Celebrate Grandparents Day

Posted on: 01 October 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Suggestions and ideas on how to spend Grandparents Day this Sunday, October 5th.

We don't need a special day to spend quality time with our grandchildren, especially since so many of us help with child care and the school run - but any excuse for a party is my mantra, and Grandparents Day is just the cause for a celebration. 

Here are some suggestions for going out or spending it at home.

Going Out

Monkey Around At A Zoo
Whether it is the lure of the monkeys or the scaly skin of the crocs, all young children love a trip to the zoo.  You can find your nearest one at the Zoo Directory - http://www.zoosuk.zookeepers.co.uk./

Make A Splash In The Pool
If you enjoy a quick dip yourself, why not take your grandchildren swimming.  Whether it is an ordinary pool or a themed swimming pool with water chutes, it is a healthy and fun way to spend an afternoon.

Take them on a nature walkGo On A Nature Walk
There are hundreds of nature walks all over the UK.  The National Trust has free downloadable nature walks on their website, the regional BBC websites have suggestions, or you may well know of a local nature reserve in your area.  Spot spiders, beatles and birds, and if there is a pond, pack some stale bread to feed the ducks. 

Take Them Camping
Pack up the tent, a torch and some sleeping bags and take them for a night to remember under the stars.  The lure of stories around the campfire, sausages and marshmallows on skewers will be a wonderful memory for all of you.  Visit http://www.ukcampsite.co.uk/ to find a campsite near you.  If you don't fancy a night in a tent, you can always put the tent up in the garden for the gradnchildren, and make substitute a campfire for a barbecue on which to toast marshmallows. 

Teach Them To Fish
If they are the right age, fishing is enormous fun and a great way to get them outdoors.  It also has the added bonus of teaching them patience!  Get up early to make the experience special, take a flask of tea and some bacon sandwiches for breakfast and revel in their natural repulsion to the maggots.

Take Them Skiing
If you can ski, why not give your grandchildren their first piste experience, even if it is on one of the UK's dry slopes. You can find your nearest dry ski slope by visiting http://www.amc-comm.demon.co.uk/ukdryskilist.htm

Go To The Seaside
Although the summer is coming to an end, even wrapped up in big coats with wellies and carves, the beach is still plenty of fun for children.  You could go crabbing, shell and fossil hunting, take a frisbee, or simply enjoy the softness of the sand and the ebb and flow of the sea with a coastal walk. 

Get The Adrenalin Soaring At A Theme Park
From Alton Towers to Thorpe Park, Legoland to Chessington World of Adventures, the UK has its fair share of theme parks.  Theme parks are great for older children, but not so good for younger children who are often too small or light to go on many of the rides.  To find your nearest theme park visit http://www.themeparks-uk.com/.

Chessington World of Adventures & Zoo are celebrating National Grandparents Day on 5th October by offering free entry to the first 100 grandparents who visit the Park with a full paying child under 12.

The terms and conditions are as follows:  Only the first 100 grandparents will be entitled to this offer, and once this capacity has been reached, Grandparents will be charged at the normal full day rate.  Visitors under 1m in height enter free of charge.  Offer is only available on the day and cannot be used with any other offer, ticket or advanced booking.  Size, height, weight, age restrictions and medical warnings apply to certain rides and attractions. Advance booking rates: £23 adults, £16 children (under 12). On-the-Gate Rates: £32 adults, £21 children (under 12).  For further information visit www.chessington.com/grandparentsday 

At Home

Have An Indoor Picnic
I remember my Grandmother doing this with me as a child.  She would lay a tartan blanket on the floor, and produce a wicker picnic basket brimming with pork pies, quiche, crisps and pickled onions, with strawberries and clotted cream for dessert. 

If you do not have a picnic basket, just use a large bag, or simply bring the picnic food in from the kitchen.  Young children will love the drama of it, and enjoy the fact they do not need to worry about using their knife and fork properly!

Get Out The Old Vinyl
In the digital age of music downloads and MP3 players, vinyl is something of a novelty to young children so get out your old records, and share the music you used to listen to with your grandchildren.  Reminisce and share the memories certain tunes bring back, and teach them how to jive and do the twist. 

Dig Out Old Photos
If your grandchildren are a little bit older, then why not dig out some old family photo albums.  They will find seeing their mum or dad in their younger days wearing now old-fashioned clothes hysterical, and you may even spark their interest in the family tree.

Get Baking
Get into the kitchen and spend some quality time baking.  Even young children are mesmerised by the alchemy of making cakes or cinder toffee, and no matter what age, all kids enjoy the eating.  If your grandchildren are older, buy them some marzipan and food colourings, and make edible characters and animals.

Spend quality time painting togetherPaint
Children love to get messy, so if the weather is nice, or if you have enough dust sheets, try some body painting.  Get some large sheets of paper and allow your grandchildren to dip their hands and feet in the paint, and make hand and foot prints all over the paper.  If they are a bit older and naturally artistic, you could do more serious painting together, encouraging them to create a masterpiece. 

In The Greenhouse
Although the outdoor growing season is almost over at this time of year, indoor hyacinths still need to be planted for Christmas colour and fragrance.  So plant several pots of hyacinths together, and let them take one home so they can nurture it and delight in each stage of its growth.

Get The Wii Out
If your grandchildren are a little bit older and own a games console or Wii, why not spend some time playing it with them.  You might not be as good on the buttons as they are, but they will appreciate your interest.  If you can afford it and they do not own one, buy a Nintendo Wii for your house.  Instead of a control pad or joystick, the Wii works on actual physical movement, so it is great fun for all the family to enjoy, without any fiddly buttons.  Games include car racing, tennis, ten-pin bowling, baseball and many others.  To find out more visit http://www.nintendo.com/wii.

By Rachael Hannan

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