Assisted living communities can be a little intimidating for grandchildren — but these activities and items are designed to make them feel right at home.
Read tips from Sara Schwartz, Managing Editor for Grandparents.com, on how to make grandkids more comfortable when they come to visit.
Talk with a Senior Living Advisor
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Turn your grandchild’s visits into a special treat — with a cliffhanger at the end of each one! Part book club, all quality time, reading aloud is an activity you can both look forward to. “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Matilda,” “The Year of Billy Miller,” are three fun books to start with. Read a few chapters every time you’re with your grandkids. If they can’t stand to leave the book without finishing it, be sure to make time to read it to them over the phone, especially if they don’t live nearby. This is also an opportunity for you to share the books you loved as a child, and for them to show you the books that are popular today.
For younger kids, a soft, cuddly blanket can be an important tool to help them feel safe and secure. Keep the blanket at your place instead of letting them take it home, so they can look forward to using it only when they are with you.
Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? There are lots of ways to carry out this idea, and you can customize it to fit your space. Make clues and hide them around your room or in social areas. The clues can be rhymes or riddles and lead to a small prize like candy or a book. Or, make a list of items you want kids to find on a walk around your room, the hallways or outside, if you have pathways on the premise. Then, set them on their way with a bag, the list and a pencil. Have kids cross off items as they find them.
(You can also do a photo scavenger hunt. Give kids a disposable camera or have them use a smartphone, and take pictures on the walk of something starting with every letter of the alphabet.)
Kids of all ages get a kick out of seeing pictures of themselves and of their parents when they were growing up. Plus, you can take the opportunity to teach them more about your life in the process. Bonus if you’ve got old tapes or videos and a film projector lying around, as you can set out some snacks, and have a family movie night.
While you’re at it, how about a manicure and new hairstyle, too? Whether the kids are in elementary school or teenagers, turning your room into a beauty salon is a favorite. Stock up on some inexpensive bottles of nail polish and a nail file for a few dollars. Then, experiment with the different colors. As for hairstyles, the ideas are limitless when it comes to a hair brush and a few hair bands or barrettes.
What grandchild doesn’t like showing off their skills, whether it’s doing a cartwheel, telling a joke, or singing a song? This can be an opportunity to get to know them better, and get some good gift ideas for the next holiday season.
Pick a card game. Any card game. All you need is a flat surface and deck of cards for a few hours of good, clean fun. Find the rules to all your favorite card games here.
Create a fun routine and an expectation of Hollywood thrills by starting a movie-watching club with your grandkids. Make a running list of movies you both want to see and put it on the fridge or somewhere visible to them. Then get the popcorn popping in time for their arrival. Movies we love: “The Parent Trap (1961),” “The Princess Bride (1987),” or any of these great family films.
What activities do you do with your grandchildren? Share you suggestions with our readers in the comments below.