Will you be babysitting grandchildren a lot during their Christmas break? Are you looking for ways to save money while enjoying plenty of fun activities for grandparents and grandchildren? Will great-grandma and great-grandpa be around? Here are some fun ideas to incorporate all that and more:
- Start off with some fun Advent traditions, whether new or old, including making Advent crafts like a cute calendar, gathering round the Advent Wreath, lighting the candles, having a fun Christmas Carol sing together, and reading the Christmas story.
- Play with children's nativity sets. There are several cute ones including this one and the “What God Wants for Christmas” nativity set by Family Life and we enjoy doing this several times each Christmas.
- Movie time. At Home! If your grandkids enjoy Veggie Tales, there is a brand new Christmas DVD out, Veggie Tales: Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving along with Fruitcake Christmas from Hermie and Friends by Max Lucado. You might also enjoy some fun holiday specials like the Santa Clause trilogy or Miracle on 34th Street. Make a big bowl of popcorn and snuggle up with those cute grandchildren to watch a few of your favorites together. Turning down the lights can lend a a super theater effect.
- If you haven’t already done so, this is the perfect time to make Christmas Tree Ornaments for family and friends.
- Have fun playing together with familiar old board games like Sequence or Monopoly, or give something new a try like . (For younger kids – the Gobblet Junior Board Game is great! )
- Put together puzzles. If you don’t have any new ones, check out local thrift stores for discounted ones. Goodwill offers exchanges, so if you buy one and find it missing pieces, you can return it with no problem. They are definitely one of my favorite ways to save money.
- Play cards. Either old familiar games like Crazy Eights and Hearts or learn some new card games.
- Before the kids come over, head for the library and stock up on some great books to read to them, such as Little Women, Little Men, and Jo's Boys, all by Louisa May Alcott; The Chronicles of Narnia series by CS Lewis; and The Boxcar Children mystery books set by Gertrude Chandler Warner. For the younger ones, all of the Amelia Bedelia books by Peggy Parish are often easily available and your grandkids of all ages will love them. You might check out some interesting holiday stories as well. Librarians will often gather their collection of Christmas books all together in one area to make it easy to pick and choose.
- Provide paper, pencils, and stickers and have them create their own story books. Maybe they could write a story about an adventure set in wild and wooly snowy holiday weather.
- Plan a scavenger hunt around the house, using clues you’ve prepared in advance. Have some fun surprises at the end of it. Either cute toys from the Dollar Store or yummy Christmas Sugar cookies. For that matter, combine the hunt with a fun time of having cookies ready to make with your grandchildren, either by having a Sugar Cookie recipe or refrigerator sugar cookies at the end of it.
- Speaking of those yummy and easy Christmas sugar cookies, after you've baked them, have some sugar cookie cutters, sprinkles, frosting, and decorations ready and let them have fun decorating them for Christmas. I'm already looking forward to doing that again with my grandkids this year. I'm definitely going to cut them smaller!
- Have an indoor picnic. Move the furniture around a bit, spread a blanket on the living room floor, use paper plates for easy clean up, and enjoy a peanut butter and jelly picnic without any ants. Of course, if you live in an area where the only white Christmas is on TV, it might even be warm enough to picnic outside. In which case, I’d add a Wiffle Ball and Bat to the basket for a fun time after the food.
- Weather permitting, take a walk…Anywhere! Around the yard, around the block, just enjoy walking, chit chatting, and spending some time together without the bustling noise of video games, televisions, or phones
- Again, weather permitting, go to the local park, playground, garden path, or whatever you have available for children in your area with no admission fees! In fact, your local school playground should be open during school breaks and it’s much more fun to play at school when you don’t HAVE to be there.
- If your weather is more along the lines of that white Christmas, have a snowman building contest ending in a fun and friendly snowball fight.
- You know that video game they like to play? Play it with them. I used to play Mario Brothers with my kids all the time and we loved it! Of course, they usually beat me, but that was half the fun. I don’t know if my eyes can handle these much smaller DS’ that are so popular, but I’m going to give it a try one of these days.
- Play hide and seek. It’s a classic that never goes out of fashion.
The first 11 ideas are practical for involving our senior parents as they involve easy activities for the elderly. They will enjoy the time with their great-grandkids and when they get tired out, they can rest and you can have fun with the noisier and more vigorous activities for grandparents and their grandchildren. Whatever you decide to do, treasure these moments, as you build special holiday family memories and create fun new traditions with your precious grandkids.