30+ Low-Cost Activities to Do With Your Grandkids


Whether you’re new to grandparenting or an old hand, you can always pick up new tips and tricks. And you can never have too many exciting, entertaining activities to enjoy with your grandkids. 

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From babies and toddlers to kids and teens, grandkids can get bored easily. So it’s a great idea to have plenty of engaging activities queued up and ready. Below, we’ll give you more than 30 ideas for activities you can enjoy with your grandkids any days, no matter your budget. 

Free Activities to Do With Your Grandkids

Spending time with grandkids doesn’t have to cost a thing. Some of the best experiences you can have with grandchildren are completely free. Here are some ideas for entertaining activities that don’t cost a penny. 

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1. Enjoy the great outdoors

Some of the very best free activities are outside. And you don’t have to go very far to enjoy the great outdoors. You can take part in outdoor activities like gardening, walking, and playing games in your own neighborhood or backyard. 

Tip for getting started: For some more outdoor activities to do with your grandkids, check out the “Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Grandchildren” section, below. 

2. Recruit your special helper

You can keep your grandkids entertained and get some work down around the house at the same time. Ask your “special helper” to help out with some essential tasks.  

Tip for getting started: You can ensure your grandchild’s entertainment by choosing fun tasks like painting. Make sure you stock up on the proper safety supplies! 

3. Write a letter home

Kids always get homesick, even if they’re staying with grandparents for just a night or two. If you have your grandchildren for a longer stay, you can help them write a letter back home. 

Tip for getting started: If your grandchild isn’t sure what to write in his or her letter, try asking them some of these questions to ask kids

4. Get scientific

There are plenty of simple and entertaining experiments you can do at home with household supplies. For example, you can create a battery using just a lemon, a dime, and a penny. 

Tip for getting started: Look for a list of easy science experiments that you can do at home. Together with your grandkids, choose the ones you like best. 

5. Draw each others’ portraits

Tap into your artsy side by drawing or painting each other’s portraits. No peeking until your portraits are complete!

Tip for getting started: You can use whatever paints, crayons, or pencils and paper you have on-hand.

6. Make paper animals

If your grandkids love animals, you can help them draw different animals on paper plates and cut them out. You’ll end up with plenty of animal cut-outs to play fun and imaginative games with. 

Tip for getting started: If you don’t have paper plates handy, you can use any type of construction paper or printer paper, or even cardboard. 

7. Invent a new board game

If you love playing board games, you can take that hobby a step further by inventing your very own. Create a board with boxes that list instructions, cards that you pull when you land on certain boxes, and steal a pair of dice from another board game.

Tip for getting started: You can use your paper animals from the last activity as some creative game pieces!

Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Grandchildren

These outdoor activities will help you spend time with your grandkids, and it’ll help your grandchildren grow to appreciate the outdoors at the same time. An added benefit? Many of these are also free or low-cost. 

8. Start or tend a garden

Pass on your green thumb to future generations by planting vegetables or tending your garden. You can even let your grandchildren pick what they want to plant. 

Tip for getting started: Tomatoes and cucumbers make great starter vegetables. Or you could start a small pumpkin patch for Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns. 

9. Watch the birds

Help your grandkids identify the wildlife around them. You can pick up a book about bird species if you want some help. 

Tip for getting started: To make this activity even more entertaining, you can build a simple bird feeder with your grandkids to attract the neighborhood birds. 

10. Visit a dog park

If you want to entertain your grandkids and your pup at the same time, consider visiting a nearby dog park. Make sure to teach the kids about dog etiquette and how to ask whether they can pet someone else’s dog. 

Tip for getting started: If you don’t have a dog, that’s okay! You can offer to take a friend or family member’s dog for a walk or just admire the neighborhood dogs. 

11. Go on a picnic

Pack up some sandwiches and snacks, wrap it all up in a cozy blanket, and head outside. You can go to a local park or just out to your own backyard. 

Tip for getting started: Make sure to bring sunhats and sunscreen, as well as plenty of water if you’re heading out on a hot day. 

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12. Feed the ducks

If there’s a pond or lake near you, you can spend some time feeding the ducks. Make sure to keep your distance and warn children not to touch the ducks. 

Tip for getting started: Bread is the old standby when it comes to feeding ducks, but some healthier options include barley, oats, cut grapes, duck pellets (from a farm supply store), and birdseed. 

13. Name the constellations

Instead of having your picnic during the day, you can camp out at night at look up at the stars. Bring a star chart with you so you can show the kids the different constellations. 

Tip for getting started: Find out which constellations are visible from your home. You might be able to see the ones which correlate to your grandchildren’s astrological signs. 

14. Do a bug scavenger hunt

Challenge your grandchildren to a “bug hunt.” Create a list of 10 to 20 bugs for them to look for outdoors and mark off their list. 

Tip for getting started: Look up a list of bugs that live in your local region to create your list. 

15. Watch a lightning storm

Thunder and lightning can be frightening for many children, but watching a thunderstorm is also entertaining and educational. You can teach your grandkids about the separation between light and sound by counting the seconds between the lightning and the thunder. 

Tip for getting started: Find a place on your home or on your patio where you can safely observe a lightning storm without getting soaked. And remember to observe safety precautions when it comes to lightning! 

16. Make a lemonade stand

You can help your grandchildren become budding entrepreneurs by building a functioning lemonade stand. 

Tip for getting started: You can use a small card table and attach an umbrella for sun protection. 

17. Pick wildflowers and edible plants

Teach your grandkids about the safe—and not safe—plants in your local area. Show them which plants are edible and which ones are poisonous. You can find fun plants, like honeysuckles, to enjoy together. 

Tip for getting started: Let your grandchildren know that they should never eat plants without an adult’s supervision. They’ll still love being able to impress their parents when they go back home with all of their newfound knowledge. 

Activities to Do With Your Grown Grandchildren

If you have older grandchildren, whether they’re teenagers or fully-grown adults, you still might need some ideas for creative activities. Below are some unique activities that can keep you and your grandchildren entertained and bring you closer together. 

18. Create your family tree

Create a family tree, and talk about each person’s place in the family as you put the tree together. 

Tip for getting started: You can use construction paper to create a “tree,” and attach smaller pieces with each person’s name as the “leaves.” 

19. Volunteer together

One of the best ways to bond with your older grandchildren is by helping others. You can find a local charity to help out in your free time. 

Tip for getting started: You can search for volunteer opportunities locally or use a website like VolunteerMatch, Idealist, or All for Good to find more options. 

20. Share your hobbies

Show one another your favorite hobbies, whether it’s knitting, painting, or playing video games. 

Tip for getting started: Make sure to designate time for each person to share their hobby with the others.

21. Take a cooking class

Look around your local area to see if any schools or businesses are offering cooking classes. 

Tip for getting started: You can give your grownup grandchild a gift card for a cooking class for their birthday or Christmas, with the caveat that they take you with them. 

22. Go antiquing

Visit a nearby antique store and have a walk around. You can buy something or just look at all of the different and unique items. 

Tip for getting started: You can make a day of it by finding several antique stores you want to explore. 

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23. Take on a DIY project

Choose a task you’d like to complete on your own, and recruit your grown grandchild or grandchildren to help you. 

Tip for getting started: If the two of you are new to DIY, it may be best to take on a smaller project at first. 

24. Cook a meal together

You can spend time together in the kitchen by preparing a meal that you both love. 

Tip for getting started: If you attended a cooking class together, you can put those skills to use. 

25. Buy each other outfits

Have your grandchild buy you a new outfit, and do the same for them. 

Tip for getting started: You can fund the shopping expedition as a creative birthday or Christmas gift. 

26. Create vision boards

Put together collages that represent your goals for the future. You could each create a “bucket list” vision board, and yours could even be a retirement bucket list board. 

Tip for getting started: Stock up on old magazines by visiting the local library if you need collage materials. 

Activities to Do With Baby or Toddler Grandchildren

Entertaining babies and toddlers might sound easy, but it can be one of the most difficult tasks as a grandparent. This is especially true if you have both a young baby and a toddler to look after and keep happy. Here are some activities you can enjoy with your younger grandkids. 

27. Build a cardboard-box pirate ship

Find a large cardboard box, and help your toddler turn it into a pirate ship. You can even create some creative pirate hats. 

Tip for getting started: You’ll need at least one cardboard box, safety scissors, and some markers or crayons. 

28. Put on a puppet show

Find some old socks, some yarn and felt pens, and maybe some googly-eyes, and create some fun hand puppets.

Tip for getting started: You and your grandchildren can even create a puppet “stage” out of a cardboard box and put on a show. 

29. Finger (and toe) paint

For younger toddlers and babies, you can spend time fingerpainting with nontoxic paint. 

Tip for getting started: Create an easy-to-clean area by lining the floor with newspapers, or take the project outside if you don’t want to make a mess. 

30. Learn a new dance

Teach your grandkids a dance from your childhood that they might not know. 

Tip for getting started: Make sure you have the right music on hand to go along with your new grooves. 

31. Build a pillow fort

Gather up all the pillows and blankets in the house and build a “fort.” Then have fun crawling around inside. 

Tip for getting started: You might need extra structural support, like dining room chairs. 

32. Draw with sidewalk chalk

Bring colorful sidewalk chalk outside and create some imaginative designs. You can show your toddler how to draw out a hopscotch court and help them hop (or step) through the course. 

Tip for getting started: Consider where your grandchild is in the process of learning to walk and adjust this activity accordingly. 

33. Play doctor or grocery store

Set up a play “doctor’s office” or “grocery store” and have your grandchildren play their important roles. 

Tip for getting started: Get together some supplies, like toy doctor’s equipment or groceries. 

Enjoying Retirement with Grandchildren

One of the benefits of retirement is that you have plenty of time to spend with your grandchildren. If you’re looking for more things to do in retirement, finding entertaining activities to do with your grandkids is a great start. 


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