The devil makes work for idle hands is a saying that has mostly fallen out of fashion, but anyone who has ever looked after a bored toddler or pre-schooler will know the mischief they can get up to.
Looking after your grandchildren is usually a joy and a privilege but entertaining kids is exhausting, and you might not always want to be running around and doing exciting things.
Sometimes a preschool-age child needs a more relaxing day and sometimes you do. We can’t always be on the go all the time.
So have a look at our top 5 most relaxing ways to entertain your grandchildren.
On a lovely spring day, gardening can be one of the simplest pleasures in life. Grab some gardening gloves and go hunting for bugs, spotting colours, or discovering the names of the flowers.
Children will love squelching their hands through the mud as they plant bulbs, and the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment they will feel afterwards is yours to share.
If you live with your or near your grandchildren, shaping and preening your shared garden can bond you as you both delight in your achievements.
2) Feed the ducks
Is there anything nicer than a stroll to the park on a sunny day to feed the ducks?
Bundle your grandkids up in their stroller and take a lovely sedate walk to the duck pond. Point out all the birds you can see on the way to stop them getting bored. Ask them to make bird noises or sing songs about ducks to make the journey feel special.
Arm yourself with rice, oats, or bird feed to feed the ducks-the advice is not to give bread these days as it can make them quite ill.
Feeding the ducks is a timeless activity enjoyed by generations.
Children adore baking. The different textures, the yummy smell of the baking, and the joy of devouring the fruits of their labour afterwards make baking a really special activity to do together.
Allow your grandchild to do as much weighing and measuring, mixing and decorating as possible and it will keep them engaged and less likely to get bored.
Part of the fun of having them over to your house or granny annexe is that they will eventually be taken home, leaving you free to clean the mess up and relax in your gleaming home again.
Or, play ‘Mary Poppins’ and have them help you tidy up! Pop ‘A Spoonful Of Sugar’ on the CD player and make a game of it.
4) Treasure Hunt
Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt? They do take a little bit of time to organise, but they are so worth it.
Make a list of household and garden items you want your grandkids to find. A good mix of easy items and harder ones will keep them guessing and hunting for longer, without denying them the sense of accomplishment from finding items.
Be specific in the items, for example, red clothes peg will keep them more engaged and be more of a challenge than just a clothes peg.
Award a prize for the most items found to give the game a bit of a competitive edge. If your grandkids are old enough, this is the sort of game where you can have a sit-down and a cup of tea whilst they amuse themselves.
To take it up a level, choose items that they have to go to various places for, or leave a clue with each item for the next piece of treasure on the list.
5) Arts and Crafts
Arts and crafts are either extremely relaxing or extremely stressful and messy, depending on the child! So, you will need to decide if this is a relaxing activity for your family.
If you do decide to undertake some arts and crafts with your grandkids, cover the table with an old shower curtain or tablecloth to protect it. Layout some pipe cleaners, pom poms, paints, and stickers. Or, go out into the garden and gather leaves, twigs grass and other interesting textures and colours.
Give them some gentle guidance with a theme, or let their imagination run free.