15 Creative Ways To Keep Your Grandkids Head Out Of The Phone During A Visit

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Kids today are consumed by their phones, so much so that they do not know how to be away from their devices for more than a few minutes at a time. Do you ever feel like your grandchild is a screen zombie who can barely even socialize? Do you worry they will resent you if you take away their phone? 

It sounds like they can use some old-fashioned fun with Grandma! (It’s even better for the soul than your homemade cookies, which is saying something.)

Keep your grandkids engaged, entertained, and away from their phone by planning one of these 15 creative screen-free activities:

1. Embark on a nature scavenger hunt

Four-leaf clover

Nature is an incredible place and one that is often overlooked in today’s screen-happy world. Make a list of things for your grandkids to find, a la leaves from different trees, a feather, or a smooth pebble. Doing this will not only keep them engaged but will also teach them to appreciate the beauty of nature.

2. Bake it up

Remember those delicious homemade cookies we talked about in the intro? Teach your grandkids how to make them! Whether you make those or whip up something else, you will be engaging in an educational (and delicious) activity that grows bonds and teaches measurements and patience.

3. Arts and crafts, oh my!

Craft projects like painting, clay modeling, or even paper-mâché can keep young minds engaged and hands busy. Bonus? It’s a great way to tap into their creative side.

4. Tend to a garden

Gardening with the family

Is there a better feeling than starting a garden from scratch and enjoying the (literal) fruits of your labor? I didn’t think so. Whether it’s planting a new flower bed or maintaining an existing one, gardening is a therapeutic activity that fosters patience and an appreciation for nature. And who knows? They might even develop a green thumb!

5. DIY Photoshoot

Use your camera or phone (in this case, it is allowed) to create a fun photoshoot. (I have lots of thoughts and ideas on this here!) Your grandchild can dress up, choose a location, and pose as a creative way to keep them busy and have lovely photos to cherish at the end.

6. Organize a shadow puppet show

When the sun goes down, spark your grandchild’s imagination by creating a shadow puppet show! This may sound daunting, but all you need is a flashlight and your hands, and maybe even some homemade paper puppets. (It may not be shadow puppets per se, but I have lots of tips and tricks for putting on the perfect puppet show.)

7. Set up a backyard camping adventure

Camping outside

I am not a camper – unless it is in the backyard with my grandkids 😉 If your grandkids are new to camping, you can use this opportunity to teach them to set up a tent, make a (pretend) campfire, and share scary stories under the stars.

8. Invent a new language or code

Grandmas and their grandkids have a special relationship, so why shouldn’t we have a special code to go with it? Challenge your grandchild’s creativity and language skills by creating a secret language or code. After it’s developed, you can write secret messages to each other and have fun deciphering them.

9. Build a fairy garden or dinosaur land

Based on their interest, you and your grands can create a miniature magical fairy garden or a prehistoric dinosaur land with small figurines, plants, and homemade props. Not only is the outcome magical, but it is also a great way to encourage their imagination and creativity.

10. Make homemade soaps or candles

Making homemade soap bars

Who doesn’t love the smell of homemade soap or candles? You can engage your grandchild in a fun and practical chemistry lesson by making these lovely home adornments. Your grandkids are guaranteed to enjoy the process of mixing, molding, and waiting for their creation to set, and they’ll have a lovely handmade item to take home.

11. Write and illustrate a book

Is there anything better than making something from scratch with your grandchild? While baked goods apply, so do stories and books! Create a unique story where your grandchild is the main character, and then illustrate the book. Not only is this a fun activity, but it promotes creative writing and drawing skills and can result in a cherished keepsake.

12. Introduce a new hobby

What will it be: Knitting? Woodworking? Embroidery? The possibilities are absolutely endless when it comes to fun hobbies!

13. Create an insect hotel

Trapping insects with a jar

If you have a grandchild who “bugs” out over insects, they are guaranteed to get a kick out of creating a hotel for creepy crawlies. Use natural materials to build a small structure designed to attract beneficial insects, a la ants, roly polys, or the like.

14. Learn a magic trick together

Find instructions for simple magic tricks and spend time mastering them. Once they have the hang of it, your grandchild can perform their trick for other family members, boosting confidence and public speaking skills.

15. Make and fly a kite

Kites and childhood go hand in hand, so spend some time crafting a one-of-a-kind creation with your grand! Once the kite is built and decorated, you can head out on a breezy day to test its flight capabilities.


There you have it: 15 activities that will have your grandkids so busy that they won’t even miss their phone! Have fun with it, Grandma – and enjoy those grandbabies!!!

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