Whenever I settle in to read Grandma Connie's http://www.familyhomeandlife.com/ blog, I feel as if I am right at home. We share the same love of sewing and crafting with our grandchildren, however she manages to keep nine kids happy! The Family Harvest Day Connie hosts every year will delight you and guide you toward planning one of your own. This family bonding experience features a "scarecrow making" session and lots more wholesome fun. Clever "everyday ideas," however, are the mainstay of this site. For example, make a set of Connie's "scavenger hunt chore cards" and watch kids beg to clean up after themselves. Really!
"Heartwarming". That's my one word description of Grandma Shelley's http://www.grandmaslittlepearls.com/ lifestyle. Observe her deftly entertain up to ten grandchildren at a time with events such as "Grandkid's Christmas Day Camp." Click on "Craft Ideas for Kids" for an amazing array of easy-to-make, very cute designs that include my favorites, a marshmallow launcher and a Haunted Halloween Village! What I love about this section is that not one single idea is a junky "space-filler" that you'd never dream of wasting your time on!
But the "great-grandmother-of-us-all" has got to be Susan Adcox at http://www.grandparents.about.com/ While Susan is, herself, a fun-loving, family-enjoying, bursting-with-energy grandma, she acknowledges that everything about grandparenthood is not always "fun and games." Sometimes family conflicts arise, and this professional site is where the wise go for advice, solace and information on a wide variety of topics that include diverse opinions and suggested resources. Sign up for Susan's email newsletter and join in to read and comment on the discussion questions she periodically poses. And yes, there are also sections on the "fun stuff," a wealth of ideas gleaned from other grandparents with photos and detailed instructions to follow.
Okay! My turn! I have found some luck keeping my grand kids entertained using three small household mechanical devices.
All three of the kids really enjoy chasing streams of bubbles spewed by a battery operated machine that even produces "baby bubbles" - sometimes 4 or 5 of them! - inside of huge "monster" ones! These machines can be tricky though. The one I bought, Vertical Mega Bubbles Generator ($20) is wonderful, but I had to return the first one because it abruptly stopped working after only four uses. Online reviews for all toy bubble machines aren't that great, so save the packaging and receipt and buy locally from a store that is nice about returns "just in case!" Other than that, pull up your lawn chair and watch the kiddos wear themselves out right before nap time...like Brielle does, below.
In this age of microwave-everything, the twins are as fascinated with my little air-popper machine as if it were a rotary dial telephone! I am glad their mommy has never introduced buttered and salted popcorn to them. They happily eat it plain and share some of it with the birds. Then, while they nap grandma polishes off the leftovers with her own layers of custom seasonings!
I started filling my "Grandma's Crafty Jar" the second I knew I would become a grandma! Use a large, clear plastic jar. Fill it with "pipe cleaners" (now known as "chenille stems" I guess!), pom poms, glitter, crayon and paint boxes, glue sticks, kid scissors and any cute crafty items you find on sale. Make sure, of course, that contents are always age appropriate. Then let it be known to the kids that they are welcome to it whenever the "crafting bug" bites! I also offer three little plastic totes, identified by color and filled with paper, kid scissors, stickers and glue sticks.
|LOOK at me! Can't you SEE that crafting is contagious?|
Every crafting session does not need to be structured. The best results often come from free play using the supplies children see before them. Like, for example, when Iggy showed up unexpectedly to make himself a purr-fect pair of yellow pipe cleaner eyeglasses and then hung around to model them for the camera!
There! Have I been helpful to grandmas who seek "normal" ideas for "normal" people? I hope so, even though I remain puzzled about one thing. Usually people who seek "normal" ideas go to "normal" people for answers! Here, after all, we are a family that sharpens pencils for fun and owns a cat who makes and wears his own pipe cleaner eyeglasses. Now really. Be honest! Does any of that sound "normal" to you?