5 Low-Key Activities Kids Can Do With Grandparents

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Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 13th, and we know that there’s nothing quite like the experience of grandparents joining their grandchildren in a learning adventure. We’ve found some of the best opportunities for the multi-generational family members to enjoy in Portland in September. Read on for five fun and low-key activities for all ages.


photo: Woodworking with Grandpa by Ms. Schreiber via Creative Commons

Build a Football Toss Game
Select Home Depot locations offer free monthly workshops for kids with an adult that includes all the supplies and instructions needed. On Saturday, Sept. 5, the project is building a Football Toss Game. The child takes home the project, receives a certificate of achievement, a workshop apron and a commemorative pin. Six locations around town are offering this workshop. Register online in advance. Sat., 9 a.m.-noon, ages 5-12, free.

E Portland Mall, 10120 SE Washington St., Portland, 503-261-8543
S Beaverton, 4401 SW 110th Ave., Beaverton, 503-469-4242
Beaverton, 13700 NW Science Pk Dr., Portland, 503-646-1525
Clackamas, 9300 SE 82nd Ave., Happy Valley, 503-774-6342
Jantzen Beach, 1728 N Tomahawk Island Dr., Portland, 503-289-9200
NE Portland, 11633 NE Glen Widing Dr., Portland, 503-252-0188
Online: homedepot.com

Learn to be a Lumberjack
Lumberjacks and lumberjills of all ages can enjoy the World Forestry Center.  Head into the Discovery Museum to learn about Oregon’s forest industry, logging and sustainability. Fun rides and photo ops will make it a day to remember, and it tends to be the least crowded option of the Washington Park attractions (not to mention inexpensive). Open 7 days/week, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $5 admission for all ages over 2.

4033 SW Canyon Rd.
Online: worldforestry.org

photo: My Masterpiece Art Studio by Kristy R. via Yelp

Paint Like Van Gogh
My Masterpiece Art Studio offers kids and adults the opportunity to create mini masterpieces in the style of famous artists using non-toxic materials. On Friday, Sept. 11, get inspired by artist Vincent van Gogh as you paint a terracotta bowl with sunflowers. Classes are kept small and reservations via phone are required. Other art classes (including Open Studio for all ages) are available if Friday doesn’t work or if your mini master is a bit older. Fri., Sept. 11, 10:30- 11:10 a.m., ages 2-5, $10.

7905 SW Cirrus Dr.
Online: mymasterpieceartstudio.com

See a Play
Grandparents can sit down, take a load off and enjoy the magic of theater with their favorite little ones. Once Upon a Time Family Theatre performs familiar tales with an exciting twist to keep things interesting. This month’s performance is a Grimm’s Fairy Tale classic, Jorinda’s Song.  After the play, the audience is invited to play in an engaging arts and crafts class called Art In the Wings. Tickets are available at the door, by phone or online. Sat., Sept. 5, noon-2 p.m., all ages, $1/child and $2/adult (performance), additional $1/child and $2/adult (Art In the Wings).

Portland Metro Arts
9003 SE Stark St.
Online: pdxmetroarts.com


photo: Oregon Rail Heritage Center by Sam Churchill via Creative Commons

Ride a Train
Grandparents and their choo-choo-loving grandbabies can take a leisurely and scenic Saturday train ride along the Willamette River, next to the busy Springwater Trail and through Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Riders can climb aboard at either the station nearest Oaks Amusement Park or the Oregon Rail Heritage Center (ORHC). Each ride lasts about 40 minutes and travels between the two stations, with a 10-minute layover. Riders can choose to come right back or catch a later train. Trains depart hourly 12-5 p.m. from Oaks Park and from the ORHC every hour from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Tickets are sold onsite at boarding time. Sat., noon-5 p.m., all ages, $5/person, children under two years ride for free.

Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way
Oregon Rail Heritage Center, 2250 SE Water Ave.
Online: portlandtrainrides.com

What do you like to do when the grandparents are visiting? Let us know in the comments below!

— Marianne Walters