Summer is flying by fast, and you’re trying to get last minute trips in, including visits with your parents and the grandkids.
Want some fun things to do while you’re together?
If Grandma and Grandpa aren’t up for long hikes and romps around the park, try some of these activities that will give them a chance to reminisce on days gone by…while building beautiful memories for the kids.
Snapping, Shelling, and Shucking: ’Cause Fresh is Best…And Fun, Too
Summer is a great time to take a stroll through the local farmer’s market and show the grandkids how Grandma and Grandpa may have prepared their food back when they were young.
Pick up fresh peapods, long green beans, and corn on the cob to shell, snap, and shuck back at home. Everyone from 3 to 93 can enjoy the task around the table … or out on the front porch in rocking chairs.
But wherever you are, remember to sneak a few handfuls to eat right from the bowl. Bet the grandkids will be surprised at how sweet they are.
Amusements that Never Go Out of Style
Retro games are the latest hit in store end caps everywhere. Some favorites Grandma and Grandpa probably enjoyed as youngsters?
This is a simple game of colorful sticks held in a cluster and dropped to the table. All you have to do is try to pick up one stick after the other without moving any of the other ones.
Grab a set in stores or paint your own with wooden skewers and acrylic paint. (Remember to cut off the pointy ends so no one gets stuck.)
Or, for a rough-n-ready rendition, use toothpicks or coffee stirrers.
Whichever you choose to use, you can easily play at home or on a picnic table.
Coloring Books—Not Just for Kids Anymore
It’s true. Coloring has long since graduated kindergarten, expanding to people of all ages. In fact, psychologists and counselors are prescribing it as a great way to relax emotionally, mentally, and physically—so if Grandma or Grandpa struggle with depression, this activity may be just what the doctor ordered.
And since adult coloring books are now best sellers with both simple pictures and complicated geometric designs, you can easily find something for everyone to color together.
Try crayons, colored pencils, watercolor pencils, and pastels. Then display your family art gallery for everyone to enjoy.
(As a word of caution, dementia could cause confusion over the purpose of crayons, especially with the scented ones which might seem like food. That doesn’t mean you can’t let someone with dementia color. Just keep an eye out. Coloring could be a great way for them to connect with memories.)
Pressed Flower Cards and Candles
As summer winds down, it’s a great time to gather the last of those garden flowers so you can enjoy them in the months to come.
- Press petals and leaves between wax paper and in heavy books.
- Once they’re flat, let everyone glue them on cardstock, making greeting cards, framed pictures, and bookmarks.
- Or wax-paint pressed flowers to the outside of candles.
This may seem like something only Grandma would be interested in, but don’t think of these just as flowers. Grandpa can challenge his grandsons to combine petal shapes, creating all sorts of other objects, like rockets, cars, and dinosaurs.
And when they’re done with that, they can make dessert!
Ice Cream in a Can
Nothing says summer like homemade ice cream. And, sure, you could throw it in one of those electric makers. But why not try this old-fashioned method that teaches the grandkids how it works in the first place?
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ - ½ cup sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Two different sized cans with tight lids (e.g. clean coffee cans), where one can completely fit inside of the other
- Rock Salt
- Crushed Ice
- Duct tape, or other water-resistant tape
- Towel to dry off cans before taping
- Thick vinyl or nylon tablecloth to protect your table
Putting It Together:
- Place the ingredients (milk, whipping cream, sugar, vanilla) in the SMALLER can and carefully put the lid on. Tape the lid cross the top and around the lip edge with duct tape to be sure it stays on.
- Nestle the smaller can inside the larger one.
- Pour crushed ice in the empty space of the LARGER can around the smaller one until the larger can is almost full.
- Scatter rock salt on top of the ice (between ⅔ - ¾ cups) and seal the larger can’s lid. Duct tape that one, too.
Time to Rock ’n Roll:
Have all the “grands” sit around the tableclothed table and roll the can back and forth. Or set chairs in an open circle, place the can on the floor, and try to roll it back and forth with your feet.
Either way, we bet the laughter will start rolling with it.
The goal is to keep it moving for fifteen minutes. So maybe throw on some music and get into the rhythm.
After fifteen minutes, time to check it out:
- Pull out the smaller can, open it, and scrape down the insides so the already-formed ice cream lands near the bottom and the part that hasn’t frozen yet can reach the sides.
- Re-close the smaller lid, dry the outside with your towel, and tape it up
- Drain excess water from the larger can, re-nestle the smaller can inside, re-add ice and rock salt, and close it all up again with duct tape.
Start rolling again for another fifteen minutes. Then open it all up again, scrape down the sides, and enjoy your soft-serve vanilla ice cream.
Want it thicker? Stick the small can in the freezer for an hour.
Hungry for other flavors?
- Add chocolate and other drizzles in the beginning, before you start rolling.
- Add fruit in the middle, after the first 15 minutes.
- Add crumbled cookies at the end, when the rolling’s done.
Enjoying the Days while They’re Here
Yes, summer may be slipping away, but the memories you make don’t have to. Why not try one of these activities with the grandparents and kids today?
And let us know what you tried on Facebook. Here’s to enjoying the last days of summer.
Guest post written by Elizabeth Daghfal