A grandparent can be a tough person to buy a Christmas gift for. Likewise, many grandparents are stumped on what to get the kids besides some cash.
Why not make your Christmas gift something you both want more of: more time together making memories.
We asked several kids what they would like to do with their grandparents as a shared gift experience and the answers were touching and funny. With their guidance we came up with six ways a grandparent or grandchild can give each other the gift of a shared escapade.
Cook a family favorite
Sean Cleary, 9, said his grandmother taught him to make ham and eggs recently and he thinks a set appointment to learn to make some of her best meals would be a gift they both would love. "I want her to show me how to make a steak. And potatoes. And green beans." Don’t let your grandkids regret never getting your recipe for your famous cookies or the classic mac and cheese that’s at every family gathering.
Lameya Johnson, 11, said she loves to make necklaces and thinks it would be fun for her and her grandmother to make them together. "I have this big kit with different beads and you can make your name, or you could make bracelets out of it." Not only can you teach each other how to make your favorite craft, you get a memento from it. Some other crafts to teach or learn together in a class include the super-trendy old-school crafts that have become cool again, such as knitting, sewing, making quilts and crochet. Consider taking a class together to learn to paint or make pottery.
Play a game across the miles
You don’t have to live in the same town as your grandkids to play a nice game of chess anymore. You can play a two-person game over the computer while chatting. Websites like grandparentgames.com let you see and hear each other with your webcams and microphones while playing games. You could also use Skype or Apple’s FaceTime to chat while playing online games together. There are numerous sites with free two-person games to play online. Or take a page from the gamers and hook up an Xbox 360 headset or Kinect sensor, and then sign in to Xbox Live to chat while you both play a game of Minecraft together. Microsoft announced last year that it will no longer make Xbox 360 consoles, but will keep supporting the hardware and Xbox Live. That means you can pick up a machine, which turned 10 years old last November, for less than $100 used. It’s a good choice if your grandchild already has an Xbox 360 or the new Xbox One, which allows users to play Xbox 360 games through backward compatibility and chat with 360 users while on Xbox One.
Go to your favorite place
Lakewood High School student Jorden Pompey, 17, said he would make an outing to his grandfather’s favorite place: the racetrack. And Paris McDougle, 17, shows why teenagers have an advantage over younger grandchildren: "I’d be the designated driver and take my grandparents out to dinner." A favorite place could be anything from a nice park to a fun farmers market.
Take a trip
Ganila Owens, 10, said that if her North Carolina grandparents came to visit, she’d take them to Clearwater Beach. "That’s a good place to see the dolphins," she said. She also would love to visit Busch Gardens or Disney World, especially since her birthday falls on New Year’s Eve and the parks have extra-festive fireworks that night. Consider planning a trip together. Websites like Undercover Tourist have vacation planning tools and recommendations for top cities, theme parks and ski resorts. Or consult your travel agent for recommendations on kid-friendly destinations. You can spend time planning the trip beforehand, and maybe sneak in some lessons in history, geography and budgeting.
Take advantage of a museum deal
The first Tuesday of each month brings free admission from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Glazer Children’s Museum, so you could plan an outing that day to visit the hands-on museum in Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park. The surreal paintings at the Salvador Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg are popular with all ages, and on Thursdays, admission after 5 p.m. is cut in half to $10 for ages 13 and older, $8 for ages 6 to 12 and free for those 5 and younger. (727) 823-3767. thedali.org. At the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, on Thursdays, admission is $5 after 5 p.m. Kids 6 and younger are always free. And right now the MFA has a kid-friendly exhibit called "Star Wars and the Power of Costume," with more than 60 original costumes from the Star Wars films. It runs through April 1 and is a separate timed ticket of $25, $18 ages 7 to 17, free for children 6 and younger, which includes admission to the other galleries. 255 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. (727) 896-2667. mfastpete.org. The best part? Costumes are encouraged.
Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.