Looking for easy and fun things to do with the grandkids? Here are my favorite ideas. From neighborhood adventures to at-home activities, there’s a little something for everyone!
Spending time with my grandchild is one of life’s precious gifts and I know many others feel exactly the same way. We want that time to be fun, entertaining and meaningful for both ourselves and the children.
Since just before he could walk, my daughter and son-in-law have encouraged me to take my grandson on adventures. I can’t thank them enough for how it has enriched my life!
He’s seven years old now – so I have had a lot of practice. So I’m here sharing some of my favorite activities ideas that we have enjoyed – and hope you will also.
Visit the Zoo
A trip to the zoo is a surefire hit for grandkids of all ages! We were able to purchase annual passes to our regional zoo for the price of one visit. Many zoos offer similar promotions for local residents, so be sure to check with yours.
Since this is about a 20 minute drive from home, we make it once or twice per month and take our time while there. No need to rush through the whole zoo on one day.
Instead I really let my grandson lead the way and leisurely spend time within each “country” (how our zoo is organized), knowing we can see more on the next visit.
They also happen to have a kids’ splash park area, shows with animals participating, and pop up surprises each time we visit. You can even feed some of the animals!
An easy way to find what is near you is to simply search for local zoos on Google Maps.
Most bigger cities will have a couple petting zoo options within a reasonable drive. For us we have a great one that is just 10 minutes away.
It has ponies, goats, bunnies, ferrets, and more. Some animals can even be held and most can be fed. They also have a great playground area and even a train ride.
Note that if you don’t have a dedicated petting zoo near you, many local zoos will have a petting zoo area within them.
We are lucky enough to have two great aquariums within a 30 minute drive. The first is a beautiful regional aquarium. For my grandson this is one of his favorites (definitely rated second to the zoo though).
He will think about what sea creatures he is going to see, ask lots of questions in advance and then be on a mission to find the critter! Last visit was river otters. They are hilarious as they romp and play in their habitat.
The other is a county aquarium whose mission is to save and nurture back to health sea creatures in need of rehabilitation. This includes massive sea turtles, dolphins (like Winter from the Dolphin Tail movie).
We once saw the rescue of a giant sea turtle on the beach and my grandson knew exactly where they were taking him.
If you have an aquarium nearby, this is definitely a fun thing to do with grandkids!
Take a walk in the woods.
This can be a pathway at your local park or lake. We’ve done this on so many occasions and always find interesting things to investigate.
I’ll never forget when my grandson was only 2, I let him go a few steps in front of me. He came upon limbs and rocks on the pathway and turned to tell me “be careful here Minnie”. My heart still melts when I recall the memory.
You can even make up a scavenger hunt to take along, and have fun checking off the items as you find them.
Go feed the ducks.
When you are out and about, notice where you see wildlife. Now it doesn’t have to be wildlife wildlife. Kids are much easier to impress than that.
There are probably local ponds and lakes nearby that have bountiful ducks, turtles, or other creatures. The grandkids will love to observe and feed the ducks. I can still feel the excitement in my own belly when remembering the squeals of laughter.
Arts & Crafts
We don’t always want to be running around town. Arts and crafts are a great way to spend time together and to see the creativity of the kids.
Some of the craft supplies I always have on hands are: playdough, paint, colored markers , crayons, beads, popsicle sticks, colored feathers, stickers, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, any kind of shiny rhinestone type stickers, paper plates, pieces of wood, pieces of fabric, dry erase board, etc.
If that sounds like a lot of supplies, it might be easier to just pick up a basic craft kit to keep at your house for when the grandkids come over.
I go into it sometimes with a plan and most times without a plan! I lay all the arts & crafts goodies out. Cover the area with a drop cloth and away we go.
My grandson never fails to amaze me with his creations. Bracelets and necklaces for mom are some of his favorite.
We once took a piece of scrap wood, some nails (my grandson 6 at the time), and he created string art. I explained he could draw any design he wanted on the board, then hammer nails on his line drawing, then twine the string around to make artwork. It was a huge hit.
He recently found a board on his own in my art stack and proceeded to glue beautiful colored glass beads in the shape of his name. No help from me. Came out great and is on the mantle place at his home now!
Explore the Community
Local Parks & Playgrounds
I have been fortunate in life that we live close to our grandson and get to see him often. Early on, we would go to the same 2 parks frequently. Until around age 3 he asked if there were any others. This created a game for us!
Using google maps, we would search on my phone for all the nearby playgrounds and parks. He would come over asking what new park adventure we would have. Now at 7, he can tell you where all the parks are and which ones have the best playground equipment!
Visit the Library
Being part of a community would not be complete without regular visits to the local library. Since my grandson was 2, we have always made a visit to the library part of our hobbies.
When he was that young, it was hard to tell what was more fun for him – playing with the trains and other toys available there or picking out his new books. But either way, he sure had fun.
And bonus points – the library is totally free entertainment!
When my grandson was one year old, I took him to his first children’s museum. We were in Atlanta and he just recently learned how to walk. Absolutely hilarious to see this tiny little thing running around the make believe kitchen, pizza shop, grocery store (pushing a mini grocery cart), painting on glass, oh and so much more.
Fast forward to 3 years old and we visited the Tampa Children’s Museum several times where they have replicas of area hot spots like the skyway bridge with flowing water and boats for the children to play with in the water. There are also climbing structures, science experiments, art projects, and more.
Kid Entertainment Centers
By the time my grandson was about 4, he somehow knew about the arcade places, ride places, jumping places, and more. So our adventures continued.
At Home Activities
My grandson loves to play volleyball, but of course there’s no volleyball court nearby. So we make our own – inside the garage!
We simply prop us a leftover PVC pipe (in our case, we prop one side on the lawn mover and one side on the vacuum cleaner). And ta dah – a volleyball net!
Just add a beach ball and you have a quick, easy and safe way to play volleyball in the garage. The overhead door opens for ventilation when the weather is warm! This is a big hit and has been for years – and is getting more and more competitive.
Build a Fort
If you have a budding engineer on your hands, there’s nothing more fun than building a homemade fort! We have made forts from blankets, furniture, buckets, boxes – just to name a few.
When family saw how much he loved this, he had gifts of actual fort making kits. Crazy how many ideas he has, and different ways he can imagine to put the same things together.
I’ve found it best to let the kids be the architect, they love their finished product more when they’ve thought it out themselves! I also found this awesome camouflage net to use for roofing- it allows in air and light.
Bean Bag Toss
We have a very inexpensive game of bean bag toss and my grandson loves this game. He is 7 now and we’ve been playing it for at least 3 years!
YES – but probably not the games you are thinking. Instead of the usual kid games like Go Fish and Slap Jack, we like to play games like Phase 10 and Uno are our favorites. It helps to have an inexpensive cardholder for the kids.
My grandson also loves science. To learn more visit his website.