Six Things to do With Your Grandkids Without Ever Leaving the House!
I like to go on “grand adventures” with my grandson, but seeing the weekend weather forecast predicting snow, sleet and freezing temperatures, it seems like a good time to hibernate. My parents were more of the stay-home variety, but this didn’t mean they didn’t do things with the kids; they taught them so many things and expanded their horizons in ways I never would have been able to do. Taking a cue from the legacy of love they left to my kids, here are some fun things you can do right at home with your grandkids!
1. Share your hobby- My mother sewed a lot, some out of pleasure and some out of necessity when she had three daughters and not a lot of money. She taught my youngest daughter how to sew, beginning with doll clothes and eventually moving on to her own clothes. They spent many precious hours sewing together and talking. Reading is one of my passions, so we have a reading chair and plenty of books to enjoy over and over. It gives me great joy to see I’ve passed that love on to my grandson! What is your hobby and how can you share it with your grandkids?
Callister loves to get a book and climb onto a grandparent’s lap in the “reading chair”!
2. Enjoy nature- My dad loved to be outside, and gardening on his acre lot was a hobby he shared with my kids. He involved the girls from an early age, keeping their “farm hats” on a special peg in the utility room and asking them to come help him in the garden. I doubt they were too much help, but they shared his love of being outside and more importantly, they spent time with their grandfather. This weekend’s outdoor activity may involve a snowman and require lots of clothing such as coats, mittens and hats, but what fun memories you can create in a rare Oklahoma snow!
My daughters in their “farm hats” waiting to help their grandfather in the garden
3. Play their games- Become part of their world, get down (if you think you can get back up again) on their level and see what makes them happy. My daughters had ongoing imaginary games they created with their small toy animals, a game they called “little things”. This game went on for days, weeks, months--throughout their early childhood. It takes a lot of patience to play pretend with young children, and thirty years later I can still picture my dad, who was already in his late seventies, on the floor playing “little things” with my young daughters. According to them, no matter how many times they played and even when they warned him, he always wanted to play the character of the donkey who inevitably met with a disastrous end. At this point, stacking blocks and playing with trucks are my grandson’s favorite activities, and we’ve spent hours sitting on the floor engaged in play, following his lead. Play is not only fun, it’s the process by which young kids learn.
Staying in pajamas and playing with Legos isn’t a bad way to spend the morning!
4. Kitchen fun- Who doesn’t want to bake cookies and then eat them hot out of the oven, especially when it’s cold outside? I’m anxious for Callister to be a little older and bake with me. We made monkey bread together and that was a moderate success, but we’re not quite to the point of Tara Rittler and her son Joss’ cooking adventures she writes about in her blog, Spaghetti on the Wall. So many lessons and great experiences can be had in the kitchen with grandparents and grandchildren!
5. Indulge in simple, old-fashioned, no-technology fun- A great example would be to build a blanket fort! As grandparents we can take the time to do some of the things that maybe their parents are too busy to do. Remember how much fun it is to get blankets and drape them over chairs and the couch and build a fort? Gather more blankets, pillows and a flashlight and huddle inside and tell stories. This would be a perfect winter activity, and if you have a fireplace, roast marshmallows and make s’mores while you’re “camping out." This is a memory maker!
6. Share your history- Your history is also their history, and they might love to hear fun stories of your childhood. It’s hard for them to imagine their grandparents were ever young, so pull out your old photo albums and prove you were once a kid very much like them. Tell them about the old days when we had dial-up internet or even further back when we had to actually get off the couch and walk to the television to change the channel--they will be in awe of our pioneer days. Tell them about your “glory days”, the ones your kids are tired of hearing about. Last week Callister and I were shooting baskets in the backyard; he has a Little Tykes goal, and I have a real one. I usually play with him on the small goal, but I made a few shots into the normal-sized goal, and his jaw literally dropped in awe. Let me assure you my basketball skills are not that worthy, but another beauty of having grandchildren--now you’ve got a brand-new, captive, easily impressed audience!
It's going to be a little too cold to hit the basketball court this weekend, but it’s one of the fun activities we enjoy in our backyard. I’ll keep playing with him as long as he’s impressed with my less-than-stellar abilities
You don’t have to spend money or go places to create a wonderful relationship with your grandchildren. What makes kids feel loved and special? Time and attention: It’s been proven over and over again that time and attention is what makes kids feel special and loved. Yeah, sure a Disney cruise might be fun, but can it really compare with an afternoon sewing Barbie clothes and chatting with your grandmother or building a Lego tower with your grandfather?!
Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It's the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.--Sharon Draper