Growing older means rolling slowly out of a parked car, joints that sound like packing bubbles when you bend and stretch, and forgetting why you’re standing in the middle of the bathroom holding a yardstick. But not everything about passing the summer season of life is unpleasant. Sometimes there are grandchildren! Try some of these amazing grandparent events.
I usually take my rowdy bunch one or two at a time because, well, they tend to run in opposite directions, and I’m not that fast.
I hear stories about extraordinary grandparents who gather an army of energy-packed youngsters for an annual grand event. If you have grandchildren, don’t try to tackle all these at once. But maybe there is one activity you can use. Better yet, maybe you have one or two great ideas you can share. I’d love to hear your stories.
Some of my grandchildren look forward to our annual Easter egg hunt, though it rarely happens at Easter, and we’ve given up hiding hard-boiled eggs. The foraging takes far longer to prepare than it takes for the kids to find their treasures.
I begin collecting small items shortly after Christmas and hide the goodies in separate areas of the yard for each grandchild who attends. The four-year-old finds hair ribbons and bunny ears, play-dough, and dolls.
The teenager gets make-up and baking tools. The boys never grow tired of trucks, balls, and slime that makes farting noises. A fair sampling of Easter candy is mixed in, usually inside plastic eggs. A few eggs may evencontain greenbacks. What kid would pass up dollars? One year, the Easter egg hunt was delayed until June because of the weather. Little ones don’t care if Easter comes in March, May, or July. A treasure hunt is a treasure for them. The littlest ones got to practice their counting skills to make sure everyone had an equal share of the bounty. They also had to hone their sharing skills to ensure daddy scored on the candy distribution.
My friend Thelma goes all out for her annual Gram Days. One year, her tribe was dressed in pirate garb as they played outdoor water games. Another excursion included horse-riding events. Thelma’s clan always appears on Facebook in matching Christmas jammies. This year’s Gram Day had a Little House on the Prairie theme. Thanks to talented great-gram Sandy, the children were clothed in matching bibs for the boys and white-aproned cotton dresses for the girls. They took part in rolling the dough for buns, gathering eggs, and making raspberry jam. Other activities included two-person log cutting, sitting on a stool in a one-room schoolhouse wearing dunce caps, and doing lessons with slate boards and chalk. Grandma even had the children washing clothes on a washboard. The family posed for serious, smile-forbidden photos, just like in olden days. Quite an extensive and memorable history lesson.
Tonda’s overnight Grandma & Grandpa Camp is closely structured to help her little clan stay busy. The grandchildren have to be potty trained so that G & G Camp can be activity and relationship-based rather than a time for babysitting. (Sitting with the babies gets its own special times.) When the children arrive, Tonda begins with Sunday school-type lessons with scripture, songs, videos, and a craft. This year’s theme focused on prayer and included a science experiment turned object lesson. The children lined a dinner plate with Skittles, poured water in the middle, and watched the colors flow and blend together. Grandma reminded her little ones that their prayers reached God in the same beautiful and unique way. Grandma Camp included making birdhouses or wooden storage boxes, tie-dying shirts, and a picnic and playing in the creek (or crick, as they say in our area). Tonda says, “I try to keep them pretty busy,” except for the bike-riding time between activities.
My cousin Linda believes a family that camps together stays together. She travels with her family to the northern wilderness of Pennsylvania, where they hike, bike, and ride around the countryside looking for elk. The family gathers around
the campfire for s’mores and mountain pies – pizza fixings and pie filling between two pieces of bread smothered in butter and placed in hot irons over the fire. Campouts include elaborate pumpkin carving, often done with a printout that can be traced and carved. Granddaughter Kenzie said, “I don’t care if it takes all night. I’m gonna do this.” Linda’s grandchildren learn to enjoy the beauty of nature while learning patience and stick-to-itiveness.
The Martin family’s Christmas tradition goes back to the 1980s when Gwyn and her family wanted to do something for their neighbors. They began making cherry pies and delivering them, along with some Christmas caroling to the older people of their community. The tradition only lasted four or five years. But when Gwyn’s husband Mel developed Alzheimer’s, the family needed help from many people. Her grown children remembered how much they once enjoyed helping their neighbors. In 2007, the tradition resumed. Each year, Gwyn and her family gather to bake cookies and make trail mix. The treats are put in gift bags.
Each grandchild will make a Christmas card, and one adult will write a Christmas greeting and a letter about the tradition. The family then makes surprise visits to friends, neighbors, church members – anyone who has had a challenging year. They always have a backup plan in case those they hope to visit are not home. One year, this precious gift came to the home of my parents. It was the year my mom battled cancer. Gwyn says, “It’s been a good experience for all of us. It teaches the younger ones to appreciate what they have and to share what they have with other people.”
For other ideas on grandparenting, read: https://debrichmond.com/favorite-books-f…dkids-of-any-age/
or Easy Activities for Grandkids