Old-Fashioned Fun and Games

No Electronics or Even Electricity Required

You don't have to have a video game console to have fun with your grandkids. Just remember the old-fashioned games and other fun activities that you did as a kid. It's almost certain your grandchildren will love these activities too. And don't forget — grandparents never outgrow their need for play!

of 10

Skip a Rope

jump rope rhymes
Cuellar via Photopin cc

You might think you've forgotten the jump rope rhymes of your youth, but they will all come back to you as soon as you begin to read these classics. All you need for classic jump rope fun is one long rope with a person on each end, plus one person to jump. If you are short one person, you can tie one end to something that is about waist high or you can use a single-person jump rope. Besides the fun factor, the grandchildren will be getting a good cardio workout. If you are an extra fit grandparent, you might want to take a turn jumping, but it's also okay just to turn the rope.

of 10

Fly Away

Black father and son flying paper airplanes
KidStock / Blend Images / Getty Images

There's something magical about things that fly, and flying toys will teach the grandkids about physics as well. These flying toys that you make or put together teach other skills as well. Indoors, make paper airplanes or helicopters. Outdoors, try kites, parachutes and airplanes that are powered by rubber bands. For flying adventures outside, look for areas that are free of trees, light poles and other obstructions. You won't have much money invested, though, so if you lose an "aircraft" or two, it's no big deal. 

of 10

Play Ball

old-fashioned ball games to play with grandchildren
Hero Images / Getty

Remember “Flies and Grounders”? It's just one of many games to play with just a ball. Teach one of these to the grandchildren, and they'll never again be bored on a sunny day. Some of these are best played with tennis balls, small rubber balls or softballs. Some games require the larger playground balls. And don't overlook the fun of simply tossing or bouncing a ball back and forth. No matter what you end up doing, the grandkids will have a ball.

of 10

Run, Hop or Swing

red light green light classic game for grandchildren
Robert Decelis Ltd / Getty Images

Most grandparents have fond memories of classic outdoor games like tag, hopscotch and Swing the Statue. Try teaching one of these games to the grandchildren. They are cheap, easy and fun, and the kids will get their exercise. You will, too, if you choose to play with them. But there is usually some need for a coach, line judge or referee if you don't run, hop and swing quite like you used to. Have the grandkids in the evening? Try a lively game of flashlight tag.

of 10

Play Cards

Jupiter Images / Getty

You don't need game boards or special decks of cards to have fun with the grands. All you need is one deck of cards to play old-fashioned games like Snap, Go Boom, Authors and Go Fish. Almost all card play involves math, but you'll also be teaching logic and improving memory and concentration. Grandparents will get a good brain workout, too. Dedicated card players will want to sneak in a lesson or two about the conventions of card playing. Since card playing is a true lifelong activity, it pays to start the grandkids off right.

of 10

Take a Turn for the Verse

poem about swinging to share with grandchildren
Mint Images/ Tim Pannell / Getty Images

Remember the classic Robert Louis Stevenson poem "Swing"? Your grandchildren will find it almost as much fun as ... swinging. Take a look at it and four more famous poems that the grandkids will love. One is a little-known delight that has an irresistible rhythm. Two are famous nonsense poems, and one is a little bit spooky. Your grandkids' English teachers will love you for fostering a love of words. Want to go a step further? Teach the grandchildren how to write a poem for someone. 

of 10

Play Mind Games

brain teasers for grandchildren will make them think
Sally Anscombe / Getty Images

For years the older generation has enjoyed trying to stump the younger generation. The tradition continues with this selection of brain teasers and mind games. The collection starts with riddles and ends with three classic "river crossing" puzzles, a type of brain teaser that is over a thousand years old. These games will provide a nice break from electronic amusements, and they can be played almost anywhere. The dictionary game, for example, makes a great road trip game, and you don't even need a dictionary!

of 10

Find the Treasure

kids' treasure hunt outdoors
Carol Yepes / Getty Images

Everyone loves treasure, even if the pieces of eight are fake. Find out how to lead the grandchildren on a fun treasure hunt, using ready made clues so you don't have to work too hard on preparation. The clues are in the form of riddles, so the grandchildren will get a mental workout, too. This hunt is designed to take place outdoors, but we have an equally fun hunt that is designed with clues for indoors. 

of 10

Throw Things

grandson playing washers
S. Adcox

Games that involve throwing things have a built-in fun factor. If you have a sandy place in the yard, teach the grandkids to play washers, marbles or horseshoes. Bocce and ladder ball are good lawn games, and they are among the best games for all generations, as well as being fun at family reunions. The old-fashioned game of jacks is a good indoor or outdoor game. No matter which game you choose, the grandchildren will be improving their physical coordination, learning real world math as they keep score and learning good sportsmanship. That's a win-win-win!

of 10

Read a Book

Grandmother With Granddaughter Learning to Read
Sam Edwards / Caiaimage / Getty Images

The great thing about reading with grandkids is that it's not only enjoyable but also one of the best brain boosters for kids. To make it really special for your grandchildren, choose a book that their mom or dad enjoyed, like Corduroy, or even one that you liked as a child. If you can do special voices, that's a bonus. It's especially fun to read a book about grandparents and grandchildren.