Outdoors

Go fly a kite. Head out to the park with the grandkids, and launch a kite. Once it’s up, the kids can do most of the running, but you can guide them in the finer points of letting out enough string to keep the kite soaring steady and high.

Take a hike. Conduct a nature hike through a forest preserve, and distribute an “I spy” list of flowers, birds and trees for the kids to try and spot. Beach walking is a favorite of Forrest and Linda Blanchard, of Palmetto, Fla. Their older grandchildren look for the flattest stone, which later is marked with the child’s name and the date of the outing.

Grow together. Planting flower seeds in a windowsill garden with grandchildren is fun and educational. Take a trip to your local garden center, and allow the kids to choose the types of flowers they want to grow. Label each seed packet with the child’s name, and attach it to a marker. They can check their plants’ progress on return visits. 

Bust out the bubbles. Blowing bubbles with a large wand in the backyard provides a fun outdoor activity. Grandparents can join in or watch from the comfort of a lawn chair, while the grandkids run around trying to catch bubbles before they pop.

Host a backyard “formal” tea party. Allow the children to choose their own outfits from a dress-up trunk filled with old party clothes, hats, neckties and costume jewelry from your closet or purchased at a thrift store. Set up a card table and chairs on the lawn, and decorate the trees with balloons and streamers. Serve finger sandwiches, fruit, cookies and punch.   

Suds it up. Washing the car can become a family project. Put little ones in charge of doing everything below the door handles. Afterward, they can run through the sprinkler to rinse off. Then reward a job well done by treating the kids to ice cream cones.