The summer holidays are in full swing and grandparents all over the country are stepping in to take over childcare duties whilst parents are at work. This is a wonderful chance to spend quality time with your grandchildren and make plenty of precious memories! However, by this point of the summer holidays, many of us are running out of things to do with the grandchildren! It can also be expensive to entertain children for 6 weeks – that’s 1008 hours! That’s why we’ve come up with ten fun and affordable things to do with your grandchildren this summer.
These activities are great for any time of year, not just summer, so you could use them for weekend visits or sleepovers too.
Outdoor Activities to do with Grandchildren
Of course, here in the UK, sunny weather is not something we can take for granted. That’s why we need to make the most of the warm weather when it comes! Here are some fun, affordable outdoor activities to do with grandchildren this summer.
1. Make a splash
If the sun’s shining, why not head down to the nearest swimming pool or splash park for a fun (and cheap!) day out? Even better yet, if you live near the coast, head down to the beach! There’s nothing better than going for a coastal walk and having some fun on the beach. Alternatively, just set up a paddling pool in the back garden. Splashing around in the water will be hours of fun, while also helping the kids to cool off. Just be sure to apply plenty of sun cream and keep everybody hydrated.
2. Go for a picnic
A picnic is a great day out for grandparents and grandchildren. Have the older children help you make the sandwiches and ask the little ones to help you put everything in the basket ready to go. Then you just need to find a nice patch of grass to lay your blanket down on and enjoy your picnic. You could head to your nearest park, pop to the beach, or even have a picnic in your own back garden.
3. Go exploring in nature
Another great activity to do with your grandchildren is to go on a nature walk. Before you set off, create a list of all the things you’d like to see (a bird’s nest, a heart-shaped stone, a purple flower etc.) and tick them off as you go along. Make it into a competition between the children and see who can complete their list first. There’s a huge variety of nature trails across the country so you won’t be far from the nearest. Check online to find out.
4. Teach them to skim stones
If you’re near the coast or another body of water, teaching your grandchildren to skim stones is a surefire way to impress. First, demonstrate how it’s done. Then help the children find the right kind of stones and show them how to throw them properly. The first time your grandchild manages it, they’ll be so proud of themselves!
5. Do a scavenger hunt
This activity can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. You could hide clues and prizes around your house and garden or take them out for a walk with a list of things to find. You could have your grandchildren look for something beginning with each letter of the alphabet (an aeroplane in the sky, a ball in the park, a conker on the ground etc.) Alternatively, write a list of colours and tell them to find one thing for each colour. This is an easy way to keep your grandchildren occupied for hours and get them out and about in the great outdoors!
Indoor Activities to do with Grandchildren
The dreaded rainy summer days. There’s only so much TV you can watch, so you’ll need to be prepared for rainy days. Don’t panic if you’re stuck in the house for a while – there are plenty of affordable things to do with grandchildren at home.
1. Have a craft day
You’ll definitely have a stash of pencils and paper somewhere that you can put to good use. Give them a theme such as nature or people and ask them to create drawings, paintings, or sculptures for their art gallery. There are also many printable colouring-in pages on the internet that would be ideal for particularly young children. Display all of their art at the end of the day and ask them to show their parents their masterpieces!
2. Head to a trampoline park
Children with bags of energy can be difficult to keep entertained for days on end, especially if it’s rainy and you’re stuck inside. For those days when they just can’t sit still, a trampoline park is a perfect way to get some of that energy out. Trampoline parks are a recent phenomenon and new locations are popping up everywhere, so there is sure to be one near you. Essentially, it’s a room full of trampolines and some venues also offer activities such as dodge ball. Most parks allow adults to get involved too, but they often have a coffee shop for a much needed (and well deserved) rest.
If they’re too young for a trampoline park: Trampoline parks may not be suitable for some children under-4 so soft play centres are ideal for younger children. These can feel a little expensive, so be sure to keep an eye out for any offers and promotions over the summer holidays e.g. two children play for the price of one.
3. Go to the library:
Instilling a love of reading in a child is one of the greatest gifts you can give. Libraries often have story corners where you can get comfy and read together – perhaps even start your own small book club! You will often find that libraries also offer ‘story time’ activities for younger children where the organisers will read entertaining stories to the group and organise activities. Many libraries allow children to sign up for their very own library cards with a parent or guardian’s permission. For a budding bookworm, this is sure to be a really special treat.
4. Check out your local museum
If your little one is into learning, then museums will normally provide interactive activities for children, particularly during the summer holidays. What are your grandchildren interested in? Got a car-obsessed grandchild? Find a local transport museum or exhibition. Are they budding scientists? Many cities have fantastic science museums. We’ve included a few of our favourites to get you started:
- Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, London
This museum will keep your kids entertained as they look at toys from history. The Museum of Childhood always puts on fascinating exhibitions and displays including a current exhibition on the Clangers and Bagpuss – great for you too! They also offer free daily drop-in activities.
- Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire,
The Roald Dahl Museum is a great option for bookworms of all ages! Roald Dahl’s books have been read across the generations, so the daily activities and events will be as interesting to you as they are to your grandchildren.
- National Space Centre, Leicester
Take your explorers to the National Space Centre to see their mouths drop in astonishment at the UK’s largest planetarium.
5. Bake some cakes
If you don’t mind a little mess, teach your grandchild(ren) to bake fairy cakes. This is wonderful activity to do with the grandchildren as it’s both fun and educational. Set out your ingredients on the worktop and ask them to pass you the flour or the butter. Show them how the scales work as you weigh out the ingredients. Have them help you stir the mixture and pop the paper cases into your cupcake tray. Then let them pick out some food colouring to dye the icing and help them decorate their creations. Finally, you can all sit down and enjoy your handiwork together. Be sure to save a few for Mum and Dad!
These are just a handful of many things you can do with your grandchildren this summer! For even more activities you can look in your local newspaper, tourist guide, and events section on your council website. And if you’re looking for even more activities, even for yourself take a read of our article on what events to attend this summer.
Note: updated 13/08/21