Grandkids Coming to Visit?
Do your grandkids live in the same city and come over to your house for frequent sleepovers? Do they, instead, live far enough away that, when they come, they get to stay a whole week? Either way, having the grandkids under your roof (and squished up next to you in the bed!) is the bomb.com, if you ask this Grammy. Here are 5 grand ideas and 50 fun suggestions to make the visit even more fun with a theme.
Your grandkids will enjoy the anticipation when you announce that this year’s visit will be centered around a main idea for fun. You can include them in the planning, or surprise them each day with something fun from your pre-conceived list. It’s ALL fun when the grandkids are IN.THE.HOUSE!
Each of these themes centers around Austin-based activities; however, similar ideas can easily be found in your location as well. All of the suggestions can quickly be tailored and tweaked for most any age child, and every theme includes a book idea. A book always solidifies a theme, so it’s a good gift to send home with your grandchild as a memoir of the fun you’ve had. (Do your own check of the book’s content to make sure your grandchild’s parents would approve.)
Do your grandkids play sports, have a competitive nature, or just enjoy watching a good game? A sports-themed visit with their grandparents will make memories that last and last.
- Attend a Round Rock Express game
- Play catch at the park
- Throw a tailgate party in your driveway or back yard
- Play your own version of Headbanz, using names of famous athletes on the cards
- Spend an afternoon at Top Golf
- Visit the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in Waco
- Treat your grandchild to a summer session at Austin Junior Golf Academy. End the week with a round of golf together on one of Austin’s public courses.
- Go shopping for the hottest new tennis shoes for the school year ahead
- Attend a Texas Stars hockey game at H-E-B Center in Cedar Park
- Create an “All-Star Grandson” montage keepsake pictures from your sports themed week
- Book to read, listen to or send home: A Teen’s Game Plan for Life by Lou Holtz
Do your grandkids love to do good for others? If so, how about a give-back theme for their visit?
- Run or walk in a 5k that uses the proceeds to benefit a good cause
- Work a shift at the Central Texas Food Bank
- Bake cookies or brownies for all the neighbors on your block
- Deliver Meals on Wheels
- Give water bottles to all the homeless people you find downtown
- Help your grandchild clean out his or her closet and take clothes to a shelter
- Shop for thrifty finds at Hope Family Thrift Store, where the proceeds help families affected by natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey
- Clean up something scenic together with Keep Austin Beautiful
- Contact your grandchild’s school for a wish list and set up an old-fashioned lemonade stand in your neighborhood to raise money for one of the needed items
- Plan ahead by applying to volunteer together at Dell Children’s Hospital
- Book ideas: (younger): Evie and the Volunteers or (older) The Mountaintop School for Dogs (all) The Easy Homemade Cookie Cookbook
Indoor Fun Theme
When it’s raining or just too hot, try passing the time with these fun ideas for indoor fun.
- Play games at Main Event
- Do you have a piano? Teach them to play, try purchasing a set of instructional DVDs like these (rave reviews), or use some online lessons like these.
- Set up a round about game tournament using all the games in your stash. Award prizes!
- Binge watch Disney movies – or watch a different one every night
- Spend some time at the Thinkery
- Help your grandchild learn how to make an entire dinner on their own – they can surprise the family with their skills when they get back home!
- Work a big puzzle together and get it framed for a take-home keepsake. Here’s an Austin puzzle, and here’s a Longhorns puzzle to work together.
- Do an at-home spa experience for your granddaughter. Remember when grandma let you lie on the counter while she washed your hair in the kitchen sink?
- Go to a bargain movie every day, or splurge at the end of the week with reclining seats and first-class restaurant fare while you enjoy the film.
- Download some of the same game apps they have on their iPads, and let them teach you how to play. We played a version of Charades with Kynzie on her last visit, using her iPad and our foreheads!
- Book ideas: Read a classic like Old Yeller or Little House on the Prairie.
If you have a Texas history bent or a tweenage grandchild who’s intrigued with all things historical, you’re sure to have a great time together doing all the things on this list.
- Visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum
- Day trip to the LBJ Ranch
- Put on the earphones and take an audio tour through the Texas State Cemetery
- Tour the amazing Texas State Capitol
- Tour the Texas Governor’s Mansion
- Visit the LBJ Presidential Library
- Visit the Texas Military Forces Museum
- Enjoy a Texas Pecan Waffle and then take pictures on the elegant staircase at the historical Driskill Hotel, where President Lyndon Baines Johnson watched the returns of the 1964 presidential election in the Jim Hogg Suite.
- Visit the Elisabet Ney Museum, Texas’ oldest art studio, filled with works of art situated on beautiful wooden floors and surrounded by limestone walls.
- Download the GoTX app to get descriptions of and directions to over 14,000 Texas historical landmarks. Have fun exploring or, if you’re super-creative, develop a scavenger hunt to see how many markers you can find. Take lots of photos. You’re making your own history, after all.
- Book idea: (younger) Texas History for Kids or (older) The Great Book of Texas
Try New Things Theme
Considering the fact that I LOVE intentional adventure in even the smallest things, this may be my favorite theme of all. It’s fun to try new things – but to try new things with your grandkids is w-a-y better!
- Make something in the kitchen that can be your together-specialty, like cinnamon rolls – yum!
- Have a skydiving experience at iFly
- Pay a visit to Austin’s new store for all things Asian – H Mart
- Zipline at Lake Travis
- Get a new first-day-of-school outfit
- Go on a segway tour (minimum age is 14)
- Go to a familiar restaurant and order something you’ve never had there before
- Take a lesson together at NLand Surf Park
- Prepare a list of Have-You-Ever’s and send it to your grandchildren in advance of their visit. Plan to do a few things they’ve never done. Examples: Have you ever taken a dance lesson? Have you ever seen the bats in Austin? Have you ever had a pedicure?
- Pick a summer treat and do your own foodie tour; i.e., ice cream, gelato, smoothies or shaved ice
- Book idea: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, or My Side of the Mountain