Parks are great places to make a connection with the natural world. The pleasure of this unique way of life is enhanced when enjoyed with your grandchildren. From such a great base, we find out how you can take your relationship to the next level…
Nowadays it is all too common to see children hunched over a phone or tablet or staring at a television screen for hours on end. But the days of alternative entertainment are not over, there are plenty of ways to keep the grandchildren occupied without relying on technology.
Spending quality time with the grandchildren can offer the parents a well-earned rest while giving you a chance to bond with them. It can sometimes be difficult to think of things to do together that are enjoyable on both sides and that won’t put too much physical strain on those of us who, perhaps aren’t as spritely as we used to be!
In this article, we suggest activities that are not only fun but will help to create precious, lasting memories with the grandchildren.
Stretch your legs
A family walk is a fantastic way of stretching your legs, breathing in fresh air and spending quality time together without breaking the bank! Many residential and holiday parks are surrounded by countryside offering the chance to roam without the dangers of traffic and in environments where children’s interest in nature can be stimulated.
Looking further afield, The National Trust and Wildlife Trust websites have plenty of suggestions for walks suitable for all ages in the family, offering wildlife, parkland and natural play areas to keep everyone entertained.
Inviting the children to choose the direction they wish to walk in, where to stop and how long to go for helps them to grow in confidence and encourages them to take an interest in their environment.
Walking with your grandchildren can also be a relaxing time to talk, listen, share and improve your comfort level with one another.
Barton Park’s Glenholt Park offers breath-taking views of the Plym Valley countryside and is within reach of the beautiful Dartmoor National Park. With roaming moorland and deep river valleys, the National Park has a lot to offer, including a ‘Funzone’ dedicated to organizing events and activities catering for children.
Pop a picnic full of everyone’s favourite food and you’re sure to have a great day out together.
Going old school
Digging out the old photo albums and home movies may sound unappealing, but for many children the chance to look at old photographs and videos of their parents, aunties, uncles, cousins and even relatives they never knew can be a welcome activity.
This is a chance for them to feel connected to their family history and possibly laugh at fashion trends of the past – “Granny, what were you thinking?”
Forage for food
Foraging is the term used for collecting wild foods.
It is a great way to spend time with children, encouraging them to appreciate the natural world, all the while looking forward to the delicious treats that can be made from their findings.
Here in Britain we are spoilt for choice with the food available right there on the doorstep, such as nuts, seeds, berries and vegetables. As there are different varieties that come in season at different times, we are guaranteed a feast all year round.
May is a great time for foraging as the sun can make a long-awaited appearance and we can expect to see some old favourites or perhaps try out something new like Sorrel or Chickweed.
The Woodland Trust has plenty of helpful advice for foraging responsibly.
Be sure to know exactly what you’re looking for and enjoy the feast!
Rustle up some tasty treats
Warning: could get messy!
There is no greater triumph than working together as a team to create something delicious and enjoyable for the family.
Cooking and baking can be both fun and educational. You can teach the kids useful lessons like eating the right kinds of food, while getting creative juices flowing and building their confidence in the kitchen. You could even make something using your foraging finds!
Homemade pizzas are cheap, easy and you can tweak them to be exactly how you like them with toppings and flavours of your choice.
Alternatively, baking sweets like muffins, sponges or pies can feel like a special treat, one that they may not have very often at Mum and Dad’s!
Designing a scavenger or treasure hunt is a great way to encourage the kids to feel comfortable on your residential park, they are easy to create and can be altered to fit a particular theme, ability or location.
A treasure hunt consists of players following a series of clues, each directing them to the next point, while racing to find the treasure at the end. The player who follows all the clues and finds the treasure first wins!
Alternatively, a scavenger hunt starts by providing a list of things to do or see in a specific time frame. The beauty of the scavenger hunt is you can write a list of things to spot around the park and let the children do the rest. No need to write or hide any clues beforehand!
They can be used for parties, rainy days, to introduce the children to a new environment or simply to prevent boredom. A hunt can be created quickly and with very little preparation, transforming an ordinary day into an exciting and special memory for everyone involved.
Beside the seaside
Nothing screams ‘family time’ more than a day at the beach. The UK is blessed with miles of beautiful coastline and it would be a shame to miss an opportunity to take a trip to the beach, especially when the sun is beaming.
The bustling seaside town of Weston-super-Mare holds all the family orientated fun you could possibly want and is just a short drive away from The Barton Group’s luxurious new development, Seascapes which overlooks the picturesque Bristol Channel.
With delights like Wookey Hole Cave, Gorge Walks, Brean Theme Park, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, Weston Museum and much more, you and the family are guaranteed a memorable trip out.
Get arty and crafty
Connect with your creative side with some fun arts and crafts. As the British weather can be quite unpredictable, it’s great to come up with new activities that are suitable for indoors if the weather isn’t cooperating!
Crazes such as colouring books and paint by numbers are fantastic, calming activities that take very little preparation and cause little to no mess! You can let the grandchildren take the lead as you show an interest in something that they enjoy, which can really help you make a closer bond.
There are plenty of crafty activities that don’t cost a lot and can be enjoyed whenever, wherever.
If you like the finished product you could even hang it on the wall to be admired and remind you of the special time with your grandchildren.
However you choose to spend quality time with your grandchildren, we hope that above all you enjoy it.