By Lisa Brown, Crosswalk.com
Spending time together is one of the best gifts you can your grandchildren. Kids enjoy taking a break from their parents and going places with you.
Places are just places; it’s the experience that you share that makes memories. The goal of this post is not so much about the best places to take children; it’s about experiencing an outing together and connecting.
Connecting with your grandchildren is more important than taking them to the best entertainment place in the area. Pick something you enjoy doing too.
It was part of my grandpa’s life to take daily walks. I discovered that I like to take walks too and today whenever I take my kids to a park lake, we feed the ducks and I talk about my grandpa!
I hope you enjoy the following outings and discover one or two that you can do with your grandchildren.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/monkeybusinessimages
Outing 1. National Parks
Amazing national parks around the country include Yellowstone, Glacier National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains, the Everglades, the Grand Canyon, and the list goes on and on. Perhaps you have national wildlife parks where you live.
In these parks, you can go on nature hikes, participate in ranger information meetings, or go fishing (if that is allowed in the park).
Most national parks have Little Ranger training activities where kids can receive certificates and badges as they learn information. Rangers will hand out a book for kids to read and use to explore. Oftentimes they send the kids on a scavenger hunt to locate certain plants, birds, animals, and tracks.
Photo courtesy: Unsplash.com
Outing 2. Library
Libraries are fun and educational. Most libraries have a children’s sections where kids can do activities, like puzzles, games, art, or puppets. Books are at eye level so they can pick stories out by themselves. You can even read to them some of the books that you read to their parents or that you enjoyed as a kid!
It’s always neat for kids when their grandparents teach them something new. Consider a history lesson or science and nature lesson. You could pick a topic that you are both interested in, like reptiles, an animal, or time in history and pick out books on these topics to read together.
Outing 3. Visit a Farm
Seasonal activities take place on farms throughout the year. For example, there are summer night campfires with marshmallows, hay rides through the fields, pumpkin patches, and berry picking, and animals to pet. Some farms have old equipment for kids to play on and pretend. You just have to bring the camera and take pictures for show and tell.
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash.com/Susan Yin
Outing 4. Fly a Kite and Blow Bubbles at the Park
On a windy day, you can take the kids to a park and let the wind blow through your hair as you fly kites high and blow bubbles into the sky. Take along some CDs to play music and a picnic lunch.
If you are close to a nice beach by a lake or the ocean, bring some towels and get your feet wet! It’s always fun to run after bubbles in the sand. You can get large containers of bubbles at the kids’ section in most grocery stores or toy stores.
Outing 5. Hot Air Balloon Shows
Flying in a hot air balloon may not be for everyone, but there is more to these shows than taking a ride. Once or twice a year, depending on where you live, you can take in a morning ascend or a glow in the dark flight at night. Both of these are amazing things to watch.
Listen to the hot torches making loud puffing noises. It’s really a spectacular show because each balloon is crafted beautifully.
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash.com/Maxime Bhm
Outing 6. Go to the Mountains on a Snowy Day
The awesome feeling of fresh cool air and a thermos of hot chocolate is definitely a winner for grandkids. You can do so many fun things in the snow! The drive through the white mountains on a sunny day is like taking an adventure in a winter wonderland. It’s so magical.
Sledding is fun or try snowshoeing. You can search for a safe and public frozen pond for ice-skating or ice-fishing. Or you could take a walk through the snow and follow tracks of animals.
Kids of all ages enjoy making snowmen, snowballs, or snow forts. Or you could make two snow walls and have a snowball fight. Act like a kid and have some fun.
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash.com/Cooper Le
Outing 7. Fun at the Beach in the Sun
Sunny days and fun times go hand in hand. You can be silly with kids and they will love it! Pack some goodies, refreshing drinks, and a couple of large blankets for sitting on. And of course, don’t forget the sunscreen.
Build sandcastles together and make rivers in the sand. Bury each other under the sand and only leave your face to be seen. Dip your feet in the water and splash. Maybe do some snorkeling too.
Make time to connect and take a walk on the beach for a deeper conversation. Take time to collect shells, rocks, or other treasures. Find some rocks to throw in the water and try making rocks skip on the surface.
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash.com/David Straight
Outing 8. Go to the Rodeo
Gather up the cowboy hats, put on some cowboy boots, and make a day of it with the grandkids. Get the kids in their bandanas, blue jeans, and jean jackets. Bring along some water and cash for delicious turkey legs.
Rodeos are great entertainment for all. Kids love the bunking broncos. Take some time to meet the cowboys and cowgirls. Younger kids like to see where the animals sleep. Enjoy the family live music entertainment at night and maybe take in some square dancing too.
Outing 9. Go to the Zoo
The zoo is always a good idea. It never gets boring or old because there is always something new to see and learn. Zoos are always full of surprises and animals are up to something all the time.
Zoos can bring grownups and children together. It’s a great place for conversation and observing. Some zoos have train rides, a carousel, educational classes, feeding time, or shows with the animals. Check your local zoo out to see what’s in store.
Photo courtesy: Joseph Keil
Outing 10. Go to a Bakery
I would advise having a healthy meal at home and then going out for a delicious treat. Kids love sharing special time with grandparents and eating something yummy together.
Bring along some photos and treasures to share, take some selfies, and ask your grandchild about their life. Listen to them when they talk to you and affirm them. Tell them stories about their parents when the were kids. Tell them stories about you. Share some Bible time with them and pray together.
Kids desperately need their grandparents. They need support, affirmation, connection, and love. Kids need to feel heard and treated with affection. You are the best grandparent for the grandchildren God gave you. Make time for them today.
Lisa Brown is an aspiring writer and owner of The Family Roadmap Blog and a Parent Coach at the National Center Of Biblical Parenting. She has a 10-year-old son, an 8-year-old daughter, and has been married to her husband for 12 years. Prior to marriage, she worked over 20 years enriching the lives of hundreds of children and families. Lisa has a Bachelors in Social Work and Early Childhood Education. To meet with Lisa about a parent concern or if you would like for Lisa to write an article or blog post, you can contact Lisa here.
Photo courtesy: ©Unsplash.com/Greta Punch