How to keep grandchildren entertained in the summer holidays

Published 3rd May 2018 | Updated: 4th August 2021

Grandparents are often relied upon for babysitting duties by busy working parents during the summer holidays. In fact, it's estimated that almost two-thirds of all grandparents regularly look after their grandchildren.

But with the kids usually off school for six whole weeks, trying to keep grandchildren entertained can take some imagination.

Here are some ideas that may help get you through the long summer holidays without constant mutterings of "I'm bored!"

Get back to basics

In a time where kids seem content to spend hours playing video games, your grandchildren may be surprised to learn that 'back in the day' you had to make your own entertainment! Show them how you used to have fun when you were child. This could be as simple as going for a walk and picking brambles, playing hop-scotch or skimming stones at a nearby river. 

Impart your wisdom

With age comes wisdom, and grandparents are often a great resource for life skills that are not always taught in schools. Things like sewing, carpentry and even motor mechanics were once considered necessary life skills but have often fallen by the wayside somewhat in modern life. If you have a special skill, why not teach it to your grandkids? It could keep them occupied for hours and give them a great sense of achievement. 

Go to the cinema

The Great British summertime can be changeable to say the least. It can be bright and sunny in the morning then rain cats and dogs come the afternoon! For days like this, a trip to the cinema can be just the thing for alleviating boredom when stuck indoors and will give you some well-deserved rest!

The cinema can be expensive when you add up ticket cost along with drinks and popcorn. A budget friendly alternative could be to set up your own cinema at home! Make some popcorn, dim the lights, and put on their favourite film. The children may even find it more exciting than the real thing!

Have a pizza party

Most kids (some teenagers may need a little coaxing) love to get hands-on the kitchen. What better way to have fun while preparing dinner than with a make your own pizza party? If you are looking after little ones, putting their own toppings on a pizza is plenty to keep them amused and older kids could even learn to make their own dough.

Get crafty

Children love getting creative and arts and crafts can be a fun, educational and inexpensive activity to keep the kids amused. You're sure to have some pencils and paper somewhere that you can put to good use, so look online for some printable colouring-in pages and leave them to it! They can then show off their masterpieces to their parents when they get home!

If you're looking after older kids who can handle something more involved, why not have a look on Pinterest for some inspiration for arts and craft projects?

Find free things to do

With six weeks to fill it's important to find a balance of free and paid for activities if you don't want to file for bankruptcy come September! Thankfully, not everything you do with the grandchildren has to cost money. Visit your local library, go for a kick about in the park or go on a treasure hunt. With a little imagination, you shouldn't find yourself stuck for things to do.

You could also check out your local authority for some free community activities such as kids' clubs, music festivals and summer camps. If your grandkids are into sports, keep an eye out for local free sporting activities to get involved in, such as 'Tennis for Free', an initiative offering free lessons at locations around the UK.

Let them enjoy some downtime

You may feel pressured to fill up every minute of the day with fun and exciting activities, but kids' brains are wonderful things and they'll soon find something to entertain themselves! Where safe to do so, leaving kids to play alone or with their siblings can boost creativity, encourage problem solving skills and improve their confidence. So put your feet up and leave them to it! 

Make the most of this time

Children grow up so quickly, and while time with Grandma and Grandpa will always be precious, the time you get to spend together can lessen as they grow and get caught up in a hectic whirlwind of activities like after school clubs, homework and socialising with their friends.

Use the summer holidays to spend some quality time with your grandchildren. A special holiday is something your grandchildren will look back on fondly for years to come. If you do go away with the grandkids, whether in the UK or abroad, make sure you have travel insurance in place to cover you while you make memories to last a lifetime.

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