We know the drill … the grandkids come over to visit grandma and grandpa and we have planned some memorable, engaging activities to do with them. BUT, like a magnet, the TV, IPad, computer or phone seems to call to them and draw them in.
Now, I LOVE technology … through it I am doing things like writing this blog, looking up great ideas on Pinterest, keeping in contact with my children who live far away, and watching the new “Anne” series every Sunday night (check it out if you haven’t watched it yet).
And technology can be a good thing for children, when used wisely.
Until recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised that children under the age of 2 have NO screen time. They had strict protocols for children of all ages.
But last year, they changed their recommendations to reflect new research and new habits. The new guidelines, especially for very young children, shift the focus from WHAT is on the screen to WHO else is in the room. Click HERE to read an article from NPR about the new guidelines.
But when the grandkids come over to visit, there are so many amazing things you can do with them that don’t require technology!! These activities provide excellent chances to interact together, get them moving, and to learn new skills!
Here are 55 ideas of technology free activities you can do with your grandchildren …
- Learn how to juggle.
- Collect bugs.
- Make pasta necklaces with different shape pasta that you have painted.
- Get a book of tongue twisters from the library and see how you do.
- Lie on a blanket and find figures in the clouds.
- Write a song or poem together.
- Make a sensory bin for a young grandchild and let them explore it. Go HERE to see some great sensory bins.
- Make masks on white paper plates, glue, colored paper, material and yarn.
- Play 20 Questions in the car while driving somewhere for a treat.
- Run through the sprinkler.
- Get a book to identify birds native to your area and go bird-watching.
- Build sandcastles.
- Put up a tent in the backyard and read your favorite books together.
- Make homemade bubbles and wands. Find instructions here: HOMEMADE BUBBLES
- Play croquet in the backyard.
- Make place mats for each member of the family and teach your grandkids how to properly set a table. Then cook a meal together for your guests.
- Have a water balloon fight.
- Have a tickling contest.
- Go in the pantry and make a healthy snack.
- Create an art piece with cardboard and recycled items.
- Get an electronic item from your home that you were going to throw away anyways (an iron, old DVD player, a vacuum cleaner, a telephone) and let them take it apart with screwdrivers, pliers and hammers to see what the inside components look like.
- Flatten a big piece of cardboard and draw a road and town on it to play with toy cars.
- Go out with a camera and take photos of each other.
- Have a pillow fight.
- Build a bird feed garland and hang it and watch who comes to visit. Go HERE to see how to make them..
- Visit the library and choose books to take home.
- Go on a hike.
- Learn origami.
- Go through your family photo album together and tell them family stories about their relatives.
- Play Hangman.
- Teach them how to make paper snowflakes and decorate a window with them.
- Create a photo collage and give it as a gift for their mom or dad.
- Take a nature walk at night with flashlights.
- Teach them how to skip rocks.
- Create a memory jar.
- Put on a fashion show.
- Make paper boats and sail them down a stream.
- Build a fort with cushions and blankets. Go HERE to read my article about how to build great indoor forts.
- Design and make a family coat-of-arms.
- Build a snowman family in the yard and make up stories about their adventures.
- Make and bury a time capsule.
- Make sock puppets with old socks, buttons, yarn, and scraps.
- On large pieces of paper, draw self portraits.
- Make a bowling alley with 10 tall pop bottles filled 1/3 with sand and a basketball.
- Create a mobile.
- Bake cookies together and deliver it to the neighbors with cards you made for them.
- Help them put on a skit (complete with crazy costumes)and invite the neighbors to watch.
- Watch the sun set.
- Create an obstacle course (and maybe invite mom and dad to try it, too).
- Learn a magic trick.
- Walk a neighbor’s dog (or yours, if you have one).
- Teach your grandchildren how to play Cat’s Craddle.
- Go on a nature hunt.
- Use large cardboard boxes to create a playhouse, rocket, time machine, etc..
- Play I Spy
Have fun creating some awesome memories with these technology free activities (though there is nothing wrong with ending the day with a child-friendly movie and your favorite popcorn! Remember the part about how it is important WHO is in the room? Having a gung ho grandma in the room is always a great thing!)
What technology free activities can you add to the list? Let us know in the comments below!