Often, it feels impossible to bridge the growing gaps between generations. For grandchildren hoping to gain a deeper understanding of and appreciation for their grandparents, where do you start? While there are a lot of amazing things to do in retirement, many of these are even better when shared with loved ones.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Activities to Do With Your Grandparents at Home
- Activities to Do With Your Grandparents Outdoors
- Activities You Can Do With Your Grandparents on Zoom, FaceTime, or Video Call
- Games to Play With Grandparents
- Things for Teens or Young Adults to Do With Grandparents
- Things for Toddlers or Small Children to Do With Grandparents
You don’t have to do anything extravagant to spend time together. It’s all about appreciating the little things, whether you stay at home or explore nature by each other’s side. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are 21 simple activities to do with your grandparents.
Activities to Do With Your Grandparents at Home
As mentioned above, some of the best things to do with your grandparents can be done without even leaving the house. Enjoy these at-home activities anytime, and don’t be afraid to do them again and again.
1. Explore your family history
Younger generations can learn a lot about the family’s history through their grandparents. These are the ones who remember great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents, and beyond. Create a family tree and talk about where your family came from.
Tip for getting started: Explore genealogy websites and flip through family photos to gain even more perspective on your family history.
2. Do arts and crafts
Arts and crafts are fun for all ages. No matter your skill level, there’s something fun you can make together. See if your grandparents have any existing crafting skills, and learn something from them in the process.
Tip for getting started: Work together to build or create something new, like a painting, a knitted scarf, or a bookshelf. This is a precious memento you’ll cherish for years to come.
3. Do a puzzle
Puzzles have earned a reputation as a “boring” activity, but they’re really anything but. Creating something together that takes a lot of skill and patience is a highly rewarding activity. While putting pieces together, chat about life and everything that crosses your mind.
Tip for getting started: Once you’ve finished your puzzle, display it in a frame as a reminder of your time together.
4. Learn a family recipe
Each family has their own spin on classic staples. If you’ve never learned the family’s famous pasta sauce, pie, or meatloaf, now is the time. Ask for some help in the kitchen and cook or bake up a storm with your grandparents.
Tip for getting started: Have your loved one write down the ingredients and instructions so you can make this recipe for them later.
5. Read together
Depending on your grandparent’s age, it might not make sense to read to them. However, books and stories bring us together. Reading a book together and talking about it regularly is a great way to think about what you’ve read and grow closer in the process.
Tip for getting started: Create a family book club, meeting once a month or more to chat about your favorites.
6. Host a movie day
You and your grandparents might have different movie tastes, but that just makes for an even better movie day. Host a movie day together to stream all of your favorites. Mix some oldies with the new hits.
Tip for getting started: Switch off choosing the film so you each get to share some of your favorites.
7. Make a scrapbook
A lot of people have extra photos laying around, but how often do you do anything with them? Taking some time with your grandparents to make a scrapbook is a great way to share your favorite memories with everyone. Choose paper, decorations, and photos together and make an activity of it.
Tip for getting started: Journal together in the margins of the scrapbook, allowing your voices to shine alongside the photos.
Activities to Do With Your Grandparents Outdoors
While your grandparents might not be up to the same activities they used to love, there are still great ways to bond with them outside. Nature has a way of bringing people together, so why not explore it together?
Gardening isn’t as complicated as it sounds, even if you don’t have a green thumb. Help them garden in their own backyard, putting together gorgeous flowers and edible plants. Before you know it, you’ll have a whole harvest.
Tip for getting started: Start with something simple if you’ve never gardened before, like herbs or flowers.
9. Hike somewhere new
Hiking is an easy way to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Even if your grandparents aren’t up for a challenging experience, there are hikes nearby for all skill levels. Put on some hiking gear, pack some snacks, and hit the trails.
Tip for getting started: Always check the difficulty level and length of the trail before getting started with your loved one.
10. Travel together
If you really want to get to know someone, travel with them. Take them across the globe or somewhere closer to home. Either way, you’ll check something off their bucket list and experience new things together.
Tip for getting started: Choose a destination that’s suitable to their lifestyle and health level.
11. Have a picnic
There’s something magical about eating outside. Sandwiches and snacks have never been so fun! Pack some of your favorite outdoor foods, a comfortable blanket, and head to the nearest park—or just your backyard.
Tip for getting started: For a more “grown-up” picnic, bring some cheese and wine.
12. Visit a farmers market
Farmers markets are popular places to visit on the weekends, and they help you feel closer to your community. Join with your grandparents for a morning spent at your local farmers market. Try local baked goods and catch up with each other.
Tip for getting started: Gather some local ingredients to cook a meal together later that day.
13. Go fishing
Fishing is a great activity for grandparents and grandkids. It offers a chance to sit in silence, enjoying nature. These are the small moments that really matter, even if you don’t catch anything.
Tip for getting started: Bring chairs and snacks to make this experience more comfortable for all.
14. Be local tourists
Another fun thing to do together to spark the adventurer within is to be a local tourist in your own city or town. Explore some of the more touristy things that you wouldn’t do, roam local parks, and enjoy a day together.
Tip for getting started: Check travel blogs to find off-the-beaten-path things to do together in your own town. You never know what you’ll stumble upon.
Activities You Can Do With Your Grandparents on Zoom, FaceTime, or Video Call
Even if you can’t be with your grandparents in-person, you can still connect over Zoom, FaceTime, or Video Call.
15. Happy hour
If you’re all of age, a happy hour is a great way to unwind together over video. You can easily serve up your own drinks, chat about your day, and enjoy this time together. Better yet, invite other family members in on the fun.
Tip for getting started: Mix the same drinks so you feel even more connected.
16. Play trivia
Trivia is always a fun game to play together, and it’s even possible over video chat. Pull out an old box of Trivial Pursuit or just find a trivia generator online. Take turns asking trivia questions to see who’s the most knowledgeable.
Tip for getting started: Bring more friends and family into the game to add some extra fun.
17. Play Pictionary
Another great game to play over video chat is Pictionary. While there are integrations that work with Zoom and other software, you don’t need any fancy tools. A pen and paper will do, plus a little bit of creativity.
Tip for getting started: Set a timer to get the competition going strong.
18. Visit a museum virtually
A number of the world’s best museums have virtual exhibits open to exploring digitally. While you might not be able to go to the Met in-person right now, you can still explore its many works together online. Click through your favorites and share this digital experience.
Tip for getting started: Choose an exhibit to explore together, and take time to appreciate the photos and history.
19. Window shop online
Again, you might not be able to shop in-person, but you can still click through your favorite stores online. Whether you need a new wardrobe staple or kitchen gear, including your grandparents helps them feel involved in your life.
Tip for getting started: Share your screen with them so they can easily “shop” with you.
20. Host a family meal
Eating together is one of the many things that bond families together. While you can’t share a meal together in the same place, you can still enjoy the conversations held over the dinner table. Cook your favorites, set up your camera gear, and chat the night away.
Tip for getting started: Call your loved one during the start of the cooking process to really include them from start to finish.
21. Coffee or tea date
Last but not least, it’s the simple things that we really remember. You don’t need any extravagant planning to create the perfect environment for your Zoom call. Just hosting a simple coffee or tea date to share updates over your favorite brew is a powerful thing.
Tip for getting started: Plan some topics in advance to defeat those early-conversation jitters. These questions to ask grandparents are a great option.
Games to Play With Grandparents
Grandparents also make great gamers! While they’re not likely to pick up a controller for a video game, they are pros at classic card and board games. These are fun ways to bring the whole family into the moment for some classic family fun.
22. Word games
First, most grandparents have an endless vocabulary, some words of which might be different from younger generations. Word games are a powerful way to boost your concentration, mindfulness, and attention. Plus, who doesn’t love to brush up on their spelling skills?
The best word games for grandparents are Scrabble, Boggle, and Scattergories. These are popular games that all ages can enjoy, and they’re universally loved by the young and the old.
23. Number games
For those who prefer numbers over words, there are also a lot of fun number games to try with your grandparents. Games like Dominos, Rummikub, and Yahtzee are all about number matching in an approachable way. These are easy for all ages to enjoy, and they can get pretty competitive too!
24. Complete a crossword puzzle
Crossword puzzles are fun alone or with the whole family. Whether your grandma always does the New York Times crossword puzzle or this is new for the both of you, why not challenge yourself to tackle this game together? There are a lot of great crossword puzzles for free online, but you can also clip one out of your local paper.
25. Play chess
There’s a reason chess is such a classic game. This ageless strategy game is one that many grandparents have already mastered throughout their lifetime. Passing their favorite strategies and game theories onto the next generation is a beautiful way to bond. This is a memory everyone can cherish for years to come.
26. Play cards
Lastly, challenge your grandparent to a riveting game of cards. There are so many fun card games, and these are easy to play on the go. Classic games include Go Fish, Old Maid, Rummy, Crazy Eights, and Warm.
There’s no fancy equipment or tools needed to get started! If you have a deck of cards, you can challenge your grandparent to a round of their favorite card game. Game on!
Things for Teens or Young Adults to Do With Grandparents
Finding things to do with teens or young adults and grandparents can be more of a challenge. At this age, it can be hard for teens to find common ground with those in older generations. Here are some meaningful ways to bridge the gap with teen or young adult grandkids and grandparents.
27. Volunteer for a cause
One great way to get teens or young adults engaged is through volunteer work. Finding a common interest, like a love for animals or the environment, is a great first step. Next, work together to volunteer with a related nonprofit group. Not only is this a hands-on way to bond, but it’s also sure to be a beneficial experience all around.
28. See a movie in theaters
Visiting the theater together is another way to bond between generations. Find the latest blockbuster hit on the big screen, with the biggest shared popcorn of course! Not only can you explore new films together, but you’ll also have something interesting to talk about after the flick ends.
Love seeing movies? Make this a regular tradition. Trade of choosing the movie so you can try a variety of genres and flicks. From summer comedies to chick flicks, there is a whole world on the silver screen to discover together.
29. Go bowling
Can you really ever go wrong with bowling and pizza? While it might seem a bit cliche and old-fashioned at first, teens and young adults love to get active. Bowling is a safe, gentle activity all ages can enjoy. It’s sure to be a time full of laughter and fun, even if you throw endless gutterballs.
30. Try mini-golf
Speaking of getting active together, another gentle and carefree outdoor activity is mini-golf. Miniature golf might be a “golden oldie,” but it’s loved by all to this day. Teenagers still enjoy hitting a round of mini-golf, so this is the perfect afternoon activity for the whole family to enjoy. Like bowling, it’s sure to be full of laughs!
31. Visit a theme park
Lastly, why not visit a theme park? Teenagers love theme parks, whether they have thrill rides or unique shows. If there’s a theme park near your home, taking a day trip out together is the perfect way to break the ice.
Both teens and grandparents are sure to open up over the exciting thrills, exploration, and adventure together. What a beautiful memory for all! There’s something magical about spending a day immersed in a themed environment with those you love.
Things for Toddlers or Small Children to Do With Grandparents
Finally, what things can toddlers or small children do with grandparents? Small kids love their grandparents, but it’s important for them to feel stimulated and excited about the world around them. These ideas below are perfect for young toddlers and children.
32. Visit a children’s museum
First, one of the best ways to connect with young kids is through a children’s museum. These are found in most major cities, and they’re focused on helping young children understand the world. From science to art exhibits, you’ll find play and learning areas for all ages, including toddlers.
Better yet, get an annual membership so the grandparents can come back again and again. Having somewhere special to enjoy with your grandkids makes powerful memories, and this becomes a place you share together.
33. Explore the playground
Small kids also love playgrounds. Who said you need to go somewhere expensive to have fun? Your local playground or park is sure to offer more than enough entertainment. Visiting a playground with the grandparents lets the kids explore their favorite spot from a new perspective, whether you’re playing tag or digging in the sand.
34. Bake cookies
Is there anything more soothing than baking cookies with your grandparents? Whether you start a new family tradition or use an old family recipe, this is a beloved activity to try together. Baking cookies is easy enough that small kids and toddlers can help, and everyone loves licking the spoon. Once cooked, enjoy a warm cookie and milk before nap time.
35. Make a family photo memory game
A fun craft and game to play together involves using old photos. Create duplicates of your family photos and line them up face-down for a memory matching game perfect for young kids. Not only can you introduce your grandchild to other members of the family, but you can also engage critical thinking skills.
When you’re done putting the photos together for your game, create an album together. Have the child decorate their own photo frame, creating a memento you both designed together. What a beautiful way to remember a special time.
36. Read a story
Last but certainly not least, read a story. Storytelling has connected generations since the dawn of humanity. Continue this tradition by reading or telling a story to your grandchild. Young kids and toddlers love stories. Whether you put together a tale about pirates and princesses or their own parents, this is something they’ll cherish forever.
Grow Closer with Your Grandparents
The bonds between grandkids and their grandparents are strong, and they truly last a lifetime. While there might be more gaps between these generations than ever before, you can close them with a few thoughtful activities. This list above gets you started no matter how much distance lies between you.
Now is the time to cherish these memories. Your loved ones won’t be around forever, so appreciate all the time you do have—even in the little moments.