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Tips for entertaining the grandchildren

27th October 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

Looking after the grandchildren is a precious treat, but keeping them occupied once they arrive can sometimes pose a real challenge, especially for those who rely on a stairlift at home. You will be pleasantly surprised though, as it is much simpler than you may think, which these helpful tips from experienced mummy bloggers prove.

However, when spending time with your younger relatives, just be sure to remember:

“You don't need toys or money to entertain your grandchildren, as simply giving them your full company and presence can be enough in itself!” – Hilary Douglas Smith, Bristol Mum

Get prepared

Our experts suggest that grandparents who think about what they’re going to do with their grandchildren before their arrival are often much more relaxed. Having extra options up your sleeve will always impress the little ones, and will hopefully keep any tantrums at bay.

“Always make sure you plan ahead. I would say that you should always have the day planned. This could be a day out or some activities ready for when they arrive. This could be drawing, painting, jigsaws, games, baking etc. Children get bored easily and always like to be on the go so to have activities planned will make it a lot easier.

“It’s also a good idea to have meal ideas planned too. If the grandchildren are at your house make sure you have some snacks ready, lunch and dinner too. Children can get hungry quickly, so why not cook something and freeze it. Then once the grandchildren come round there is something quick and easy to serve them that won’t take forever to cook.” – Rachel Neal, Blogging Mummy

“It’s always handy to have an extra selection of clothes at their house to ensure they’re never too hot or too cold as British weather can be unpredictable!” – Donna, The London Mum

Get creative

Children are artistic little souls and have wonderful imaginations, so sometimes the simplest of activities can keep them entertained for hours on end. Here are some super suggestions for things to do at home, which also make brilliant solutions for rainy days.

“Keep a box of craft items in the cupboard. It doesn't have to be expensive, maybe just some coloured card, some stickers and some washable paints - let their imaginations run wild!” – Elaine Betteridge, Entertaining Elliot

“Kids also love games and activities which utilise their imaginations. For example, den building is an activity which most children will love! All you need are a couple of blankets, clothes pegs and some chairs to build a fantabulous house/hotel/hospital for sick cuddly toys, etc.” – Hilary

“If you have access to a computer and a printer, or know someone who does, then find out who your grandchild's favourite cartoon character is. A quick Google search for that character and the words 'colouring sheets' will usually find you some free print out sheets. These are much more personal than a standard colouring book, and will hopefully keep them busy for a while if the weather keeps you all inside.” – Stephanie Couch, A Cornish Mum

Get back to basics

Many grandparents assume that young children won’t be interested in ‘old-fashioned’ games, but this couldn’t be further from the truth, as our mummy bloggers explain.

“Old school fun can be the most fun! Nowadays, most kids have tablets/laptops/smart phones but going back to basics and getting the board games out can prove a lot of fun. It encourages teamwork and is great for rainy days!” – Elaine

“Children love routine, and creating your own traditions when you spend time with your grandchildren is really special. It could be baking together, enjoying a special hot chocolate together, playing pooh sticks, whatever it is these simple pleasures will become the nostalgic moments that will stay with them forever.” – Claire Lancaster, Cheshire Mum

“Don't presume they will only want to play new modern games. Games such as tiddlywinks, marbles, and dominoes will have great novelty value for them, and you can really enjoy introducing them to games that you played with your own children, and even as a child yourself. My children love playing old games with their Great Grandad, the same games that he played with me and my sisters when we were young.” – Stephanie

“When in doubt, bake! Most people can rustle up some fairy cakes (buy a pre-made mix if you're unsure!) and the kids will love decorating them, not to mention eating them!” – Elaine

Get outdoors

If the weather permits venturing outside, then make sure to take advantage of your surroundings, with a visit to the beach or a trip to the countryside. You don’t even have to travel far if you utilise what you have on your own doorstep.

“Head to the park. Fresh air, plenty of outdoor space and playgrounds will help burn off some energy and if the grandchildren are staying over will mean they sleep well too.” – Claire

“Make sure they bring some wellies and a coat with them, even if it is wet, most children love to jump in puddles or walk on a wet beach. You can all warm up with a hot chocolate (marshmallows obligatory of course) afterwards, and this will have the added bonus of tiring them out.” - Stephanie

Get saving

While there are many attractions that charge high entrance prices, there are just as many which are free, for children at least. By researching where these are in your local area, you will save lots of money, and will still have just as much fun. There are also some great accessible attractions in the UK that you could visit.

“Trips out of the house can be a great way of entertaining the grandchildren (and will often provide tired parents with a well-earned break at the same time). There are many, many free places to visit such as parks, museums, libraries or local landmarks and places of interest.” – Hilary

“Local libraries are great places that busy and working parents often don't manage to visit. Head there to read stories, and choose a selection of books to enjoy at home. It is always worth checking out any forthcoming events as there are often author visits and children's activities to join in with.” – Claire

“A trip to pet corner and the aquatics department at the garden centre is another popular choice. Whilst my two would never help out at home in the garden they are always happy to be involved with seed sowing, planting, apple picking and leaf gathering with grandma and grandpa.” – Claire

“My biggest tip would be to take advantage of charity shops. For a few pounds my parents pick up all manner of toys for my son to play with, and they frequently update the items so he’s never bored. They also bought a second-hand cot really cheaply (I bought a brand new mattress of course), which is brilliant for when I’m visiting and he needs a nap. Or if he’s staying with them.” - Donna

Image Credit: Lars Plougmann, Donnie Ray Jones, Richard Leeming, Rob Bixby, Bruce Tuten, San Jose Library (flickr.com)