Advice for grandparents and grandkids: Go to the birds

Spending quality time with grandparents isn’t as common as it used to be. More often than not, both parents are out in the workforce, with little time in their busy schedules for visiting grandparents.

A journal to record bird sightings and other outdoor observations is a nature-oriented activity for grandparents and grandchildren.
A journal to record bird sightings and other outdoor observations is a nature-oriented activity for grandparents and grandchildren.

trend by sharing ways children can bond with their grandparents through nature.

The company’s store in Gig Harbor observed National Grandparents Day on Sept. 8 by inviting grandparents and grandchildren to build birdfeeders together. Materials were free for the event, which customers signed up for in advance.

Jim Ullrich, owner of the Gig Harbor franchise, also shared additional activities that grandparents can enjoy with their grandchildren while bonding through nature:

• Go on a Nature Walk – Enjoy a day of discovery by exploring a local park or forest preserve to learn what makes the natural areas unique and exciting. Along with a water bottle and some snacks, a few tools to enhance the experience could include a glass jar with holes poked into the lid to use for a bug trap, a field guide, a magnifying glass to discover new species of plants and animals and binoculars to locate small creatures.

• Participate in Bird Watching – Experience the exciting world of bird watching together. Visit a park or nature center where you can look for birds. Birding is about observing birds and their behaviors and listening to their songs. Many families participate in bird watching across generations, with grandparents and grandchildren often finding a shared interest when they bird watch together.

• Build a Bird Feeder – Creating your own bird feeder from basic everyday items you have around the home is a simple and fun activity. Attracting birds to your yard can bring hours of discovery and entertainment right to your window. The items you will need are; a clean, dry plastic milk jug, twine or a thin rope, two dowel rods 10” long, pen, scissors, ruler and bird seed. For downloadable assembly instructions go to;

• Create a Nature Journal – Make a journal with colored paper to represent the colors of nature.

The journal can be used to record outdoor observations and sightings which can include sketches of birds, insects, pressed flowers, leaf and tree rubbings and records of animal tracks. The natural curiosity of children makes them excellent candidates for nature journaling. It provides a healthy way to develop an awareness and appreciation of the natural world, while enhancing science, art, writing and research skills.

• Plant a Garden – Gardening can seem like magic to children and involving them in planting, weeding and watering offers a wonderful chance to spend time together. Planting a garden can help children develop important traits like creativity, responsibility, patience and wonder. Gardening together means companionship and a chance to talk about the day’s events, about friends, values and future plans.