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Come rain or shine, in the car or at home, make sure you're never stuck for something to keep your grandchildren entertained with these suggestions from gransnetters. Only got your imagination handy? Not a problem. Willing to make a mess and have a great time in the process? We've got the activity for you. Read on for some fun ways to entertain the kids no matter their age.
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Looking for fun things to do with your grandchildren? Look no further...from inexpensive indoor activities to outdoor adventures, there's something for everyone. If you've found yourself in charge of childcare this school holiday, here are seven things to do with kids that will keep them entertained for hours.
"My grandchildren love science experiments; the messier the better! I always have a stock of white vinegar and bicarb. Also, try Googling 'balloon powered car and rocket'. There are lots of examples which have been simply made from household items."
If you have a budding scientist in your care, have fun with some exciting experiments. Not only are they great indoor activities for kids, but they are also educational and encourage an interest in a core subject. You can find some great kits online, such as this Horrible Science Explosive Elements one from Amazon. Who said learning took a break in the school holidays?
"My young GD sowed some poached egg plant seeds and was very pleased with them. They come up very quickly, flower for weeks and weeks and thrive in even the poorest soil. A packet of seeds costs about £1."
If you're an avid gardener, why not share your love of all things green with your grandchildren. They'll love getting their hands dirty and enjoy seeing the results of their hard work grow into something you can all enjoy. You don't need a lot of space either. If you don't have a garden, you could plant a runner bean climber in a large plant pot or grow some strawberries or herbs in a window box. You can even get them to paint or decorate their own window box before they get started.
"My grandchildren like bug hunting. I found young children do better with a largish white tub, like a margarine or ice cream tub. We hold this under a bush or some other type of plant, shake it and see what falls in. They find it easier to look at the bug against a white background. We do have a magnifying glass, but young children can find them tricky to use so it isn't really essential. It's a good way to encourage them to be observant."
There are so many great outdoor activities for kids to keep them entertained. Take your grandchildren into the big outdoors and go on a bug hunt. There's bound to be lots of creepy crawlies in the garden, and if you're lacking on the garden front, you can take them to a park near you. Just remember to release the bugs back into their habitat afterwards!
"Another one we did was to draw a hotel with pencils and paper, i.e. a big oblong with lots of rooms, and label them with fantasy uses like 'pink ice cream café'. They got amazingly creative, designing furniture etc. and came up with names for their hotels. They still talk about what fun that was."
Holiday activities don't get more creative than putting pencil or felt tip to paper and encouraging your grandchild to create a masterpiece. If you're searching for free things to do with kids, this is a great option. Just give them a fun, loose theme to stick to and they'll be drawing for hours. You might even get a new picture to stick on your fridge from it!
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"I got some chalk for my two-year-old granddaughter (about £1 in Tesco). We've now got lovely pictures on the patio, on the walls, on the wooden fence. Every time I look out, I smile! Also, if I give her a small bucket of water and a new cheap paintbrush, she paints the fence for ages."
Chalk art is another cheap and easy way to put a smile on your grandkids' faces. Watch and encourage as they let their imagination run free, and see the wonderful creations that they produce. And if you're concerned about permanently having a dragon on the patio whenever you look out of the window, make sure you buy chalk that can easily be washed away with water.
"In the car with my grandchildren, I used to instigate a game of the alphabetical cat. The first person says 'my cat is an a... cat'. And it goes round and round ad infinitum. X and Z are the usual problems but it's a great game for extending their vocabulary."
You've already piqued their interest in science, so why not have some fun with English too? Word games are an excellent way to get your grandchildren's minds working to think outside the box. The best part? You can play them anywhere - they're particularly useful when on a long car journey to keep their minds off that dreaded question, "Are we there yet?"
"I painted an old wooden jewellery box and showed my granddaughter how to decoupage a pattern on the top using paper napkins. It's easy to do and a great rainy day activity."
Whether you're making jewellery boxes or preserving memories in a scrapbook, getting crafty is a great way to spend quality time with your grandchildren and do something that you both enjoy. When it comes to craft ideas for kids, there are so many possibilites, from making art with dried pasta to using felt to create finger puppets, so it should be a doddle to find something that keeps them entertained.
"Our three-year-old grandaughters' favourites at the moment are The Tiger who came to tea, Freddie and the Fairy by Julia Donaldson and You Choose by Pippa Goodhard, which is a great book for encouraging lots of talking and discussion."
Another great activity to inspire your grandchildren is reading with them. Not only is it educational for them, but it will provide valuable bonding time. BookTrust, the UK's largest children's reading charity, has plenty of tips on how to read as a family to get you started.