There’s plenty of buzz around our house; the grandparents are coming for the weekend. We are fortunate that my parents are only a few hours away. Yet it’s far enough that we only see them a handful of times each year, so when they visit, it feels like a holiday. To make those times extra special, it’s fun to plan an outing. Of course, you can go swimming at the hotel (if they insist on getting a room) or catch a movie. But if you’re looking for an idea that’s out of the ordinary, here are a few—courtesy of Adventure Publications’ Grandparents with Style series of guidebooks.
Visit a State Park
Opportunities abound at state parks: hiking, swimming, camping, and more. Plan a scavenger hunt, and let the grandparents and grandchildren work together to find everything on the list. Bring an identification guide—like birds, trees, or rocks & minerals—and try to identify what you see. Roast marshmallows and tell stories around a campfire. The bonding options that a state park provide are endless.
Ride a Train
There’s something awe-inspiring about a train ride. Maybe it’s the sound of the wheels or the steady rocking of the cars, but it appeals to all ages. Many places offer unique excursions that the grandparents and grandchildren will enjoy, including sight-seeing tours, dinner trips, and holiday-themed rides. If this option isn’t available near you, perhaps there are boat cruises with similar offerings. A limousine ride is also an excellent alternative.
Walk through a Cemetery
It might sound odd, but a walk through a cemetery is both interesting and memorable. It’s fascinating to study the different headstones, look for familiar last names (or specific relatives and friends who have passed away), and determine the ages at which people died. This will lead to plenty of questions and great discussions about the grandparents, their past experiences, and a healthy talk about mortality.
This is an ideal activity for grandparents and grandchildren to share. It is quiet, peaceful, and provides time to converse. Find a secluded spot, sit down near a stream, and drop a line into the water. A picnic lunch would be great too. Just remember to give the kids time to run around and play, or that special afternoon might become “boring.”
Check Out a Book at the Library
As impactful as it is simple, a trip to a library with the grandparents emphasizes the importance of books and the power of reading. Your parents and your children can browse together, discuss the many options, and choose the one (or several) with the most appeal. Then check out those books, bring them home, and spend some time reading together. It’s truly magical.
If you have your own ideas, be sure to use them when Grandpa and Grandma next visit. If you’re looking for more suggestions, the Grandparents with Style books are full of information.