Kristopher M. Struckmeyer, Ph.D. Assistant State Specialist for Caregiving, OSU Extension
March is a wonderful time of year, ushering in the start of spring. This is a time many school children are looking forward to as they will be out of school for Spring Break. With rising costs of child care, grandparents may volunteer to watch their grandchildren. The internet is full of getaway deals for exciting destinations, such as Disneyworld. However, many of these options may not be budget friendly. So, what are some budget-friendly ideas?
- Get the children out of doors! Fresh air and sunshine are great ingredients for outdoor fun. A great way to play with your grandkids is to share with them the games you played as a child, as well as tried-and-true games such as kickball or a scavenger hunt. City parks are a great place to visit for some outdoor fun. You can walk along the trails or let your grandkids play on the playground.
- What if it rains? We all know that the weather can be unpredictable, so it is always good to have a backup plan. You can play board games, have an indoor scavenger hunt, play cards, or even bake something delicious to share later! Watercolors are a great way to let your grandchild express their creative side.
- Take a hike! Oklahoma has numerous gorgeous hiking trails that can be fun for the whole family. Lake McMurtry has several trails that you can hike, as well as Boomer Lake.
- Educational activities can also be fun. Oklahoma State University’s botanic gardens offer walking trails and beautiful garden displays. You can also take a road trip to the Tulsa area which has the Tulsa Children’s Museum Discovery Lab, as well as the Tulsa Zoo, or the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks.
As you start to create your itinerary, remember that you do not have to have every moment planned. A good way to maximize your grandkids’ enjoyment is to get some input from them, what are some activities they would like to do? Also, leaving some time open for “free play” can allow your grandchild (and you) some time to do what they would like to do on their own.
Spring break can be a time of great fun for both grandparents and grandchildren, but it is also important to warn you about the possibility for scams. With many students traveling over the holiday, scammers are calling grandparents pretending to be their grandchildren. Typically, the “grandchild” has been in some kind of accident or has been arrested and asks the grandparent not to tell their parents. To avoid possible scammers, here are two tips:
- Do not pick up the phone if you do not recognize the number – if it is important, they will leave a message.
- In a real emergency, the parents would be called first. Always check in with your grandchild or their parent before you take any action.
About Aging Advocates
Aging Advocates, a group of area businesses and agencies in the Payne County area meet monthly to advocate for older adults. From their experiences, they innovate ideas and raise awareness of older adult issues. It is important to look at the developing needs of the aging population and support, educate, and identify services valuable to a life fully lived.