A fundamental truth about living in a retirement community is that you have more time to do as you please. You no longer have to devote afternoons, days or weekends to maintaining and repairing your house.
If you have grandchildren, senior living frees up more of your time to share with them. Don’t worry if you find yourself asking, “How can I entertain my grandkids?” We have some ideas for you!
Ways to Have Fun With Your Grandchildren at Home
Whether you’re babysitting your grandkids for a few hours or they’re spending several days with you, there are countless ways to entertain — and be entertained by — them. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity, with no additional toys, games or supplies needed.
Read to (or with) them. There may be no better way to inspire a child’s love of learning than reading to them while they’re young. Reading encourages them to use their imagination and helps to develop a sense of curiosity. You can read their favorite books to them or introduce them to books you enjoyed when you were their age. If they know how to read, you can take turns and let them read to you.
Share stories. This is another great way to nurture your grandchildren’s imagination. You can make up stories together, or tell them stories about the past and encourage them to ask questions. Instead of lapsing into a conversation about “the good old days,” try telling them about things their parent did as a child or go even further back and tell them about how things were during your childhood — or even your parents’ childhood.
Bring out the photo albums and home movies. If you have pictures, slides and home movies from decades ago, your grandchildren will most likely love seeing what their parents, and you, looked like “back then.” They may even learn about relatives they didn’t know they had.
Make a family tree. Depending on how creative you want to get, this can be a relatively elaborate project using construction paper (or the computer) to make an actual tree with branches for different family members. Or, you can keep it simple and draw something that looks more like an organizational chart. This may come in handy if your grandchild needs to create a family tree as a school project.
Bake or cook something together. Are there family recipes that have been handed down through the generations? If so, then let your grandchildren know about the origins of these dishes or desserts within the family context, and teach them how to make these special foods. If not, then together you can choose some recipes for your grandchildren to pass along to future generations. Or you can just have fun making cookies or whatever together. It’s the shared time that matters most.
Play games. Your grandchildren may love playing games on the computer, but how often do they play (non-video) games that involve interacting with other people? Playing board games, card games and “parlor” games like charades can teach kids social skills while they’re having fun. For younger grandchildren, you can be inventive with the games you choose — like using a flashlight to make shadow figures with your hands. Puzzles are another option for kids of all ages.
Plant something. If you have a yard with space for flowerbeds or a vegetable garden, go outside with your grandchildren and dig in the dirt together. Don’t have a yard? Plant a container garden on your patio or plant some seeds in a pot or two. Your grandkids will develop a deeper appreciation of nature as they look forward to seeing how much the plants have grown from one visit to the next.
Paint, draw or teach them a skill. If you have a favorite hobby or pastime, consider whether your grandchildren might like it, too. For instance, if you sew, knit, crochet or embroider, maybe your grandchild would like to learn more about the “needle arts.” If your grandchild is old enough to use power tools, you could teach them the craft of woodworking. Painting, drawing and sketching are activities that kids of all ages can enjoy, so those are other types of projects you could work together.
Other Things to Do With Your Grandkids
Fortunately, the Woodland Hills area offers an abundance of family-oriented activities, both indoors and out. (And, of course, the Southern California climate makes spending time outside enjoyable all year.)
Here are a few suggestions for those times when you’re wondering, “What can I do with my granddaughter?” or “What can I do with my grandson?”
Connect with nature. Most children love being outside, especially where there’s grass and trees. While you have the grandkids, take a walk together or go to the park. If you’re going to be gone awhile, take along some snacks or a picnic lunch. The Warner Center Park here in Warner Center has a playground and summer concerts. You could also visit Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks or the Wildlife Learning Center in Sylmar.
Expand their horizons. Take a trip to a local museum (e.g., the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades or the Getty Center in Los Angeles), or attend an ethnic festival to give your grandchildren the opportunity to learn about customs and traditions that are meaningful to people from other cultures. As an alternative to outdoor parks and playgrounds, you could take your grandchildren to a place like the Cayton Children’s Museum in Santa Monica.
Visit your local public library. Check to see if your library is offering any events for children and make a date to take your grandkids. Better yet, volunteer to lead a reading circle for children and take your grandchildren along with you. They’ll get a kick out of “sharing” their grandma or grandpa with other kids their age.
Teach them to play tennis or pickleball. Both are family-friendly sports that people of nearly all ages can have fun playing. Plus, time spent on the court will counteract the time they (and you) spend on the couch. Don’t know how to play? You can take lessons along with them! We’re fortunate to have the Warner Tennis Center right here in Woodland Hills.
Entertaining Your Grandchildren at The Variel
Our senior living amenities make The Variel one of the most desirable new retirement communities in California. They also make it easy to find things to do with your grandchildren right here at home.
For example, you could:
Go for a swim together in our sparkling pool
Arrange a private movie screening in our cushy, on-site theater
Have a family barbeque in the Catalina Courtyard
Treat them to an impromptu lunch or dinner in one of our various dining venues
Independent living at The Variel is designed to enhance the active lifestyle you already enjoy. To learn more about what we mean by inspired senior living, we invite you to contact us. We’ll gladly answer your questions, and we can set up a time for you to see our beautiful new community.