These days, modern day living has a much bigger call for grandparents to take an active role in caring for their grandchildren. In fact, there has been a 49% increase in Britain’s “Grandparent Army” since 2009, with 9.1 grandmothers and grandfathers taking an active role in their grandchildren’s childcare.
Whilst this might seem like a surprisingly high number, there is plenty of research to say that this is a very positive move for all individuals involved – research from Oxford University found that “a high level of grandparental involvement increases the wellbeing of children. A study of more than 1,500 children showed that those with a high level of grandparental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioural problems.”
The positive effects aren’t only limited to the younger generation, another study suggested that grandparents who baby sit “tend to live longer” than those who do not care for other people.
With this in mind, knowing that it is good for general health and wellbeing, we thought it might be helpful to compile a list of fun things to do with your grandkids.
Whilst the UK might be somewhat unpredictable in its weather, there are some absolutely beautiful days that we can enjoy a bit of sunshine and fresh air. These are perfect for trying out some of the following:
Walking has an umpteen number of health benefits, and it is also a fantastic way to connect with your grandchildren. No matter the age of the child – whether being pushed along in a buggy, or running up and down ahead of you, going for a walk is a fantastic way of getting exercise whilst also learning about the great outdoors!
To spice it up a little you could incorporate a scavenger hunt into the experience – make a list before you go out of things to look out for, and take a little basket to collect natural treasures (a pinecone “dinosaur egg” or an colourful Autumn “fairy dress” leaf) along the way.
For a link to some fun, family friendly walks in the UK’s national parks, click here.
There is a whole new world that can whizz by you in an exhilarating and refreshing way when you get on your bike and explore. Most children will be able to keep up (and maybe even overtake!) on their own pushbikes or scooters – and they’ll absolutely love making memories this way.
Of course the risk is always whether cars will complicate matters, so for a list of safe, off road bike tracks, click here.
Many local councils and parental groups have worked hard and invested heavily in some truly spectacular play parks. Those local to you might be a lovely place to visit, but why not go a bit further afield and try new ones occasionally. You’ll not regret it, and might even find a favourite new spot.
For a list of free play parks in the UK, click here.
Is there anything a child loves more than eating outside? They can feel like they’re on a real adventure when they’re sat with their grandparent with some jam sandwiches (you’re not their parent – you don’t need to give them tomatoes!) and plenty of treats! Whether it’s at the beach (watch out for extra sand in your sandwich!), a flowery meadow, or in a forest, there’s just something a bit more special about eating al fresco!
The National Trust has some absolutely wonderful places on offer for an avid picnicker, for their favourite spots, click here.
Sadly, the British weather isn’t always on our side, and we may find ourselves stuck looking for things to do under cover. But don’t despair, this doesn’t need to mean TV and computer time:
Don’t just assume museums are for adults with dusty relics that children can’t touch! In actual fact, museums are as popular now as they have ever been, and one reason for this is because of how interactive they are for the children. Many of them cost absolutely nothing and provide a great deal of education and fun!
For a list of some of the best free museums, click here.
How about you read stories to your grandchild and encourage a love of escaping reality into Willy Wonka’s Factory, a trip on the Hogwarts Express, or sailing away on a boat with the Famous Five.
This is also a wonderful way of staying connected with grandchildren when geographical distance separates you. Today’s technology means that a simple skype call could still have you reading a bedtime story and keeping that special bond alive and well.
For a list of the top 100 books for reading aloud, click here.
If you do feel you need to have a little help from the screen, why not opt for the big screen! A great outing for the little ones at is a trip to the cinema! Animated and family favourites out can be viewed at your local cinema for as little as £2.50 at a “Kid’s Club Special”! This offer is available every weekend, and often every weekday morning during the holidays, at participating cinemas and will give the kids a fantastic form of escapism for a couple of hours.
For a list of the best cinema deals, click here.
Whatever activity you decide to try out with your grandchildren, we hope you have fun making memories together – they are truly the most precious moments.