I don’t make breakfast for myself at home, so I usually take them to my favorite coffee shop. I get my coffee and they get juice or milk and a muffin.
It’s a win-win.
Help grandchildren do something for their parents
On Mother’s Day, I helped the girls make a craft for their mom. It was a big hit and a surprise for their mom who didn’t know anything about it.
Kids love their parents and it’s a big deal for them to be able to do something for their parents. You could also help them cook dinner for the parents, make some cookies, or do a little cleaning if the parents are out.
Tell the grandchildren stories about their Mom or Dad
My little grandchildren love to hear stories about their mom and her siblings when they were little. They love to hear what they liked to do and times when they got into trouble.
Have a camp out
My dad used to put camp outs together for my kids and their cousins. I haven’t attempted this one yet, mostly because I forgot about it until I was writing this post.
My children and their cousins LOVED these campouts. There would always a tent set up and a campfire. The most memorable campout was the night a storm came through and everyone ended up inside.
19 Unforgettable Activities to Do with Grandchildren
Anytime you give to grandchildren is good time spent. Don’t feel like you have to do these kinds of things every week.
Most of these are special occasions. Sprinkle them in through the years and you will create amazing memories with your grandchildren.
Keep showing up my friends,
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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 50-minute coaching session.