There are many myths about retirement village living, but they don’t do anyone any favours…
Having the grandkids to stay is a lot of fun, but winter can be hard when it comes to keeping them busy. You don’t want them to sit in front of the TV all day, but outdoor activities are often difficult in the chilly, wet weather.
So, using a bit of imagination and some preparation, here’s some sure-fire ways to keep them entertained – without having to spend a lot.
Scavenger hunts are heaps of fun – both for you and the kids! You can do it either in the home (perhaps on a rainy day), out in the neighborhood, or even at an outdoor recreation area. You write a list of things they need to find and tick off, which they can either do as a team, or as a competition (depending on ages). Give them a bag to carry their loot and then sit back and relax!
This one is probably more for around home so you can set it up when they are in bed. Keep the first clue out for them to start with and then hide the rest wherever you want the adventure to take them. You can make it easy for little ones, or harder for bigger kids (to ensure it takes them awhile to get through it). To encourage enthusiasm for the activity, have a surprise treasure to find at the end.
Host a movie night
Going to the movies with kids can be expensive – there’s the cost of the ticket and then all the food and drink that goes with it. So why not go DIY with a movie night at home, with the right details to make feel like the real deal. Have them choose from two or three movies ‘showing at that time’ and give them ‘money’ to make a purchase of homemade treats from the candy bar – then turn out all the lights, show them to their seats and enjoy.
Teach them a new skill
Many parents are so busy these days and simply don’t have the time to pass on skills like cooking, knitting or building. So if you have the time and ability, give it a go. You could keep it as simple as trying out a couple of baking recipes, or make it a daily activity to learn something new, and then have them present a meal to their parents at the end of the week. Kids will love the sense of accomplishment, not to mention the attention that comes from dedicated one-one-one time.
Check out the local library/museum
If it’s school holiday time, many local libraries and museums have free kids activities on offer. So make the most of them! It’s perfect for getting out of the house while still being indoors on a rainy day.
If you can find the right shop in town or store online – you will find enough crafts to keep kids busy for weeks (and they are generally pretty cheap too). Never underestimate things you can do by collecting bits and bobs from around the home and outside in the garden either, like turning cereal boxes into robots or choosing various leaves and flowers to create a rainbow collage.
Games day (indoor or out, sport or board games) bingo/quiz etc
If you have a friendly but competitive bunch of kids to entertain, set up a fun-filled games day. This could be playing a variety of board games, indoor/outdoor sporting challenges (like tossing balled paper into a bucket and mini golf with plastic cups as the hole), or even homemade bingo/quiz games. It will take a bit of preparation, but it won’t cost much and you never know – it might just become a family tradition to enjoy for years to come.
Build an indoor fort/tent
If you have a rumpus room or space in the garage, hand over some blankets, boxes and chairs and let the kids be in charge of making a fort or tent that is worthy of a picnic and stories by torchlight. Not only will it keep them occupied for a while as they build it, it can be their new hangout spot for a few days as they let their imaginations run wild.
Research your local area
When we live somewhere for long enough, we tend to forget all the fun and excitement of places to visit that are close to home. Thankfully the internet is a gold mine for suggestions on what to do, for free, in your local area – like the AA Travel website here – so do a search for your region and see what pops up, you’ll probably be really surprised! Then get the kids rugged up with raincoats, gumboots and umbrellas, and go for an explore.
If you have any questions, we would love to hear from you. Get in touch here.