Tech Free Fun Things To Do

Aug 7, 2022 by

Tech Free Fun Things To Do

by Janet Esposito

(Visit www.grandparentuniversity.com to learn how to be a techie in no time!)

Technology has invaded nearly every part of our daily lives. Beyond the need to be on our smartphones constantly, we have all kinds of smart appliances and devices that consume a big part of life today. Unfortunately, this virtual world has replaced a lot of the real world we used to inhabit. We shop online instead of going to stores, we read on a tablet instead of holding a book, we go on Facebook instead of calling, to catch up with friends, and there are even smart toothbrushes now that pulse when you need to switch sides. But with this reliance on technology, we miss out on a big part of what it means to be human beings – the joy of being together and the inherent satisfaction of creating something with your own two hands.

  1. Play with your food!
  • Kids today are so separated from where their food comes from, it’s like a foreign world to them. Try starting your own herb or vegetable garden together or visit a local farm that allows you to pick your own produce. Not only is it a great education in how we grow our food, kids can really understand the amount of work that goes into food production. And don’t forget the best part – eating it!
  • Kids love to cook, but many today aren’t given the independence to practice this skill. Find simple recipes and offer some lessons on the basics, but let the kids experiment and make mistakes. Making mistakes is how we learn, and we do our grandchildren a disservice by not providing them with the space they need to learn.
  1. Volunteer together!
  • Whether it’s baking for the annual bake sale at your local library, cleaning up the local watershed, or fundraising for a national charity – try finding a cause that you can all participate in. It’s important for kids to understand they are part of a community and that we are all responsible for protecting and caring for where we live.
  • Look into your local animal shelter on the requirements of being a foster parent. Often these shelters need families to take in pets for a couple of weeks. This can be the perfect opportunity for kids to hone their caretaking skills, learn responsibility, and work together with you to provide for these visiting loved ones.
  1. Get crafty!
  • Get ahead of the holiday season and begin planning your gifts now. As you know, parents love gifts created by the hands of their little ones. So why not imprint their little hands in the gift? Get a plain men’s tie and a tote bag from your local arts and crafts store, add some fabric paint and let out their inner artists.
  • Cos-play is huge right now. Kids go to events dressed up as their favorite characters in incredibly sophisticated homemade costumes. This is not the quickly-thrown-together Halloween costumes of our youth. These are highly detailed, well-made costumes that you can’t buy in a store. For those of us skilled in the ancient art of sewing, this is a great opportunity to connect with your grandkids by incorporating their interests in your lives together.
  1. Learn something new – together!
  • Activities that are new to everyone can offer an opportunity to bond and grow together. Whether you take golf lessons, try your hand at a bowling league, or learn the ukulele – seek out activities that you will all enjoy. The most important part is that you are equally outside your comfort zones. This is a great chance for grandparents to model how to tackle the unfamiliar and learn from mistakes.
  1. Explore!
  • Look into what theatrical plays are in your area. Whether it’s a local community theater company, or a national tour, kids need to see a play in real life to understand the magic of the theater. Unlike the polished, packaged experience of the movies, theater is much more personal and visceral.
  • Find out what exhibits are in rotation at your local museum and explore the local history of your community. Because community is such an important part of the human experience, learning about the history of where you live can be a transforming experience for kids. Making the connection to their real world makes history come to life.

You might want to try to coax your grandkids to leave their cellphones in the car or at home whenever you suggest some of these or other activities. At first, resistance might be strong, but over time, they may even enjoy being freed from the electronic leash.

As the world becomes somehow smaller as we become more connected, the world of our kids has become smaller in many ways as well. They are constantly being protected – from hurting themselves, from strangers, from making mistakes, from the unknown. In exchange we have built them a virtual world that keeps them safe but doesn’t allow them to live life to the fullest. As grandparents, we must work to provide them the safe space they need to make mistakes, to experiment, to explore, and to grow in the real world too. J.E.