1. Play silly charades, says Penny Warner, author of Kids’ Party Games & Activities (Meadowbrook, 1993). Fill out cards with offbeat suggestions, such as Santa Claus on a tropical vacation or a monkey trick-or-treating. Take turns writing or drawing a card and acting out the phrase.
2. Put on a play. Kids can make up their own dramas or reenact favorite movies and TV shows. Use old cast-off clothes to make costumes.
3. Hold a talent show. All the kids can show off their skills, whether it’s doing a cartwheel, telling a joke, or singing a song. This also can be an opportunity to get to know your grandchildren better
4. Turn your names into a game. Warner suggests drawing a grid of five boxes down and five across; put the first five letters of the child’s name across in the top five boxes and one category down the five side boxes. Set a timer and have the kids write down an object in each category that starts with the letter at the top of the column. For example, if the child’s name is Rebecca, and the category is “Animals,” she could write "Rhino" and then "Elephant." The winner is the person with the most boxes filled when time expires.
5. Make papier mache figures. Dip paper strips in a mix of white glue and water (or make your own paste from flour and water) and layer them to cover a balloon. "Any balloon with newspaper, flour and water can become a pig, butterfly, or family bust!" says San Francisco educator Lonna Corder
6. Make soap sculptures. Mix powdered Ivory laundry soap and water until it takes on a clay-like consistency. Mold it into fun shapes. The best part: Any spills clean up easily.
7. Make gross goo and slippery slime. Warner’s slime recipe is simple: one cup cornstarch mixed with one cup water. To make goo, mix one cup cold water and eight ounces of white glue in one bowl. Also mix one tablespoon liquid starch and one-half cup hot water in another bowl. Add a few drops of your favorite food coloring to the starch and combine the two mixtures. The fun thing about goo and slime is that they are messy! Save yourself from a big cleanup and play outside.
8. Turn your kitchen into a sculpture studio. Make your own clay: Mix four cups flour, one cup salt, and one-and-one-half cups water. Mold figures and bake them in a 250-degree oven for two to three hours until firm. Even easier, use a can of ready-to-bake rolls from the fridge, says Lisa Kothari, a party planner and author of Dear Peppers and Pollywogs ... What Parents Want To Know About Planning Their Kids' Parties (Peppers and Pollywogs, 2007).
9. Have a scavenger hunt. Sue Johnson, coauthor of Grandloving: Making Memories With Your Grandchildren (Heartstrings, 2007), suggests looking around the house for objects in different categories, such as something squishy or something green. Or hide wrapped candies for a treasure hunt, says Kothari.
10. Have a spa day at home with your granddaughters. Kothari says bring out all your nail polishes and give one another manicures and pedicures.
11. Cook happy-face pancakes together. Have the kids use blueberries or raisins for eyes, melon for mouths, and bananas for hats, says Johnson.
12. Let the kids make outrageous cookie creations. Start with a plain cookie dough and help the little ones mix in condiments and decorations found in your cupboards, says Kothari. Some of the cookies may not taste great, but that is all part of the fun. You may discover a future chef in your family.
13. Make a time capsule. Use any old plastic container with a lid. Put in a copy of the day’s front page and notes or drawings from the kids. Bury it and dig it up together for their next birthday or school graduation.
14. Introduce your grandchildren to old-school games. Find a piece of chalk and teach them hopscotch or use cocktail stirrers and show them how to play pickup sticks.
15. Entertain younger kids by blowing bubbles yourself. Mix one cup of water, two tablespoons of glycerin, and 4 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid for hours of playtime fun. Use a drinking straw as a blower, or twist a paper clip into a loop or even loop some florist wire into a hoop.
16. Make memory movies, says Johnson. Let the kids use a video camera to interview you and other members of the older generation about your lives. Turn the camera around and let them tell you stories about their often funny lives.
17. Create a superhero. Use paper, pencils, crayons, and markers to help kids make their own comic books.
18. Have make-your-own story time. Start a story and pass it on to one of the grandchildren to continue. That grandchild passes it on to someone else and so on. You never know where the stories will go.
19. Decorate pickle and mason jars. Make designs out of scraps of colored tissue paper to decorate the jars. The transparency of the tissue paper makes a nice effect. Paint on your creations with white glue to finish off this crafty keepsake