Summer is in full swing here here in Michigan, and aside from the warm days and clear skies, summer means that the kids are out of school. Whether they’re around the corner or coming for a special visit, spending quality time with your grandkids is a great way to enjoy the season, and there are so many options for fun activities that everyone can enjoy. Having an itinerary for good weather and bad is essential for any grandparent, but which activities should be added to the list of must do's? Here are 6 ideas for summer fun with the grandkids!
1. Rock Painting
Rock painting is a fun activity perfect for all ages. It's also inexpensive, as most of us can find buckets of rocks in our backyard. Art projects are fun for everyone, but there’s more value in getting creative than just enjoyment: kids get to be expressive and work on problem-solving skills, and everyone gets a lasting keepsake from the visit.
There’s no right or wrong way to do rock painting. Just find any rocks, large or small, then wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand on the surface. Acrylic paints are easy to find, washable, and dry quickly--just be sure to seal it with a spray sealant to make sure that your craft stays vibrant.
We all know how Michigan weather can be. One minute it's a bright sunny day, and the next it's a gloomy downpour. Baking is the perfect activity to make the most of less-than-perfect weather.
The family recipes will forever hold a place in your grandkids hearts, and passing along recipes is a meaningful way to make memories. But you can also consider mixing it up a bit with a more unconventional recipe. For example, kids love the creativity and silliness involved in making kitchen sink cookies. They consist of whatever you have lying around: nuts, candies, spices--the options are limitless. This is a great way to get your grandkids engaged and thinking creatively. You might end up with peanut butter and mint cookies with Cheerios on top, but you'll have a blast bonding with your grandkids. Just remember, it's best to make small batches.
Everyone loves a good picnic. Getting away and eating a meal outside is a break in most people’s usual day-to-day, and they’re so easy to organize. Try picking a spot that’s near a nature walk or in a park. After you are done eating you can play and explore until your heart's content.
4. Visiting an Animal Shelter
Visiting an animal shelter is another excellent rainy day activity. Many shelters have rooms for kids, under supervision, to interact and play with cats or dogs. Some shelters will even let you walk the animals. This serves a dual purpose: animals are socialized and more likely to make good pets, and your grandkids will have a blast interacting with them. Visiting animal shelters is also a valuable educational experience. It's a way to build empathy towards animals, and inspire kids to give back to their communities.
5. Science Experiments
Doing science experiments with your grandkids is educational and fun. It’s important to always keep children engaged with learning, even over the summer, and easy science projects are a great way to get them interested. There is nothing more memorable than watching their faces as they light up with wonder and amazement from a toilet paper rocket blasting off.
There are many science kits you can buy online or at the store, but you don’t have to spend a lot to create exciting projects. There are countless DIY experiments you find online. For example, try putting an egg in vinegar and watch as it dissolves the shell. Learn more about how plants grow by putting celery stalks in colored water. Or, you can always do the classic Mentos in diet soda trick to make an explosion--just put safety first, and be ready for some sticky clean-up!
6. Making Jam
Michigan is full of amazing orchards and farms with a 'pick your own' option available. The summer offers a variety of fruit to choose from. The most popular ones include strawberries, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and raspberries. Native Michigan fruits are a delicious treat when eaten fresh, but you can make them into another fun, educational activity by creating jams and preserves. Everything tastes better homemade, and jams are no exception. They’ll get to see the process from start to finish and bring home a sample of their work.
In the summer months, explore different ways you to connect with your grandkids. Michigan has an endless supply of grandchild-friendly activities, meaning long summer days filled with endless smiles and continuous laughter. These are the precious memories that last a lifetime.