During school breaks — be it the current winter break or those come spring and summer — grandparents often have the pleasure of more time with their beloved grandchildren. That also means, though, grandparents likely hear more of those not-so-beloved (yet so typical) “I’m bored” complaints from the youngsters during such times.
Combat those complaints by using books as the starting point for fun activities. A few ideas to get you started:
Book: There’s a Dragon in the Library by Dianne de Las Casas. This clever tale tells of Max and his visions of a dragon during story time at the library. Is there really a dragon in the library or is it just his imagination? And how can he convince Mom, the librarians and Officer Riley that there really is a dragon in the library.
Activity: Head to the library, of course, and seek out books about dragons, along with any others of interest to youngsters in tow. While there — better yet, before going — find out what activities are lined up at the library; there’s typically a story hour and more in the kids’ department each and every day.
Book: Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Dusky Rinker. Cement Mixer, Excavator, Dump Truck and more all work oh-so hard during the day then tuck themselves in at night, resting up for the next day’s work.
Activity: Take a trip to a nearby construction site to watch (from afar) the work vehicles doing their jobs. Younger kids may want to bring along their toy trucks of a similar sort; older kids may enjoy having a pair of binoculars on hand to get an up-close look at the action.
Read this next: 5 Things I've Forgotten Since Becoming a Grandma
Book: Grandma’s Bag of Tricks: Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars by Sharon Lovejoy. This book truly isn’t just for grandmas as it comes in quite handy for anyone looking for activities for kids. With an older child, peruse the awesome options for fun, from restaurant night at home, to pinecone bird feeders, to fairy tea parties, tin-can bands and more. For little ones, pick and choose any of the many ideal for toddlers.
Activity: Not too hard to figure this one out, as there are more than 130 activities to choose from. The hard part is making a choice. Consider having the child make a list of the ones you want to tackle together throughout the summer or a visit.
Book: Meet Einstein by Mariela Kleiner. This book may be designated as for youngsters ages 2-4, but it’s a safe bet that older kids will appreciate the straightforward introduction to one of the all-time great scientists. In addition to the story, the inside front and back covers include a pictorial rundown of all the tools needed for scientific exploration: goggles, beakers, nets for catching butterflies, gloves to “protect my fingers from sticky and icky things,” and more.
Activity: The book outlines some of Einstein’s great scientific discoveries related to light and gravity. Come up with a few experiments involving light — using flashlights, lightbulbs, fire, rainbows — and gravity — any manner of things that go up then come down (spills, jumping in the air) or go up but don’t come down (balloons, kites). As the book notes, even preschoolers can grasp the concepts of light and gravity. “Help them make the connection in everything they see and do, and teach them that science is all around them.”
Book: Amazon Alphabet by Johnette Downing. This colorful adventure takes kids of all ages from A to Z through the Amazon, introducing familiar folk such as frogs and jaguars, as well as the unfamiliar including the caiman and quetzal. Facts and features accompany each alphabetic selection.
Activity: Zoo time! Many zoos have an Amazon Rainforest feature where kids can enjoy an A-to-Z scavenger hunt of things featured in the book. If your local zoo doesn’t have such an exhibit, enjoy an A-to-Z hunt of other animals. If schedules, weather, or budgets nix a zoo visit, use the pictures in the book as inspiration for drawing Amazon animals for creating your own rainforest in your backyard or home.
Lisa is a Colorado-based freelance writer. She publishes the Grandma's Briefs website, where she shares bits on life's second act and strives to smash the outdated "grandma" stereotype. Lisa has been married to the same man forever; together they have three adult daughters, one son-in-law and three adorable grandsons — children of the middle daughter and her husband. Lisa is easy to find online as she's known as GrandmasBriefs wherever she goes: Twitter (@grandmasbriefs), Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere.