100 Things You Can Teach Your Grandchildren

Share a tip, game, or skill that they'll remember forever.

By Stewart Coerver

You don’t have to be an expert in anything to impress a child with your knowledge, and leave an indelible impact. From tying a necktie to driving a car, here’s a list of things you can teach them that they’ll never forget.

1.Whistle. This simple skill tops the wish list for preschoolers everywhere. If your grandchildren already know how to whistle, teach them to use their fingers to make it extra-loud.

2. Spread icing on a cake. Show them how to spread icing smoothly on all sides to make it look just so. Get creative and pipe on some decorations, too. Don't forget to lick your fingers — and the bowl!

3. Dive. It's the coolest way to enter the pool. Help your grandchildren learn to use the proper technique and hit the water straight as an arrow. But remind them that diving is only for the deep end!

4. Grow a plant from seed.

5. Shoot a basketball like their idols. By middle school, many young cagers are ready and eager to shoot one-handed like their favorite players.

6. Tie a necktie. Grandsons will feel grown-up when they ditch clip-on ties for the real thing. Watch them practice and give pointers. Older kids likely don't know how to tie a real bow tie, a lost art and a classy touch — and one you'll teach them.

7. Paint fingernails and toenails.

8. Write a thank-you note. This is a skill your grandchildren can use for the rest of their lives. The simple appreciative gesture is fading fast.

9. Discover the wonders of the local library. Show your grandchildren all the amazing free things the library has to offer. Search on the computer for books they love and teach them how to use call numbers to locate them.

10. Jump rope. Young children love the simple joy of mastering this healthy activity. Teach older children how to jump double-dutch.

11. Make water defy gravity. Young grandchildren will be amazed by the simple trick of holding water in a straw by placing your thumb over the top.

12. Identify a bird by its features and call.

13. Make a bird feeder. Whether or not you are a carpentry whiz who can make one of the little wooden houses or a bird lover who uses a plastic bottle, bird crafts are fun and educational.

14. Shuffle cards the cool way. Every kid wants to learn the riffle shuffle.

15. Hit a baseball. If your grandchildren play T-ball, softball, or Little League, the fundamentals of hitting are the same. Watch their self-esteem grow with each base hit!

16. Blow on a dandelion and make a wish.

17. Swim all the strokes. Teach them the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and how to breathe as they swim freestyle.

18. Crochet a sweater or scarf.

19. Ride a two-wheel bicycle.

20. Putt a golf ball. Whether your family is made up of Arnold Palmers or of mini-golf lovers, teach them the art of the pure stroke.

21. Tie their own shoelaces.

22. Do push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and other exercises. Make healthy physical exertion fun. The younger kids start, the better.

23. Discover the world from home. Explain what a globe is, then spin it. Have your grandchildren stop it with their finger, and tell them about the country they landed on, including time, climate, and cultural specifics.

24. Make a hat out of newspaper.

25. Set the table. Get out your fine china and show them what a full place setting looks like, complete with all the accoutrements, and teach them how to elegantly fold a napkin, too.

26. Use good table manners. Teach your grandchildren what each piece of silverware is for and how to use it politely. Make this fun with a tea party (real or imaginary).

27. Shake hands firmly.

28. Eat with chopsticks.

29. Play with the garden hose. Show them how to use their thumbs to make the hose spray a wide arc or squirt a focused stream.

30. Practice photography. For grandchildren, who don't often get a chance to play with a real camera, share yours with them and point out which techniques make for good photos.

31. Shop for a discount. Show your grandchildren how to get more for less, whether you are buying fancy new shoes or just your weekly groceries.

32. Snap their fingers.

33. Pump their legs when they swing.

34. Use all those tools in the garage. Your grandkids may have no idea what the tools are for. Let them help you with a simple home-improvement project. The best way to learn is hands-on, after all.

35. Tell time on an analog clock with hour-and-minute hands.

36. Play a new card game. If your young grandchildren don't know any card games, start with War.

37. Assemble a jigsaw puzzle. Set the top right-side up so you can refer to the image as you go. Find all the straight edges that form the perimeter. Group together pieces clearly from the same area of the image. Your young grandchildren will love this stuff.

38. Show the basic movements of each piece on a chess board.

39. Tell a good ghost story.

40. Speak another language. Teach them all the different ways to say buenos dias and au revoir. After that, start them on colors and counting.

41. Throw a Frisbee. It's all in the wrist. Once they get down the basic backhand toss, there are other cool throws like the forehand and the hammer. Later, teach them how to play Frisbee golf.

42. Do crossword puzzles.

43. Solve a Sudoku puzzle.

44. Play a game of hangman. Play this simple game

almost anywhere, as long as you have a pen and a sheet of paper.

45. Play croquet in the backyard.

46. Play jacks. Forget video games; this classic game will fascinate your grandchildren. Bounce the ball, grab the jacks, and catch that ball!

47. Arrange a vase of flowers.

48. Make an ice cream soda.

49. Share basics of sailing. Impart the special vocabulary (aft, starboard, come about), explain how a boat harnesses the wind, and let their imaginations run wild with thoughts of nautical adventure.

50. Sound it out. Young children need an adult who will sit while they slowly read their first books. Grandparents always want more cuddle time. Win win!

51. Fold origami shapes.

52. Wrap a present elegantly.

53. Drive a car. Increase what the kids learn in drivers' ed, take them to an empty parking lot and let them show their stuff. If you can teach them how to drive a stick shift, so much the better.

54. Shoot pool. Demonstrate the best way to shoot the cue ball with a cue. Help them hold their hands the right way and strike the cue ball cleanly.

55. Make scary flashlight faces.

56. Tie different kinds of knots. If you're a former sailor, eagle scout, or boy scout pass on your knowledge. Teach them how to tie a slipknot, a butterfly knot, or a figure eight.

57. Declare a thumb war — one, two, three, four.

58. Draw better. Share tips on how to draw figures with sharper dimension and better detail.

59. Perform tricks with a yo-yo.

60. Bait a hook. When fishing with the grandkids, teach them how to bait a hook themselves.

61. Braid a friend's hair.

62. Use a compass to find the way.

63. Identify constellations in the night sky.

64. Train a dog. Introduce the kids to ways to have dogs respond to a simple task like "sit" or "fetch." It will also bond the grandchildren to the dog for life.

65. Throw fastballs, curveballs, and more. Share the tricks to make a pitch dip, dive, curve, or rise, and your Little Leaguers will thank you over and over.

66. Throw a football in a tight spiral.

67. Make a sandcastle. Show them how to make a castle that stands proudly.

68. Build a campfire.

69. Make a fire without matches or a lighter.

70. Play a musical instrument. Teach them the basics of your favorite instrument and see if they take to it.

71. Wash the car. This is one of life's great activities for kids: They learn how to wash a car, you both get all wet and have fun outside, and you get a clean car out of the deal!

72. Read music. Teach your future Mozarts the basics of how to read notes and measure time.

73. Tie a pretty bow. Young grandchildren hold this skill in very high regard. Bows decorate many things they hold dear: hair, presents, clothes, and shoes.

74. Do a cartwheel.

75. Twirl a hula hoop. Not only will your grandkids love learning to hula hoop, they will never forget the sight of you shaking your hips!

76. Whistle with a blade of grass. If you know how to do this, your grandchildren will be impressed. If you teach them to do it, they will remember it forever.

77. Juggle three or more balls.

78. Make play dough at home.

79. Show the steps to your favorite dance. If you are not exactly Fred Astaire, teach them something silly like the Hokey Pokey or the Chicken Dance!

80. Sing the lyrics to a Beatles' song.

81. Balance a spoon on your nose.

82. Cook eggs. There are a number of fun and easy tricks that grandkids can learn: crack the shell on the counter, separate the yolk from the white, make an omelet and fold it.

83. Make a star with a rubber band.

84. Catch fireflies. Catching these enchanting little creatures is one of those magical childhood memories that the grandkids should not miss.

85. Walk along the curb like it's a balance beam.

86. Make shadow puppets with your fingers.

87. Tell a joke. Help your grandchildren exercise their funny bones; give them pointers on making their punchlines sparkle.

88. Throw a piece of popcorn in the air and catch it in your mouth.

89. Blow a bubble with a piece of gum.

90. Teach a stock-market lesson. Give your grandchildren a few shares, real or imaginary, in a company (even a single share will do). Encourage them to keep track of how the stock is performing and talk to them about the factors at work.

91. Shoot a rubber band across the room.

92. Make a drinking glass sing by tracing the rim with a damp finger.

93. Play hopscotch. Get out the sidewalk chalk and introduce your grandchildren to this timeless game.

94. Create a flower necklace.

95. Fly a kite. Show your grandchildren how to run it out, give it slack, pull it taut, and manage the spool.

96. Make paper snowflakes.

97. Play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Kids love the simplicity of this game and will use it to settle almost any dispute.

98. Skip a rock across calm waters.

99. Amaze friends with simple magic tricks. Pull a rabbit from a hat, pull a quarter from behind their ear, or pull their nose off with a bit of deception. Whatever fun tricks you can impart, they will cherish.

100. Make guacamole. This delicious dip involves a little bit of seasoning and a lot of messy squishing. Let them use their hands (washed, of course).


But it's come to my attention that some people don't realize that the Groups are in the Community section b/c it doesn't say "Groups" next to the word "Community." So *if* you're looking for your old group(s) from the old site,, please be advised that they are IN THE COMMUNITY area. if you scroll up to the top of the page and click on Community, you'll come to a page that does, in fact, have the word "Groups" on it, quite prominently. You'll then see a list of group categories. Click on the appropriate one(s) and you'll find your group(s). That is, if they are among the 11 that were transferred over here... If you're looking for Grandparents Caring for Grandkids, for example, we're under the category of Grandparenting. If it's Mothers-in-Law Anonymous, then click on Family Matters. Etc.

rosered135 on 2012-09-12 23:04:49

Then again, some of this list might be especially helpful to "nanny grannies" (or "grampies," etc.). like myself, who watch their GC (grandchildren) frequently, And, of course, if you have custody of or have adopted your GC, for whatever reason, no matter how sad, the whole list is open to you. In fact, finding special activities to do with the GC is a subject that often comes up in my group, Grandparents Caring for Grandkids, also over in the Community section. We're a support group for frequent and fulltime GP (and other relative) caregivers. So if you're raising your GC (or other relative kids), helping to raise them or watching them several times a week and/or for long hours, while the parents work, etc., I'd love to have you come and join us! I think you'll find we're a very supportive, helpful, compassionate place! And if you were a member on the old site - yes, we're here - come on over and reach out to us again. (Please remember to log in, first, via the Login button to the top-right of the page, or you won't be able to post there or in any group.) Just click on Community (above) , then Grandparenting and you'll find us!

Rosered135. moderator, Grandparents Caring for Grandkids

rosered135 on 2012-09-12 03:39:50

This is a terrific list! However, as a grandmother, myself, I know there are certain lessons here that the parents may prefer to deal with or where a grandparent would, at least, do better to ask the parents' permission first. The mom might want to teach the kids how to write and thank-you note *her* way, for example. And driving a car? Hmmm... I'm thinking the parents might want to be present while their teenager practices that. I certainly would never take him or her out to drive w/o asking, not even in a parking lot! Even somethings as innocuous as introducing the child to wonders of the library, the parents might have been looking forward to doing. So I'd check first, cross my fingers, and, of course accept it, graciously, if the parents say "No."

In fact, this is an issue that often comes up in Mothers-in-Law Anonymous over in the Community sectiion - whether or not it's ok for a GP (grandparent) to share this/that first with a child or why a specific set of parents balked at the idea of doing so. We're a lively group of MsIL (mothers-in-law) and DsIL (daughters-in-law), along with some others, who will gladly try to help you solve your IL/family problem, if possible, or learn how to cope with it. No such problem is "too big" or "too small" for us to give it our attention. So if you're dealing with this kind of issue or are just interested in this popular topic, please come and join us! If you were already a member on the "old" GP.com, come on over - we're here and several of your fellow-posters have already begun talking to each other again. Just click on Community (above) and then Family Matters and you'll find us! Hope to see you there soon!

Rosered135, moderator, Mothers-in-Law Anonymous

rosered135 on 2012-09-12 03:27:59

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