~By Kelli Nulty, One Senior Place Altamonte Springs, Receptionist~

These days “free” is a word that gets everyone’s attention.  Grandparents love to spend quality time with their grandkids and finding ways to do this for free or inexpensively are just a bonus! I would like to share some tried and true activities that my own parents have done with our children.

Do you have a talent for cooking?  How about opening your own cooking school for your grandchildren?  Just choose an age appropriate recipe, make several copies and have the necessary implements and ingredients ready.  Your grandchildren will learn kitchen safety, measuring and you will get to eat what you’ve made together!

Take a stroll.  Save your stale bread or crackers and take it to your local lake.  There are sure to be ducks that you can feed.  Kids love this and you can make an afternoon of it by packing a picnic lunch!

 Play board games together. This is a great way to spend a couple of fun filled hours with children of all ages and create more memories.  Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Sorry or card games such as Crazy Eights, Old Maid or Snap are just a few games to have on hand when the kids come over.

Visit your local library.  Your local library is sure to have a story time for all ages.  Many libraries also provide story time especially designed for children with special needs. Story programs are fun and can feature books, music, movement, puppets, science activities and crafts to encourage early literacy skills.

Have a photo shoot.  Go around your house and collect accessories and props such as hats, old clothes and funky stools or chairs.  Set a room up as your temporary photo studio by hanging up a sheet, bringing in some lamps for lighting.  Use a digital camera and let your grandkids take turns being models and photographers.  You can easily print the pictures out at home or just run your camera up to your local drug store to get them instantly printed, then you can all laugh as look through the photos and have a souvenir of your fantastic photo session!

Get out the crayons! You’re never too old to color.  This is a great way for both you and your grandchildren to express your creativity.  You can draw your own pictures on plain paper, get a couple inexpensive coloring books at the dollar store or go to your computer and print out free coloring pages on any number of kid-friendly websites.  It means so much to kids when you will sit and color with them and what a wonderful time to get to talk and really get to know one another!

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