Grandfather father and child cooking together

5 activities to help bridge the generation gap with grandchildren

Some people manage to build a special relationship with all of their grandchildren, especially if they are part play-mate, part short-order cook and always up for a cuddle. But it can be tough to break the ice and bridge the generation gap with ‘the grands’, particularly if you see them infrequently.

Do you wrack your brain to figure out something you can actually do together? Read on for a few ideas that will help you create lasting memories.

  1. Food forays

    Break out the measuring cups and bake up a treat. Whipping up cookies, a cake or squares allows you to work together with your grandchildren. Make sure you include them in the process, enlisting them to measure out flour or break the eggs, as well as stir and, well, taste-test the baked goods. Not only will you be working together, but they’ll also be learning to read a recipe (literacy), measure ingredients (math) and cooperate (life skills). Ditto for cooking – just let the kids choose the menu and refrain from worrying about the nutritional content. That’s their parents’ job!

  2. Backyard science

    Even a postage-stamp sized square of lawn harbours a vivid, buzzing world of creatures and plants. Why not cultivate the children’s natural sense of curiosity? Try making a leaf rubbing or planting a pumpkin, plants, or a sunflower (they take just two weeks to sprout). You can also go on a bug hunt, cfinding potato bugs, grasshoppers and ladybugs. Capture a few in a jar for closer inspection – you won’t need to feed them, as long as you release them in a few hours. This is an awesome and fun way to educate the children on how these small insects are important to the environment and why we shouldn’t hurt them.

  3. Go old-school

    If your grandchildren have little experience with time-honoured pursuits like playing cards, doing a puzzle,  playing a board game or acting out charades, who better to familiarize them with these pleasures. With any luck, they’ll completely forget to consult their tech gadgets…at least for a few hours.

  4. Embark on an expedition

    A trip to a zoo, nature park or museum can provide a sense of occasion and allow you to explore along with your grandkids. Try to suss out their current interests in advance. Are they wild about dinosaurs or fascinated by elephants? Make sure you target the exhibits most likely to pique their interest. You can even bring along a picnic and enjoy lolling in the grass together.

  5. Stargaze

    Spread out a blanket and look up at the stars. Bump up the sense of exploration by asking your grandkids to “connect the dots” to find animals or objects in the sky. Point out some of the more common constellations (i.e., Big Dipper and Ursa Major) and encourage the grands to name some of their own constellations.


416744 CAN/US/UK (09/18)

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Camilla Cornell

Camilla Cornell is an award winning freelance writer. She writes about all aspects of personal finance, from the real cost of raising kids to budgeting, insurance and retirement planning. Her articles have appeared in The Globe and Mail, Financial Post, MoneySense and Today's Parent, among other publications.