Keeping the grandkids happy and occupied can sometimes tax the most creative mind. Here are a number of activities you might like to think about. They're easy to do and cheap to fund and should keep them happy for hours. If you have any ideas we can pass on to other grandparents use our CONTACT US form to share it with us and we'll share it with our readers.
An easier project than you might think. Take a shoebox and cut a hole in the center of the lid. Now cut a hole on one side of the box. In that hole, put a paper towel roll (minus the paper towels, of course) and tape it in place. This makes it look like the long end of a guitar. Take four or five rubber bands of various widths and lengths, and stretch them lengthwise over the lid, as shown. There's Youtube video you can watch here.
ten pin bowling
Need: One round, heavy ball, such as a basketball or a soccer ball, and ten empty plastic bottles. Fill each bottle about one quarter-full with sand or water, making them just heavy enough to stand up but just light enough to be knocked down by the ball. Make sure you cap the bottles tightly. Find an area for your alley, such as a driveway or a flat, grassy area, or even a long, furniture-free hallway in the house. Set the bottles up in the traditional bowling pin grid: Place one pin up front, two behind that, three behind those, and four in the back. Now see how many you can knock over with your ball. You could even create some simple 10-pin score sheets so the kids can pretend they're at a real-life bowling alley.
MAKE A pasta necklace
For this one, cut a piece of string or yarn 20-30cms long for each child. Go to the pantry and get some pasta noodles of different shape, whatever you have on hand. Over newspaper, have the children use nontoxic paint or markers to color the pasta pieces. When dry, put enough pieces of pasta onto the string top make a necklace. Tie the ends together in a double knot and you have your new fashion statement.
MAKE A terrarium
A terrarium is a sort of living landscape inside an enclosed plastic container or jar. To start, add a layer of pebbles or charcoal at the bottom of the container for drainage. Cover that with two inches of topsoil. Add a few rocks, some twigs or branches, moss, and small plants. Moisten the terrarium with water, but don’t overdo it. Cover the opening with a sheet of plastic wrap or the jar lid.
publish A family newspaper
Call it the Smith Daily News, or the Jones Times. Most word-processing software comes with newsletter templates. You just provide the news, such as sports accomplishments, school achievements or family happenings. Let the kids write it all up and then print it out to hand around the family.
SCARY OR FUNNY MASKs
take an alphabet walk
We all know that walking is good for your physical health. Why not make it a terrific activity for your grandchildren's academic health? Have them practice the alphabet and identify with their surroundings at the same time. The Alphabet Walk can be played two ways. Pick a letter of the alphabet and try to find as many things on your walk that begin with that letter (bird, bush, bakery, etc.) Or, use the entire alphabet and try to find something during your walk that begins with every letter (apple, boy, car, dog, etc.)
MAKE PERSONALISED PLACE MATS
Cut a manila folder in half to make two rectangles. Now find appealing pictures in magazines or old picture books and cut them out together with letters to make the child's name. Arrange them on the folder half and when everyone's happy with the design glue them down with a glue stick. Let the mats dry, then take them to any copy shop to have them inexpensively laminated. Voila! Personalized place mats.
MAKE A BIRD FEEDER
You'll need a clean two-litre soft-drink bottle and two wooden spoons. Use a knife or small scissors to cut a 2-3cm hole just above the flutes in the bottom of the bottle. Cut another hole on the opposite side of the bottle on the same level, just larger enough to push the handle of the wooden spoon through. Now gently push one wooden spoon handle through the wide hole and then through the small hole on the other side of the bottle. Push the spoon as far as it will go until the bowl of the spoon is hard against the bottle. Turn the bottle a third of the way round and repeat the exercise several centimetres above the other spoon Fill the bottle with birdseed. Poke a hole through the bottle cap and thread a piece of sturdy twine with a knot at the end through it then screw the cap on the bottle. Tie the twine to a well place branch and watch as the birds discover their new outdoor cafe. The birds will learn to stand on the bowl of the spoon and as they eat, the seed will continue to run through the hole in the bottle. If you notice the hole clog up, just ease some more seed out onto the spoon. Try filling the bottle with seed that will attract native birds like rosellas and lorikeets and you'll have hours of enjoyment as these colourful beauties feed.