The Grandkids Are All Right

The Grandkids Are All Right

Try one of these fun activities for the next time your grandkids stay over.

I'm determined to make my home the fun place where my grandchildren use their imaginations and brains.

My grandkids are smarter than yours. They are also more talented. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they win the Nobel Prize and an Oscar before your grandchildren learn to skateboard. But why is it that whenever they come for a sleepover, they spend the entire time glued to the TV or their cellphones? Is this what they do at their other grandparents' house?

Not that I'm competitive, mind you. But I am determined to make my home the FUN place. It's not enough to stock up on frozen chicken fingers and animated cartoons. The idea is to get the kids involved in using their imaginations and brains. And, even if they don't notice, to actually learn something. Check out my list of activities below, which you are welcome to share as long as you don't tell the other grandparents.

Indoor or Outdoor Campout
Set up a tent in your backyard, start a small bonfire and create a camping trip in your backyard. Tell ghost stories around the fire or flashlight, sing songs, teach them about the stars in the night sky and make s'mores. If the weather isn't cooperating, you can camp out inside. Let the kids help you make a fort with blankets and chairs, turn the lights down and use a flashlight to make spooky faces. Remember, s'mores are just as tasty when made in the microwave!

Restaurant Dining at Home
Involve the kids in making up a name for your home "restaurant" and creating a menu with crayons or markers. When you are ready to prepare dinner, assign everyone a role: food server, hostess, assistant chef, etc. When your meal is complete, everyone helps with cleaning. Even the dog! You can incorporate stations here, too – one child can help with rinsing, another with drying, and Dawn dish soap will leave your dishes squeaky clean.


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Desserts Galore
Of course, the favorite part of any meal, especially with grandkids, is dessert. Together, you can make marshmallow cereal treats, ice cream flurries or even dessert sushi. To make their dessert extra special, set up a decoration station with their favorite toppings – colored sprinkles, whipped cream, cherries, chocolate chips – so they can decorate it themselves.

Cleanup tip: Don't worry about the post-dinner mess – Swiffer Sweeper will quickly trap and lock that dirt and dust on your floors, and Cascade Platinum Pacs will get your dirty dessert dishes looking squeaky-clean. (Kids love sweeping up!)

Movie and Game Night
Pick out a film together. Depending on your grandchildren's ages, it's likely to be about a princess or superhero. Just make sure it's age appropriate (I never got over the first time I saw "Bambi"). Put cushions on the floor, pop some popcorn and snuggle in!

If the kids can't sit still for a whole movie, let each grandchild pick their favorite board or card game and make it a game night instead. Or teach them an "old-fashioned" game from your own childhood: Monopoly, Chinese Checkers or Clue. Remember, it's never too early to introduce kids to chess or "adult" card games like canasta.

Which of these activities do your grandchildren love? Let us know in the comments below!

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