Thursday, July 5 and Friday, July 6, 2018

Welcome to GrandKids University! A heartfelt thank you to those of you who have participated in this exciting program in the past, and a warm welcome to those of you are joining us for the first time!

Tuition     Accommodation     Schedule  

2018 Majors


Blogging: From Passion to Posting
Marketing & Communications

Got a passion you want to share with your friends and family? A blog is a good way to get the word out – and the good news is anyone can do it! This major will teach you how to set up your own blog, write entries, take awesome pictures and keep people coming back for more. In two days, the VIU Communications team will take you from idea to published blog.

Anticipated activities include: 

  • Creating a blog
  • Writing for web
  • Photography
  • Putting it all together!


Creating, Baking and Tasting… Oh My!
Culinary Arts; Faculty of Trades & Technology

Join Pastry Chef David Nolan to learn how to create, bake and taste delicious treats – Italian style!  Creations may include pasta, pie, cookies and more.  On the second day, come together with the Culinary ‘Major’ for a molto delizioso Italian pasta lunch and dessert.  Chef Nolan will instruct students in all-important kitchen safety as well as testing everyone on their baking knowledge… so be sure to take notes!

Anticipated activities include: 

  • Creation and baking of various treats
  • Pastry Slide Show
  • Baking Test

*a supply fee of $20 per person will be charged


Earth Explorers 2.0
Geography; Faculty of Science & Technology

We are always asking questions: where things are, why are they there, and how do we get there? If you've ever asked a similar question then join us for a variety of fun filled activities. Go geocaching with GPS to find hidden treasures. Discover what makes a map, how we use them, and how to use a compass. We will explore our local weather and learn about how we get the weather we see.  Examine rocks and minerals, and learn about where and how they form. We will use the knowledge we’ve gained, teamwork and critical thinking to recover ‘lost pirate treasure’. 

Anticipated activities include:

  • Explore weather using real instruments and collect data
  • Use maps and compasses to navigate a mystery trail
  • Use a GPS to go Geocaching and find hidden treasures
  • Get hands-on with rocks and minerals, the Earth’s building blocks
  • Use knowledge and teamwork to solve escape room style puzzles and recover ‘pirate treasure’


Explorations of Animal Diversity
Biology; Faculty of Science & Technology

Enhance your skills as a naturalist in this Zoology ‘Major’. Experience the thrills of holding living birds and snakes, as well as learn to identify a diversity of pond and terrestrial arthropods in the lab. Explore animal adaptations through microscropy and hands-on observations. One morning will include a field trip to VIU’s Buttertubs Marsh bird-banding station.

Anticipated activities include:

  • A Naturalist's Paradise! - A hands-on study of living animals (including snakes and pond insects) and their fascinating adaptations
  • The Marvels of Birds! - A hands-on introduction to the lives of birds and the joys of bird banding (field trip to VIU's Buttertubs Marsh)

*for ages 9 to 13


Faster, Higher, Stronger – The Science of Sports
Sport, Health and Physical Education; Faculty of Education

If you’re like me (and a lot of others), you love sports. Playing them, watching them, imagining you’re scoring the winning goal, or striking out the opponent for the win. Have you ever wondered how athletes are able to do those amazing physical feats? Do you look at the human body and say “that is so cool, how did she do that?” Me too!

Join me in the Sport, Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) program at Grandkids University, and we’ll explore the world of sports from a scientific perspective. We’ll use some of the latest technology to see how the human body works, and we’ll perform some of the same tests that your favorite athletes do during training camps and combines.

Anticipated activities include:

  • Exploring sports science and related disciplines like kinesiology
  • Using the latest technologies to discover how humans “work”
  • The ‘VIU Combine’ – fitness testing to examine sports performance
  • Lots of fun, activity and learning


Field Naturalist
Shoots with Roots; Milner Gardens & Woodland

Do you love exploring local parks and green spaces but wish you knew a bit more about the plants and animals you see?  Then you will love becoming a field naturalist at Milner Gardens & Woodland.  Explore the forest, ponds, and garden with an experienced naturalist while recording your sightings using nature journals as well as new online tools that you’ll be introduced to. 

Anticipated activities include:

  • From Nature Journals to iNaturalist – we will be introduced to a variety of ways to keep nature notes, and practice making observations that can be easily shared with others.
  • Introduction to Birding – we’ll use a variety of fun exercises and games to practice spotting and describing birds before setting off on a bird survey of Milner Gardens.
  • Pond Critter Comparison – we’ll get hands on in our natural ponds, use tools to identify the invertebrates we find, and then compare our findings to our Reflecting Pool.
  • Plant ID Challenge – race through the forest identifying native plants

Milner Gardens & Woodland – 2179 W. Island Highway, Qualicum Beach – Outdoors 
(Transportation provided to and from VIU)

What do you need to bring:

  • Sturdy walking shoes.
  • Rain jacket / layers.  We will be outside most of the time and it can be cool in the forest even on hot days.
  • A water bottle.
  • A packed lunch that you can easily carry while walking. (both days)
  • A backpack to carry everything in.
  • Optional: Binoculars
  • Optional:  Smart phone and/or iPad


Thinking Outside the Box
Graphic Design; Faculty of Arts & Humanities

"Thinking Outside the Box" will introduce you to the possibilities, fun, and power of creative thinking. Find out that creativity, both individually and shared, is a powerful tool that can be used to think through challenges no matter how big or how small. Delve into design thinking methods used by designers to help generate ideas that push their thinking beyond the box in this hand-on, interactive Major!

Anticipated activities include:

  • Brainstorming, doodling
  • Building prototypes from a variety of craft items
  • Divergent and convergent thinking methods


Viva L’Italia!... A Culinary Adventure 
Culinary Arts; Faculty of Trades & Technology

Join Culinary Chef Allan Aikman in the professional VIU kitchen on an Italian adventure!  Learn how to make fresh pasta and hand-tossed pizza dough. Discover tips and techniques while creating several sauces and preparing toppings. On the second day, come together with the Baking Major for a molto delizioso Italian pasta lunch and dessert.

Anticipated activities:

  • creation and cooking of various pastas and sauces
  • hand tossed pizza dough
  • kitchen tour and safety


You are a Star!
Theatre Department

Great scenes from famous plays are featured in this ‘Major’ that gives participants a chance to shine! We will play theatre games, and have fun with improv exercises in this expressive course that develops skill and talent in a welcoming space. Celebrate creativity and comic timing that enhances performance know-how, develops team spirit and self-confidence!

Anticipated activities include:

  • Acting games
  • Character-building exercises
  • Laughing!

*wear comfy clothes


See Exciting Moments From Past Years

Tuition Fee

TUITION FEE OF $125 + GST per participant includes all 'major' activities, materials, a program T-shirt and the Thursday night dinner. Participants are responsible for all meals except dinner. All grandkids must be accompanied by a grandparent or favourite adult, and adults must be accompanied by a child to register.
Maximum two children per adult.
(Fees are subject to change)

Call to Register: 1-866-734-6252


STAY OVERNIGHT! Enhance your on-campus experience by staying in the student residences for just $51.75 (incl. taxes) per person per night (single occupancy – you can book two adjoining rooms with a shared bathroom) or $63.25 (incl. taxes) per room per night to share a room (one twin bed or bunk beds with linens supplied – bring a foamy, pillow and sleeping bag for the floor and bedding and pillow for the upper bunk).  Grandkids are paired with grandparents in the rooms and free evening activities are provided.

Towels, soap and shampoo are supplied. Please bring any other toiletries. There is a communal kitchen available for your use in the Residence Accommodation, equipped with kettles, toaster, coffee maker, microwave, and stoves. Please bring your own dishes, cutlery, and cooking utensils.

Booking and payment for student residence rooms is required at time of registration in GrandKids U.

GrandKids University Daily Schedules for 2018  

Download Schedule

DRAFT Day 1:  Thursday, July 5, 2018


8:30am – 9:15am

Check in to GrandKids University and Residence Accommodation (if applicable) – Residence Building #4 (Cedar)

9:30am – 11:30am 

Class I in ‘Major’

11:30am – 12:45pm

Lunch on your own – upper cafeteria will be open

1:00pm – 3:00pm

Class II in ‘Major’

3:00pm – 7:00pm

Free time (refer to Afternoon Activities schedule)

4:30pm – 6:30pm

Dinner – Cafeteria – Building 300

~ 6:30pm – 8:30pm

PJ movie night (choice of 2 movies) at Residence Buildings #6 and #8


DRAFT Day 2:  Friday, July 6, 2018


7:30am – 9:15am

Breakfast on your own and check out of residence (if applicable)

9:30am – 11:30am

Class III in ‘Major’

11:30am – 12:30pm

Lunch on your own – upper cafeteria will be open

12:45pm – 2:45pm

Class IV in ‘Major’

3:00pm – 4:00pm

Graduation Ceremony – families are welcome Building 310 – Main Theatre


Program concludes – see you next year!

VIU Grandkids University 2017

Grandkids University - Shaw TV Nanaimo

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