by Kasia McDaniel
Most of us love to see our children and grandkids visit. But if you ask the young ones how kid-friendly Grandma’s house is, they may not think it’s any fun. Some may enjoy the different scenery, especially if they come from out of state. However, if you don’t see your grandkids very often, you may be in for a rude awakening.
My parents live in Arizona, so we don’t get to visit much. But when we do, we have to think of things we can bring to entertain the kids. I remember growing up and visiting “old people’s houses,” where there was nothing for us kids to do. They would make us tea and bring out some cookies, but otherwise we were bored of the adult talk. To avoid the same scenario, here are a few ideas for grandparents to have a more kid-friendly home when the grandkids come over.
1. Basket of goodies: Collect board games or card games and teach the kids how to play them. This depends on the age group you need to entertain. You can find new ones at the dollar store or used games at a thrift shop.
2. Recipes: If the grandkids are visiting for a holiday, put them in charge of making a dish. Give them the recipe and work on it together. Teach them how to make the cookies you send them or share a favorite recipe.
3. China and crystal/old dresses: Depending on the age of the grandkids, put these things away beforehand to avoid any accidental breakage. If you have some old chipped pieces, you can use them for a quick “tea party” with the younger grandkids and dress up using old costume jewelry. The older teens might just think your old clothes are vintage and would love to take them off your hands.
4. Movies: If your TV has internet access, you can choose which family movie you can watch together. Otherwise, consider borrowing a few DVDs from the local library (yes, they have them) or renting from Red Box.
5. Craft supplies: You don’t need much to have your grandkids create something they can leave behind. Construction paper, tape, crayons and markers can go a long way. For the older crowd, pick up a few adult coloring books.
6. Books: Speaking of books, the younger kids will enjoy having Grandma read to them, so have some books on hand. Take them to the library if needed and pick out some reading materials together. Some libraries also have puzzles you can rent out. Borrow one and start it. It’s amazing how quickly it will draw people to work on it.
7. Old blankets: Have the kids create a fort with blankets and pillows and then have a snack in the “fort.” Mom and Dad would never let them eat in a fort, but Grandma just might win the “Grandparent of the Year” award.
8. Outdoor work: Grandpas can get in on the action here too. If you have a larger property that needs a riding lawnmower, tractor or utility vehicle, give the grandkids a ride or let them drive it around. Even a ride on the golf cart can be fun for them. Do you have a firepit? Have them help you chop the wood or pick up sticks for the kindling. If you have horses or other animals, they can help feed them or take care of them.
In the end, all these activities will bring you closer to your family. By having a few things on hand, both the grandkids and your kids will want to come back and create more memories.
Kasia McDaniel, a Home Stager and Certified Interior Decorator at Blue Diamond Staging can be reached at 910-745-0608 or by visiting www.bluediamondstaging.com