You probably love spending time with your grandchildren, but not if you hear complaints of boredom. The modern world is a hyperkinetic one, which makes it harder to keep children entertained and engaged. Still, it is possible to keep their attention when their minds are challenged and you stimulate their creativity.
Reading books is always a classic activity between grandparents and their grandchildren, but even that one is changing these days with tablets and e-readers out there. Always take the opportunity to do this when the young ones are interested, but if you need even more ideas, then the following are some indoor activities you can use to keep the winter blues at bay with your grandchildren.
Indoor Activities To Do With Your Grandchildren This Winter
1. Gather Up Under A Warm Blanket
If they’re young enough that they still enjoy snuggling up with you, take advantage of every opportunity you get. There are so many TV channels, DVDs, Blu-rays, and streaming services out now, that there’s no way you can’t find something to watch. Just enjoy the warmth and settle in for some film escapism for the afternoon or evening.
2. Go To The Movies
If staying home doesn’t feel quite right, why not head out? If they’re out of school, you might be able to catch matinee prices and enjoy comfortable seats, plenty of space, and buttered popcorn. Even better, you might be able to get tickets using both kids’ and seniors’ discounts.
3. Bust Out The Board Games
Everyone knows some of the classics, even if they don’t realize it. If your grandchildren don’t know what Scrabble is, just tell them it’s like Words With Friends. They’ll figure it out fast enough, but hopefully not before your lead is insurmountable while you use words they don’t even know yet. This is a great way to introduce them to your favorite board games.
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4. Have A Talent Show
Everyone in your home must have something they’re good at, or at least something they are passionate enough about to enjoy showing off to others. Designate a stage in the living room and have your own family talent show where everyone gets a few minutes to do their thing.
5. Explore A Hobby Collection
Kids love rummaging and digging through things. If it’s a grandfather’s tackle box or a grandmother’s jewelry box, that might get you a little worried. Rather than safeguarding such things, why not just sit down with your grandchildren and go through these collections piece by piece? You can tell them the stories behind them and let them be fascinated by the ones that intrigue them.
6. Teach An Actual Hobby
If your grandchildren really seem interested in a hobby collection, why not help them get started? Teaching it to them might just re-instill the passion and joy you once had for an activity. Adopting the role of teacher or mentor might help you appreciate a hobby of your own more time.
7. Get A Deck Of Cards Out
A single standard deck of cards can provide hours of entertainment. The variety of games possible holds two big advantages. First, you can choose from quite a few different card games. Second, you can choose games that fit the skill range of your grandchildren. They might start off with basics like blackjack and go fish, but they can move up to canasta, hearts, bridge, and even poker.
Grandchildren might love coming over because grandma knows how to cook tasty things. Grandpa probably even has a few delicious dishes up his sleeves too. When the grandkids are old enough, why not enlist their help in getting ingredients together, mixing the cookie dough, making shapes, and of course taste-testing along the way? Cook up enough, and maybe you can live off of leftovers the first few days after they’re gone.
Not a baker yourself? The folks over at Cratejoy.com offer pre-measured baking kits with step-by-step instructions. Learn more about those here.
ALSO READ: Things to Do With Teenage Grandsons
9. Have Some Fun With Science Experiments
Ok, this might sound a bit intimidating. If so, you can get pre-packaged science kits with step-by-step instructions that walk you right through the entire experiment.
But, if you are the scientific type yourself, here are a few fun and educational home science activities you can do:
Let it Snow
Children really should learn why each snowflake is unique in its own way, but what do you do if there isn’t any snow? Make your own! All you need to grow ice crystals of your own is a bit of Borax, a pencil, string, and scissors. Just because you live someplace dry or warm doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a taste of the season.
Learn how to make ink and even what makes this material permanent. Once you have it, let the grandchildren practice their artistic skills with ink blots, coffee filter prints, or thumbprint art.
Dive into a Coral Reef
Online videos let you follow the real-world adventures of deep sea divers, growing your knowledge about these underwater biomes in fun fashion. Who knows? This might just inspire ideas for an exotic cruise the next summer?
Ask your grandchildren why glue doesn’t stick to itself or the inside of a glue jar? They probably don’t know the answer. Teach them while you make homemade glue using sugar, vinegar, flour, and water. It certainly makes homemade arts and crafts a lot cheaper when you can make your own glue.
Make A Lemon Battery
Generating your own battery power is easy. You only need a penny, a dime, and a lemon to channel your inner Benjamin Franklin. Just make sure you are judicious in which grandchildren you teach this one to, as some of them can get quite devious once they know this particular science.
Make Your Very Own Fog Machine
Fog might seem mysterious to your grandchildren, but it’s really just a cloud hovering close to the ground. Look up how fog happens and what places on Earth have the most fog. Then, get some rubbing alcohol, hot water, an ice cube, and a bottle, and you can make your own fog. Before doing this, though, eager grandfathers are advised to get grandma’s permission first.
10. Explore Apps
Apps are everywhere these days, and many kids have their own gadgets and phones. Still, quite a few grandparents are into technology too, if they have the time. Get a smartphone or tablet out and start exploring apps together. The amount of free educational apps and content out there might just shock you.
11. Do Some Bird Watching
You might think at first that this is primarily an outdoor activity, but not always. If you have a big bay window looking on a stretch of nature or just even a big yard, then you can sit with your grandchildren and watch for various species of birds, identifying them and learning about them. It’s even possible to watch aviary cams online with a good Internet connection. The same can happen for aquariums that live-stream as you identify and count the fish.
12. Dinner Date
This can also be a dessert date or lunch date. You can treat your grandchildren to slices of cake and bowls of ice cream, just like your own grandparents likely once did. Besides, there’s no grandparent alive that doesn’t pass up a chance to show off their grandkid.
13. Sing Karaoke
Each generation has tunes of its own, and here you and your grandkids can learn each other’s favorites. You can go all out and visit a karoake bar, but you can also do this in the comfort of your own home. For that matter, you don’t even need a karaoke machine. There isn’t just an app for this, there are dozens of them!
14. Identify Smells
Blindfold your grandchild. Then, see just how many smells he or she can figure out. If you think about it, you probably have plenty around your home. Start with any fruits you have. Then work up to tea and coffee before hitting up the spice rack for vanilla, pepper, and cinnamon. If the game lasts long enough, you might be able to safely use hygiene product scents like toothpaste and deodorant.
15. Teach The Grandkids How To Wiggle Their Ears
Not sure how to do this yourself just yet? Put on a pair of readers or glasses, even you don’t personally wear them. Lean your head forward until your ears are bearing the weight of your glasses. Then, use your ears to pull your glasses back. This is the specific movement involved in wiggling your ears.
Summary and Final Recommendations
Winters typically mean long nights and short days with a low-hanging sun. Still, you don’t have to let the grandkids get restless while cooped up indoors. Use this variety of interesting and easy ideas to entertain them along the way. You should make a few precious memories, if not many.
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If all else fails and you just don’t have the energy to keep up with them, give them a photo scavenger hunt for a while. Kids are hard to separate from their phones these days, so give them a list of things to snap images of with their smartphones and report back to you when done.
If you want to get really devious, give them a list of physical items to bring back to you instead. That way, you might get them to pick up some laundry and even find the remote to the TV grandpa lost last night.
What activities do you suggest for entertaining your grandchildren during the winter months? Please share your ideas in the comments below!