Today’s blog post is written by one of DeeDee’s oldest friends, Mimi Sherry.
As this grandparenting journey continues, I am always seeking ways to be intentional with my family. A few years ago, I began giving experience-type gifts to my children's families. A typical gift has been a yearly membership to their local zoo or a museum the whole family might enjoy. When my husband and I visited, we could go along and get to see them enjoy the gift. I usually asked for suggestions since I didn't live in their areas.
This year, my husband and I live near some of our grandchildren. As we were thinking about Christmas gifts, I came up with the idea of giving my three oldest grands, who are siblings and range in age from 10 to 6, an Adventure Box. My husband and I came up with about 7-10 ideas for day trips in our area. Some of the outings were trips to a few local parks with playgrounds, a military museum, and indoor playground, a trip to the movie theater, and an air and space museum. My husband is a veteran, and we wanted to share that aspect of our lives with them. We also included some fun restaurants and dessert shops.
We wrote them on strips of card stock and placed them in a little tin box. The plan is that once a month, one of the children will draw an adventure from the box, and we will plan the outing. We tried to keep the ideas simple ones that would take about half of the day including lunch. Our goal is to get to share these days with them and build memories together. We didn't want them to be costly or too elaborate, especially since we aren't able to include all our grands in these trips; two are too young, and two live in another state. These grands are homeschooled, so Fridays are usually good days to plan an adventure.
It has been harder to coordinate our schedules than I anticipated, but it's worth the time. An added benefit is that our daughter gets a few hours of free time on these adventure days! It’s always fun to get to help your adult child too.
We ate lunch at McDonald's on our first outing, which started us off with many laughs. We headed to the 45th Infantry Museum here in Oklahoma City and made quick progress through the exhibits. As we looked at the static exhibits outside, we noticed a driving range across the fence, and many golf balls were discovered on the ground. The kids started having a golf ball hunt, and we all enjoyed filling our pockets with balls. Their mom could decide if the balls would be kept (or not).
We stopped for a cookie and then a short stop at the local university where my husband and I met. The kids wanted to hear how and where we met and how Papa John proposed. It was fun sharing this part of their family history with them. The day wasn't all planned. We went with the flow as the adventure progressed. Some of the most fun was in the moments that weren't in the original plan. I think the point is to be flexible and know that the plan for the day is just a starting point. The kids probably enjoyed the spontaneous moments the most. We sang and danced in McDonald's, sat out in the sun eating our cookies and relived our courtship story for them.
Whether you live near your grandchildren and can go on these adventures with them or live in another area, you can make this idea fit your situation.
Mimi Sherry and Papa John live in Edmond, Oklahoma and love getting to spend time with their seven grands. We hope this fun idea might be helpful to you as you invest in your family.