When Grandchildren Visit

by Donne Davis on December 10, 2010

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Is your grandchild coming to visit? To ensure an enjoyable experience it’s a good idea to plan some age-appropriate activities that you’ll all remember with fondness. They don’t have to be elaborate or expensive if you keep the child’s interests in mind and build on the things you know she enjoys.

The first time my granddaughter came to stay by herself she had just turned five. It was exciting for all of us and I wanted to pack in as much as I could in those three days. I prepared a “menu” of activities and placed it on the guest bed just before my granddaughter arrived. I thought it would be fun for my granddaughter to select the ones she enjoyed most and do those first. The activities included simple things around the house that I know she loves to do: feed the koi in the fish pond, play with my mother-in-law’s collection of costume jewelry, make a recipe of soap bubbles from Grandloving, and walk over to the horse ranch nearby to look at all their animals. I also arranged a play date with another grandma and her granddaughter. By the end of the visit we’d done everything on the list and we had lots of wonderful stories to share with her parents when we brought her back home.


On her most recent visit just last week, I decided to “go with the flow,” and ask my granddaughter, now seven, what she would like to do. Now that she’s an avid reader, she wanted to visit the library and get some American Girl Doll books. One of her favorites is Meet Felicity, which takes place in the American colonies of 1774. The story provided some wonderful opportunities to talk about American history. When we were leaving the library, we had to stop at the train crossing for the train to pass.

“I’ve never seen a train that close before,” my granddaughter said. Inspired by her comment, I asked her if she’d like to ride the train the next day. I had to deliver a package to my friend and a 30-minute train ride seemed like the perfect opportunity to accomplish that as well as provide an outing for us. She loved riding the train and sitting on the upper level. When we got home, we did some research on trains on the internet.

While I was at my computer, I checked the class schedule at the neighborhood dance studio and saw there was a hip-hop dance class for her age. She said she’d like to try it. When we came home from the class, we still had some energy so we went across the street to play with a neighbor. He has a set of Playmobil toys that my granddaughter had never seen before. They played in his room for over an hour and I’m sure they would have continued except that it was time for dinner. At dinner that night we reviewed all that we’d done. I felt pleased that the day had unfolded so effortlessly and that we’d created some wonderful memories for our granddaughter.

You and your grandchild can have a memorable visit by keeping her interests in mind and looking for opportunities to be spontaneous as well.

{ 2 comments }

Norine January 24, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I have my grandchildren over several times a month for visits because our kids are very busy and if they plan to be out until very late we ask that they let us have them overnight rather than me coming home late at night.
Their ages are either 8 to 3, or 4 to 1 mo. I love the idea of getting the list together and I will certainly use it.
It’s sometimes difficult to satisfy all the age groups and recently I’m noticing that Grampa is taking more of the role with the older ones and I’m in the role of ‘playing’, crafting and changing diapers, of course:).
Loved your post.
Norine

Eileen January 18, 2011 at 10:53 pm

I enjoyed your article, and expect to borrow some of your suggestions for my own grandchildren’s visits. Especially liked your “menu of activities” idea! Thanks!

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