Grandparenting: learn how to understand a child’s world

By Bruce Caughey, OLLI at DU Instructor ~

There is nothing better than being a grandparent. Even if you don’t have your own grandkids, you can always find a way to be an important adult in a child’s life. It’s worth it to you and to the child.

But where do you begin to understand what motivates a child? First, be sure to ask. I know our almost- 7-year-old granddaughter does not fit the mold exactly. We appreciate learning about her interests and then finding something we can all enjoy doing. She loves horseback riding, dinosaurs, and night walks with a headlamp!

The easiest way to engage her in dinosaurs is to head straight to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Who knew that the Denver Basin preserves one of the best records of the extinction of the dinosaurs from 66 million years ago?  Dinosaur fossils have been found all over the metro area, including a T-Rex that was discovered in Littleton in 1992. And then there is the Thornton Torosaurus and the Highlands Ranch Triceratops. 

So much to think about in our own backyard, but if you really want to go on a dinosaur excursion, head to the area around Fruita on the Western Slope of Colorado. Visit the paleontology laboratory at Dinosaur Journey, which is part of the Museum of Western Colorado. They also offer dinosaur adventures including excavating, prospecting, hiking, rafting, touring, and prepping fossil specimens.

If you are in the Denver area and have one or more young grandkids, you have a lot of options. Think of expeditions that match their interests and get out there. Or find a book that they can get excited about. My aunt gave me a book on the Blue Nile when I was in 5th grade, and I will always be grateful for how she sparked my curiosity. It may be why I am a travel writer and teacher today!

Bruce Caughey teaches about Hidden Colorado for OLLI at DU (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) and writes guidebooks about Colorado, including The Colorado Guide and Colorado’s Best. He is a fourth-generation Coloradan, who is happy to be a grandparent to a sixth-generation Coloradan! If you would like to learn more about OLLI and the 170 online and in-person classes offered this fall, check out

Leave a Reply