Much like parents, grandparents play an important role in families. They’re family historians and teachers of hobbies, and they oftentimes serve as an escape from the strictures of everyday routines. On Sept. 13, spend National Grandparents’ Day celebrating with loved ones.
Go on a scavenger hunt
Whether it’s in the backyard or at a nearby park, take your grandchildren on a scavenger hunt. It can be as simple as looking for different species of birds or flowers, or searching out previously hidden objects with clues around the yard.
Tell family stories
Grandparents are the history keepers. Pass down stories from your childhood, or talk about how children were raised when you were your grandkid’s age. It’s something they’ll treasure forever.
Learn a new game
Learning a new game is not only a great way to pass the time, but it’s also good for brain function. Whether it’s an old favorite like bridge, rummy or old maid, or a new board game, both grandparents and grandchildren will have fun.
Bake a favorite dish
Have a secret family recipe, a favorite dish served at holiday gatherings, or a culturally significant cuisine? Teach your grandchildren the secrets to making a dish turn out just right, like maybe that hint of nutmeg or letting it set in the refrigerator for a few hours. They’ll savor the memories for years.
Build a birdhouse
Whether it’s made of Popsicle sticks and glue, or carefully crafted in a wood shop, a birdhouse adds some wonderment to any front or back yard. Fill it with birdseed, and watch the birds flock to it.
Plant something together
Fall is a wonderful time to plant—the soil is still warm enough to allow the roots to take, and they’ll continue growing in the spring. Plus, there’s less rain, making it easier on gardeners. Try planting spring bulbs, and watch as they poke out of the ground months later. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach and radishes thrive in cooler weather. Or plant a tree that will be there for years to come.
Marvel at the creatures of the ocean at the aquarium. See sharks swim—with the opportunity to touch one—and visit the penguins and hippos. Also, check out the Dinosaurs of the Deep exhibit to learn about prehistoric marine reptiles. 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, (856) 365-3300, www.adventureaquarium.com.
Grandparents’ Day Brunch in Franklin Square
Franklin Square is hosting a brunch buffet for grandparents and their grandchildren, where grandparents will receive a complimentary ride on the carousel. $25. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. 200 N. Sixth St., Philadelphia, (215) 629-4026, www.historicphiladelphia.org.
Enjoy the fresh air and a little exercise while you look for hidden art and try to decipher the attached riddles during the Sculpture Scavenger Hunt, on display through October. Or simply watch the trains circle round in the Summer Garden Railway exhibit, featuring miniature historic buildings, on display daily through Sept. 7 and then on weekends through Oct. 11. Morris is offering $3 off youth admission for those who bring a grandparent. 100 E. Northwestern Ave., Philadelphia, (215) 247-5777, www.morrisarboretum.org.
National Museum of American Jewish History
Admission is free for Grandparents’ Day. Check out the special exhibit, Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and Friends: The Art of Bernard Waber, running until Nov. 1, and read a book together. 101 S. Independence Mall East, Philadelphia, (215) 923-3811, www.nmajh.org.
This fall, the Philadelphia Zoo welcomes the big cats. Snow leopards, jaguarundis, white-nosed coatis, and red pandas join the other animals in the Carnivore Kingdom exhibit, open through October. 3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia, www.philadelphiazoo.org.
Please Touch Museum
The Please Touch Museum offers two unique and fun exhibits through Nov. 22. Flight Fantasy allows kids to simulate flying, rowing, or playing hopscotch on a cloud. Space Station ups the stakes on dress-up. Children can don astronaut outfits, build rockets, and view a Star Wars-themed collection. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia, (215) 581-3181, www.pleasetouchmuseum.org.
Wayne Art Center
Stroll along as you teach your grandkids about some famous works of art. For Inside Out, 60 replicas of pieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection will be scattered within walking distance of one another throughout Wayne and other towns until Nov. 15. 413 Maplewood Ave., Wayne, (610) 688-3553, www.wayneart.org.