Your kids may have left the nest, but for many boomers and seniors, the pitter-patter of little feet means the grandkids will be visiting this summer.

So the pressure is on. It’s not enough to just be doting Grandma and Grandpa, you also need to be a genial host, tour guide and activities director. You might want to take some advice from someone who knows.

“I’ve been a grandmother for 26 years,” says Sally Wendkos Olds, the Port Washington-based author of “Super Granny: Great Stuff to Do With Your Grandkids” (Sterling Publishing, $14.95). “People, especially new grandparents, were interested in hearing some of the things I’ve been doing with my grandchildren.”

Olds’ book combines ideas from her own experiences with her five grandchildren with success stories of other grandparents.

The book breaks down activities by age, from infancy (there are even some pre-birth things to do) to adolescence. The book also takes into account that grandparents have differing financial and physical abilities.

Accordingly, many activities include icons that indicate both how much money and energy you will need to expend.

There are such classic activities as treasure hunts, cooking and drawing, and some ideas that are far from routine.

For example, Olds tells the story of one grandfather who told his grandkids, ages 2 and 4, “No one gets to start eating dinner until he or she has eaten his or her dessert.” The “eat dessert first” rule left the kids astonished and joyful. Olds advises you to check with Mom and Dad before you try this.

For Olds, this book is the latest chapter in a career that has seen her publish books on breast-feeding, working parents and human development. “It seems as if I went right through my life cycle,” she says.

While the book is aimed at activities grandparents all over the country can do, Olds offered Newsday some ideas that were local hits with her grandchildren.

Among them are the Blumenfeld Family Park in Port Washington, a day at the Sands Point Preserve, the Long Island Children’s Museum and, of course, the beaches.

And even when the grandkids aren’t kids anymore, there are still things to do and hours of fun. Olds says she likes to take her oldest grandchild, Stefan, now 26, out for breakfast where the two can connect as peers. “It’s really a joy to relate to him as another adult,” she says.

This article was published May 18, 2009 in Newsday

© Sally Wendkos Olds 2003

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