No one can argue that children can be expensive.
If you’ve got little ones of your own or a tribe of grandchildren, you’ll know that things can add up when it comes to gifts, clothes, entertainment, and more.
However, there are things you can do that are not only fun but will help you create precious memories with your grandchildren, and won’t break the bank.
In fact, while you may not be able to afford a trip to Disneyland, there is no reason why you can’t have lots of fun, sharing moments, and connecting with your grandchildren.
1. Reading And Sharing Books
Reading is essential for your grandchildren’s long-term success in life.
If they can’t read well, then they will miss out on important education and career opportunities.
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Reading books is also a wonderful hobby that can enrich lives and provide all children with a greater understanding of the world they live in.
And best of all, reading doesn’t cost a lot of money.
You can pick up books from second-hand or thrift shops for a few dollars.
It doesn’t matter if the corners are a bit worn or if someone else’s name is on the cover.
It just means the book has been loved before.
Read to your grandchildren, and make it fun.
Readout loud and change your voice to engage them with the story.
If your grandchildren are old enough, share the reading with them: Take turns to read out passages, pages or chapters together.
2. Walking The Dog
Rather than thinking that walking the dog is a chore, why not get some help from the youngest members of your family.
Take your grandchildren along with you when it’s time for Fido’s daily walk.
It is not advisable, however, to let the child take the leash because even a small dog can pull a child off his or her feet. Rather ask your grandchildren to help you train your dog to sit at the side of the road.
Talk to them about what is happening right now on the street that your dog is taking an interest in.
Is there a neighborhood cat your dog likes to sniff?
Are there any other dogs your dog is friends with?
Does your dog like to stop for a drink at certain places?
If your dog loves to run at the park, ask your grandchildren to help you keep an eye on it.
Perhaps they could gather sticks for the dog to fetch or be in charge of tennis balls or Frisbees.
When you get home use this time to teach your grandchildren how to care for a dog.
Ask them to make sure the dog has fresh drinking water.
Does the dog’s coat need to be hung up and dried?
What about those messy paws, do they need wiping?
Often dogs like to relax after a walk, so it is important that children learn to let the dog sleep in its own bed while they can read a book or even write a story about what they learned about walking the dog.
3. Craft Activities
There are thousands of craft activities available that cost next to nothing.
Once you have some paper, glue, colored markers, and scissors, you will be set.
If you know your grandchildren are coming to visit, why not start collecting items from your local store which they can use.
Keep them in a tub and pull them out when your grandchildren need a little bit of quiet time.
While craft activities often keep children busy, they also give us a wonderful opportunity to engage and connect.
Use this time to talk to your grandchildren, and get to know them better.
Some adults are often busy trying to keep children busy or entertained.
Spending quality time with them doesn’t have to cost a lot of money and it offers you a wonderful chance to get to know your grandchildren that little bit better.
4. Baking Cookies
You don’t have to be a chef to make simple, and delicious cookies.
If you aren’t confident creating them from scratch, buy a packet, and start there.
Packets of cookie mix cost only a few dollars and can provide so much fun for your grandchildren.
Just add water and an egg.
Children as young as two years can help with simple baking.
Allow your grandchildren to be hands-on with mixing the ingredients, putting the cookie dough on the tray, and helping arrange them on a cooling tray when they come out of the oven.
Simple cooking activities are a great opportunity to teach children the importance of kitchen safety.
They can watch you carefully take put the cookies and take them out of the oven.
There are other things they can do safely with your guidance.
Now, as every cook knows washing up the dishes is also an important part of baking.
It’s also a fun way of getting those little hands clean again.
5. Explore Your Local Park
How often do children get the opportunity to explore their natural surroundings?
Taking your grandchildren to the park can be such an enriching experience, and one they certainly won’t forget.
Teach them to appreciate and respect nature by looking closely at the trees, the leaves and the gardens.
Discuss the different colors, shapes and smells.
Depending on the time of year, and your local area there will be plenty of things happening and all you need to do is stop and look.
What creatures can they see? What are the bees doing?
Who else is enjoying the park? Finding things to do with your grandchildren should be more about creating memories and connecting with them.
It shouldn’t be able to spend a lot of money.
In our very busy times, children more than ever need to spend time doing quiet things and learn to slow down.
They need to learn to appreciate activities that don’t cost a lot, but they add so much to their lives.
In truth, children don’t always recall the expensive gifts you bought them, but they do remember the times you spent together, and the fun you shared.
This article was written by Susan Day who is a passionate author, educator, and, of course, a grandmother.
She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren.
Also, her blog, Astro’s Adventures Book Club, is full of ideas and tips for grandparents who want to build a strong relationship with their grandchildren through reading and sharing books.
Susan lives in Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, three rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.