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Activity ideas for your grandchildren on a budgetCreated by Jane in Age: At School, Age: Pre-school, Being a Granny-carer, Things to do
We all know that every penny counts. We love to spoil and entertain our grandchildren but we don’t always need to spend money to do this. All it takes is some patience, a little time, and a lot of creativity. Here are some ideas for having fun with your grandchildren at little or no cost.
Scavenging for natural materials
Before you set off you will need: A piece of card A3 in size, some double sided sticky tape and of course a park or woods to go for a walk in. First, cut the piece of card into the shape of an artist’s palette with a hole for the thumb. Attach three strips of the double sided sticky tape around the edge, removing the protective top strip when you arrive in the woods. The challenge is to find tiny pieces of natural materials such as bits of grass, leaf, twig, petals, bark etc as you can. Then stick them onto the palette to create a range of colours. It’s amazing how many different colours and textures you will be able to find. Try to find colour names to describe each set of colours, for example, scarlet, crimson, ruby, wine, blush, cardinal, maroon and so on. Then you could, with an older child, try to mix up the same colours in a paintbox and copy the natural colours.
On the same theme, look for some Andy Goldsworthy pictures on the internet and make your own versions with stones, leaves, twigs and other natural items carefully arranged.
It’s always fun to be able to identify trees by their leaves. Gather together a collection from your local park, draw a template in card and colour it in and then, go on a wood walk and see if your grandchild can find the matching ones as you explore the locality.
For older children an inscription hunt is fun too. Together it will be possible to find out a great deal of local history as you record what you find, either by photographing or copying the inscription. If you take a walk around your locality look for any inscriptions on buildings that you can find. This isn’t shop signs or advertising, but memorials on stone or on plaques. For example you could look for blue English Heritage plaques which show where a famous person once lived, war memorials, plaques embedded into walls giving information about previous buildings on the footprint of the present one, interpretation boards at wildlife centres or rivers, foundation stones and so on. If you photograph these and stick them in a book or make them into a power point it will help to understand a great deal about the local area. It’s really surprising how many there are when you start to look.
Walk in the dark
As the nights draw in a dark walk is magical. Even in a busy town there will be parks or green spaces where you go after dark for a night walk. It’s lovely to take torches and then switch them off and look upwards at the stars.
An old favourite it to see how many items you can fit in a matchbox. And, following on from this, get an old shoebox, stand the main bit sideways in the lid and make an assemblage of interesting things in the local area. You could do cut out trees, the church, the common, some houses, a pillar box and so on. And them paint it and add any thing else to represent the locality.
And then of course there are the slightly longer term projects of planting seeds or bulbs and waiting for them to grow. Perhaps take a picture at different stages of the plants’ development and make a scrap book. Make a dedicated area in your garden especially for your grandchildren’s nursery. You can make a simple sign from some wood with their name on it to stick in the ground.
By Jane Lawson