10 creative ways to keep the grandkids entertained this summer

Grandchild playing in pool.
Photo by Michael Pettigrew/Shutterstock

If your kids have young kids, chances are they’ll be visiting at some point this summer. It might not be your job to keep them entertained every minute of the day, but there’s no better time to connect with your grandkids than when their parents are away. So set up a craft station, pack up the car, or pull out some pots and pans—whether the kids are four or 14, there’s something on this list to keep everyone happy.

Teach them a new skill

A toddler watering plants.

Photo by Nadezhda1906/Shutterstock

There are likely lots of useful skills you can pass on to your grandkids. Whether it’s knitting, cooking, gardening, or even your favourite sport, they’ll love going home to show their parents what they learned while away.

Take a class together

A pottery with kids.

Photo by Veronick/Shutterstock

If you don’t want to be the teacher, consider taking a class and learning something together. These days everyone’s searching for ways to disconnect from their devices and get their hands dirty, and creatives have taken note—finding a class that will teach you how to snap stunning photos or shape beautiful pottery has never been easier.

Get on the water

Boats on a beach on the lake.

Photo by nikolpetr/Shutterstock

There’s no better way to spend a sunny summer’s day than on the water. If you don’t have a boat, rent one! It’s surprisingly easy, and if you don’t have your Pleasure Craft Operator’s card, you can always stick to canoes and kayaks. Take the kids to a nearby island or park, pull your boats ashore, and enjoy a lakeside picnic before heading back.

Get creative

Felting tools and other wooden objects for DIY projects.

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If you’re not sure what to do with them, hop on Pinterest. It won’t take long before you’re bombarded with craft project ideas, from collaging to DIY jewellery. If you have some old Mason jars lying around, craft bloggers have come up with more ways to repurpose the canning staple than you can count.

Pick some fresh fruit (then make dessert with it)

Blueberries and blueberry pie with tea.

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Whether they’re visiting as soon as school lets out or later in August, some type of fruit will be in season. Strawberries ripen in June, while blueberries are in their prime from mid-July through August. Spend the afternoon filling baskets full of ripe and juicy berries—just don’t forget to enjoy them once you’re home. Make strawberry shortcake, a mixed berry cobbler, raspberry tarts, or just toss a handful of blueberries into a bowl of ice cream.

Set up a sale

A young girl having a yard sale.

Photo by Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

This is perfect for little ones—it keeps them busy, teaches them valuable skills like handling money, and frees you up from buying all the treats later on. It could be anything, really, but if you’re going berry picking, consider spending a few extra hours out there and selling the extra quarts you pick. You could also set up a table and sell the crafts you make, or stick to a simple lemonade stand.

Build a summer project together

Young girl in hard hat construction theme.

Photo by Syda Productions/Shutterstock

Planning to build a shelving unit for the cottage bathroom? Or maybe you were thinking of putting together a set of Muskoka chairs? No matter what project you had in mind, you don’t have to put it aside just because the grandkids are visiting. Instead, get them to help! What “help” entails will depend on their age, of course, but it could be anything from holding things in place to staining the final result.

Go camping

A boy roasting a marshmallow over a campfire.

Photo by Versta/Shutterstock

If you’re outdoorsy, why not take the kids on a camping trip? Exposing them to nature at a young age is the only way to ensure they’ll appreciate it in years to come, and if all goes well, it could become a yearly tradition. You can teach them outdoor skills, like how to set up a tent, start a fire, and boil water, or help them identify constellations as you stargaze.

Set up a scavenger hunt

Portable compass.

Photo by Bjoern Wylezich/Shutterstock

If you don’t have a big house or much of a backyard, head to the local park and set up your very own scavenger hunt. Instead of hiding items or taking them, since this could be a no-no in a public place, have the kids take pictures with their cameras of the items you’ve included on the list, whether it’s a specific plant, a certain sign, or even a small animal or bird. To keep them motivated, promise a small prize for whoever finishes first.

Hit a museum

A kid in a museum.

Photo by Makistock/Shutterstock

If the weather is less than ideal, you don’t have to spend the entire day watching movies (though that’s always a good option, too). Take the kids to a renowned museum like the ROM, and you’ll be surprised by how much you learn alongside them. Canada is also home to a ton of child-specific museums, like KidSpark at the Ontario Science Centre and the Children’s Discovery Museum in Saskatchewan, which are both great options if the kids are a little younger.

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