Retirement Life
6 December 2023

Holiday hacks for grandparents


The holidays are fast approaching. For many grandparents, summer means more quality time with their grandchildren, whether on extended family get-togethers or because they step in to help with the work/school holiday juggle. That means coming up with plenty of fun, affordable activities to keep little ones busy, while creating lasting memories.


Here are some ideas to inspire you this summer:


Cool off with a dip

There’s nothing better on a long, hot summer’s day than splashing about in a cool stretch of water. If you don’t live near a beach, river or lake, most towns have community pools, which often have kids’ activities scheduled during holidays. Failing that, and if water restrictions allow, kids can get hours of fun out of pack-away pools, slip’n’slides or even back-yard sprinklers.


Of course, wherever water is involved, safety is foremost. Many beaches and pools have lifeguards over the summer, but make sure you check conditions and don’t take your eyes off your charges, even at home. Better yet, don your swimsuit and join in!


A modern treasure hunt

If you know your way around a smartphone, give geocaching a go. It’s basically a modern treasure hunt that involves an app or GPS device to find hidden containers called geocaches. There are thousands of geocaches all over New Zealand, and you can search for them by location, difficulty, or theme.


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Geocaching is a great way to explore new places, learn about nature, and have an adventure. When you find a geocache, you can sign the logbook inside, swap a small item, and mark your find on the app. You can also create your own geocaches and hide them for others to find. To get started, click here to visit the official website or read this article.


Kitchen’s rule

Cooking and baking are fun, creative and low-cost activities that you can do with your grandkids at home. Teach them some of your favourite recipes or try something new together. You could also make it more exciting by having a theme, such as a picnic, a tea party, or a cultural cuisine.


Cooking is a great way to help little ones develop their skills, confidence, and appreciation for food. Particularly if you involve them in the whole process of choosing recipes around seasonal or local produce and shopping for ingredients you don’t already have at home.


Anything but ‘bored’ games

While many youngsters tend to gravitate towards screens for entertainment, board games are classic activities that never go out of style. Perfect for rainy days, they can provide hours of entertainment, laughter, and challenge. They can also help your grandkids improve their cognitive, social, and emotional skills. If you’ve long since consigned your board games to the donation pile, libraries often loan out games along with books.


Get crafty

Arts and crafts are another creative and enjoyable activity that you can do with your grandchildren and which can be a great way to pass on practical skills that they’ll value in years to come. Knitting is a good example of something that’s had a huge resurgence in popularity recently – if you know your knit ones from your purl ones, share that knowledge with your grandkids. They’ll be amazed at what you can do and will always remember who taught them. The same goes for skills like woodwork, which can be introduced through basic projects (i.e. not involving skillsaws!).


Otherwise, why not go for a walk and explore your local park or beach and collect things like leaves, flowers, shells, or stones and then use them in your creative projects. You’ll find plenty of tutorials or videos online for inspiration.


Arts and crafts can help your grandchildren express themselves, develop their fine motor skills, and boost their self-esteem.


Museums and Galleries

Museums and galleries are great places to while away time with your grandkids and a fun way to introduce them to topics like history, art, and science, as well as different cultures and perspectives, which can spark some meaningful (and often funny) conversations. Many museums and galleries in New Zealand are free and often offer child-friendly interactive activities, workshops, and tours over school holidays. You don’t have to be in a city to enjoy them either, many smaller towns have unique spaces showcasing art and/or historical artefacts. Check out your local council or tourism body’s website for starters.

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Just chat

Communication is the key to building a strong and lasting relationship with your grandkids. The longer, more relaxed days of summer provide the perfect opportunity to engage with them about their interests, hobbies, dreams, and challenges. In return, share your own stories and memories, which they’ll cherish as part of their family history. Not only will it bring joy and connection to you and your loved ones, you’ll also be laying the foundation of your own enduring legacy.


Photo of Vanessa Glennie
Written by:

Vanessa Glennie

Vanessa is Head of Communications at Lifetime Retirement Income. She’s an experienced investment writer, having spent more than a decade writing about financial markets in the global fund management industry.

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