A conversation with just you and me
This conversation is just with you and me. I share four different activities you can do with your grandchild or anyone, that do not require a smart device or application. These are fun and, most importantly, engaging activities that you can do today.
Collecting is a great way to discover what your grandchild is interested in. The grandchildren will naturally want more of whatever they are interested in. It could be toys, pictures, objects, just about anything. The important thing with sharing a collection is the conversation that it can generate. If the grandchild is into sports, there is a natural conversation that can be had about the sports heroes of the grandchild’s generation and the sports heroes of your generation. Whatever your grandchild is into, do a little research and find those interesting points to comparing and contrasting.
Many areas of interest lend themselves to collecting. I mention in the conversation that stamps and coins are likely on the way out with advancing digital society. These two items, in particular, could be areas whereas a grandfather who grew up with coins, stamps, and paper money can introduce an interesting and fading hobby.
Map and Compass
Learning to use a map and compass is not only something that can be fun, and it is a practical skill that every grandchild should know how to do. Teaching a grandchild how to orient a paper map with a compass to find the North will open up how their world is organized. Once a child learns that the North does not always equal ‘up’ or in front of them, their world becomes a little more complex. It also gives the grandchild a way of mastering or understanding their world.
Start easy with your grandchildren, find a map of your local area. I bet you can download or print off a map of your park, for starters. Show them how to orient the map and then create a simple map course that goes to recognizable features. Put a treasure or a reward at the end of the course, remember this should be a fun activity for them. After a few map and compass activities, invite the grandchild to create a course for you to follow. You will have taught them how to find their way if they are lost with a map and compass, giving them confidence and a valuable skill to help them in various situations as they grow up.
Cooking is like doing a science experiment that you can eat. Teaching kids to cook can be rewarding and a great way to connect with them. Cooking will lead to conversations about the origins of certain foods and meals, and you can also talk about what the grandchild’s favorite dishes are.
Like all of our activities, it is best to start small and build on successes. Most children are going to want to help and be involved in the creation that they make. Don’t forget that most children will want to show off their creations, so help them learn how to display their cookies or hotdogs. Cooking with grandchildren is a great way to work on math and science. Cooking involves fractions, following instructions, and chemistry. These are great ways to ‘teach’ without the formality of a workbook or chemistry paper. Don’t worry if you are not up to date on all the science of cooking. You and the grandchild can always explore those processes together using different books and websites. The key takeaway here is that cooking is fun, transfers family history, and can be a learning experience rolled up into one activity.
I am not talking about reading a book to your grandchild, although that is an important and bonding activity. No, I am talking about you and your grandchild(ren) alternate books to read. Think of this as a private book club. You can begin once your grandchild is old enough to read chapter books on their own. Start by asking the grandchild to pick a book, then you both read it by a determined date. For our purposes, let us say one month. During the month, of course, you can discuss the book but pick a date to either in person or remotely plan to discuss the book that they have chosen.
By allowing the grandson or granddaughter to pick out a book, you find out what their interests are. Will they pick out Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical drama? Who knows, but the point is that they are opening up their world of interests and ideas to you, and they are building a connection to you compared to you building that connection. Ideally, you can alternate who picks the books to have the option to stay in the same genre or help broaden their worldview by picking something age and ability appropriate that you enjoy.
No matter what activity you choose from the list above, YOU will create meaningful and lasting memories with your grandchildren. Each of these activities is a fun way to connect AND either teach your grandchildren new skills or re-enforce what they are learning without using devices or software applications. Instead of complaining about the grandchildren being consumed by the devices, let’s get better at being intentional about showing them how great and fun the world can be without electronics.
Have you done all four activities above? Download the document below for additional device-free activities. Have you found activities that your grandkids will leave the phone behind to do? Leave me a comment below about what activities you do with your grandchildren that do not require devices or software applications.