Planning a Daytrip With Your Grandkids: How to Choose a Museum

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Some Good Grandparenting Tips

When you’ve got the grandkids for the weekend, you want to spend quality time with them, and taking them to a museum is a great way to do that. But not all museums were designed with kids in mind – pick the wrong one, and you could have some grouchy grandchildren.
Following is some advice about how to choose a museum your grandchildren will enjoy visiting.

Understand their interests

Children explore their world with their hands, so find a museum that offers hands-on activities. And remember that children of different ages will be interested in different things. For example, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a hands-on fabrication lab – the “Wanger Family Fab Lab” that offers different workshops to appeal to different age groups. Whereas teens enjoy the 60-minute 3D printing workshop, 8-year-olds are probably better suited to the 20-minute sticker-design course.

Static History vs. Living History

Museums can help children learn about history, but only if information is presented in a way that appeals to kids. Which would your grandchildren find more interesting: A butter churn, with a sign that describes how butter used to be made, or an actor dressed in colonial attire, using the butter churn and explaining how it works? Children will almost always be more interested in a living history museum than a history museum that features stationary objects behind glass windows. And at sites like the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Oklahoma, or the Pioneer Arizona Living History Museum, children can wander through re-creations of authentic old villages.

Best Bet: Children’s Museums

You can find museums across the United States that were designed specifically for children. Characterized by colorful, wide open spaces and plenty of hands-on experiences, children’s museums can keep kids entertained for hours. Some of these museums have so much to offer, they can’t be adequately explored in a single day, but they make great destinations for weekend excursions.

Regularly ranking among the top museums in the U.S. – and by far the largest – the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has a dinosaur exhibit called “The Dinosphere,” that allows kids to participate in fossil digs and see full-scale replicas of dinosaurs. You’d definitely need two days to cover the Dinosphere and the rest of the museum.

Plan Together

You may be perfectly content to stroll the halls of a museum for hours on end, but kids have shorter attention spans – and shorter legs – so you’ll need to plan your trip to accommodate them.

Once you’ve found a museum to take your grandchildren to, ask them to help you plan the trip. You can look at the museum’s website together and determine what exhibits they’d like to see, or what activities they’d like to do.

When you plan in advance, you’re less likely to get tangled up in fussy debates at the museum about how to spend your time. As you plan, look for nearby eateries where you can take the grandkids for lunch. (Many museums have cafes, but they tend to be a little pricy).

Finally, remember that everyone – yourself included – should wear comfortable walking shoes, because nothing ruins a day at the museum quite like aching or blistered feet!

Danielle has visited many museums throughout the U.S. that have helped her learn more about the country and its past – from the unconquered and unconquerable people of the Chickasaw Nation, to the evolution of NASA’s space program.

How Grandparents and Grandchildren can bond with a Scooby Doo Sleepover

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Every grandparent loves spending time with their grandchild. However, if your grandchildren are spending an entire night with you, you are going to need some fun activities that can keep all of your entertained and help promoting bonding to further build your relationships. Here are a few fun Scooby Doo themed games you can all play to have a fun filled night, learn more about each other and get your grandkids excited about the next sleepover at your house.


Scooby Snacks

Every grandchild, grandparent, and talking dog loves snacks. To stay in line with the night’s Scooby Doo theme, and to help keep everyone energized, happy and going throughout the night, you can cook Scooby Snacks. You can make Scooby Snacks by mixing up your favorite cookie dough. Carefully roll out cookie dough. You can use cookie cutter shapes like bones, diamonds (which is the same shape as Scooby’s dog tag), or even Great Dane shaped ones that you can decorate to look like Scooby. Before stamping each cookie, coat the cutter in flour so the dough doesn’t stick to the cutters. Now bake your cookies like you normally would, let them cool and add all of your favorite icings, candies and designs to have the perfect Scooby Snacks.
To make cookies that look like Scooby Doo, have a picture of him and one of his collar ready for your grandchildren to look at. You can use black frosting for the spots and a thin line of blue frosting or candies around the cookie dog’s neck to make it look like Scooby’s collar. With the other shapes, your grandchild can use other colors of frosting, sprinkles or any other edible treats to make their Scooby Snacks look just how they want.

Scooby Doo Scavenger Hunt

With a Scooby Doo Scavenger Hunt, your grandchildren can have an amazing time pretending that they are starring in their own episode of Scooby Doo. This scavenger hunt will probably be different than other ones that your grandchildren are used to because on some questions there will be multiple choices. To set up the game, create 10 clues, but on the third and seventh ones, there will be two answers. One of these will continue onward in the game, the other one will lead to a monster! For example, on the third one your clue could be:
“To find the next hint, you will have to search high and low in the place where things go to get cleaned.”
Then two answers could be in or under a bathtub, and by the hose outside because that is where you would clean a car, hose off a dog, or muddy grandchildren as they come back to your house. If they go to a wrong place, they get a drawing of a monster.

An example of something you could use for the seventh clue is:

“The villain is always hungry and searching for snacks; think of possibilities of where you think he found his last snack.
Then the eighth clue could be in your pantry, and there could be a monster on the shelf in your refrigerator
You could split into teams with grandchildren or grandparents, or just one grandchild vs. one grandparent. The monsters mean that the one team is out of the game, but if everyone gets a monster, then they can all start with the clue they were on and play through. If this is just for one grandchild, then they can start from the beginning and try to solve it differently when they encounter a monster. When someone wins, they can receive a reward like an extra Scooby Snack! Just make sure that if you are playing with young children, you don’t have any appliances running that could hurt them; for example, don’t send them looking around the kitchen if your oven is still hot from backing cookies, or into the laundry room if your washing machine is running.

Scooby-Movie-Doo

By now your grandchild should be fully in the Scooby Doo spirit. This would be a great time to share a gift with them, like a matching set of Scooby Doo pajamas that they can change into to fall asleep during the movie. Once everyone is comfortable, you can sit back and relax with the Scooby Doo movie. If you have Comcast as your TV provider, you can usually find one for free. If not, you can get it from somewhere like Amazon or Target for under $10. Now you and your grandchild can bond together and when they wear their pajamas they will remember the fun night at your house and be able to enjoy watching Scooby even more.

While spending time with your grandchildren is great, the idea of them staying over for the entire night can be daunting. Fortunately, by creating a fun themed night, you can help make their sleepover a memorable one full of mysteries, tasty treats and a fun movie. Themes like Scooby Doo can help grandparents and grandchildren bond and get them excited for another sleepover at your house.

About The Author

Ryan enjoys discovering ways to help parents and grandparents bond with their children, finding the perfect Scooby Doo Pajamas and kids robes to give as presents to his nieces and nephew, canoeing and skateboarding.