You have your grands after school, or for a surprise Saturday visit, but you're stuck in the house? And you have exhausted all your usual indoor activities? I've got some ideas for you.
Get out your flashlight/s and begin!
First suggestion: Go for a search in the dark.
This activity is kind of like an Easter egg hunt, but it's in a darkened room, no eggs are involved, and your grandchildren have to have flashlights. Flashlights just add to the fun. You simply hide some items available around your house. It can be anything really. At Christmas we hide Christmas bows in the dark. You can hide ABC blocks if you have them in your toy chest when the kids come to visit. It so happens that at my house, my grandson had a set of small toy dinosaurs which we choose to hide. When he was younger, we used to say we were going on a dinosaur hunt. And you can add to the fun by letting your grandchild hide the items for you sometimes--they seem to enjoy that as well. I'll let these photos tell the story.
Second suggestion: look for flashcards in the dark.
My grandson comes to our home after school. This was a suggestion from his first grade teacher as a way to practice his sight words. You might remember from school or from your own children learning to read--sight words are high-frequency words that you just have to know by sight--a child really cannot "sound them out." In school now they are often called popcorn words because they pop up in your reading a lot. The teacher's suggestion was to make flashcards with them and post on the wall. Then darken the room and give your child a flashlight. You can do several things with them--call out a word and they have to find it with their flashlight; they can read all the words as they shine a light on them. Or you can shine the flashlight on the card and they have to read it. It's such a simple activity, but my seven-year-old grandson loves it.
You might not have flashcards to do this activity, but searching for anything could be a fun rainy day activity. Perhaps you could play eye-spy in a dark room with a flashlight. One idea always leads to another. . .
Third suggestion: create constellation shape on paper, place on flashlight and project on wall or ceiling.
Rather than try to recreate what we did, I'll just share the PBS website from which we got this idea. It's a good one too, and is perfect for a rainy day.
Spring break is coming! It just might be that you FINALLY get to see your kids. And as always seems to happen during spring break, it just might rain. Now you have some rainy day fun with these suggestions. Until next week!
An hour with your grandchildren can make you feel young again!
Tell your stories! We're the link between the generations.
How many times lately have you said something like this. . . I wish I'd asked my mother what it was like on the Homefront during World War II. I'm sorry I didn't ask my grandfather about Vietnam. I regret not asking my parents about the Great Depression. I should have asked my aunt about the Kennedy assassination. And the list goes on and on.
And it's likely that your children and grandchildren won't think to ask you. But that doesn't matter, you can write about it, and leave it for them to read. Someday they will really appreciate that.
And another thing!
We're still in a pandemic! I know a lot of you have had your vaccine, but health specialists are telling us don't get out there yet. We're still being cautious and staying home a good deal of the time. After almost a year of this, you're probably looking for something to do. Such a good time to write or record your memories. Good for you and good for your family--JUST DO IT!
You find writing about your childhood to be tiresome? Pick a news event that you lived through and write about that. That will recharge your batteries!
Want to know how to do that? Perhaps these tips will get your started.
Simply write down any and all big news events from your lifetime. And yes, you can google it. I did. Just look for world news from any decade, the 1970's, 1980's, and so on. You'll find some things you hadn't thought of.
Just choose one that you have many memories about. And you don't have to start in writing your account--just jot down any facts or anecdotes that come to mind.
Here's my random list about Watergate:
And the list can go on. . .you get the idea. The next step is to decide how you want to record it for posterity.
A mini-book. . .
I chose to make a mini-book about some of my "Eyewitness to History" events. It satisfies two needs of mine. My need to do something "artsy-crafty," and my desire to write my memories down for my children and grandchildren.
I keep all my mini-books in a large box that I purchased at a craft store. I'm a visual learner myself, so I'll just show you with pictures:
Please, please, please understand. I do not share this with you to brag or pronounce, "Look what I've done!" As I've stated many times in this blog, I've never had an original idea. The seed for this was planted by an Austin friend who did mini-books in her classroom with her students. I also got the idea from a friend who makes beautiful greeting cards from gorgeous papers and fabulous images she finds. To get one of her cards is a treasure. I wanted to try that craft for myself, and I chose to do it with these little books.
I also share because it might give you an idea of what you can do with your stories. I think that is what life is about--live and learn and pass it on!
And finally I did this blog today as I think it serves two purposes. This is a blog mainly for grandparents, and we are of an age where many of us want to share our stories. If you haven't started writing some of your stories down, perhaps this will encourage you to do so. And I find mini-books to be such a fun craft. In these days of the pandemic, perhaps you are looking for a craft--this is a fun one--something to occupy your time.
I'll close with a testimony from a high school friend, Tricia. I copied her comment (with her permission) from a Facebook post:
"I've been hand writing a book for my daughter who will share with grandkids or anyone else someday. Just stories about my family, first memories, etc. Really just those stories we tell our kids, but in writing. It was her suggestion. Been fun to reflect on my life too. Working now on adding my feelings and thoughts about monumental world events during my lifetime."
Blogs I've previously written about mini-books and memoir writing:
"Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained." Thomas M. Cirignano
*Whoops! I almost forgot. I titled today's blog, "Telling Your Stories, Part III". I have no idea how many blogs I've written on this subject. I fudged on that title.
A home craft just in time for Valentine's Day!
Last week's blog was about using photos for your gratitude journal. I listed suggestions for photos garnered from the internet. But it occurred to me that we could also put those photos to good use so others could enjoy them as well.
Craft idea #1~
Simply frame your photo. My husband took this picture of a monarch butterfly visiting the milkweed in our backyard. He liked it so much, he framed it. That's easy--we can all do that, and I'm sure you have.
Craft idea #2~
Use those photos for notecards, particularly those nature photos you take on your walk. Simply find those photos and gather them up. Decide which ones would look good on a note card.
You can either have your favorite printing place print up your photos, and then simply glue them on your notecard. You can find blank notecards at craft stores or stationary supply stores. They even come with envelopes.
I am fortunate to have a printer at home and the PrintShop program downloaded on my computer, so I can create my cards at home. I just use card stock, and can make them any size I want.
Craft idea #3~
Make postcards! Then you don't need envelopes and you can save on postage. How delightful for friends and family to receive one of your postcards in the mail.
Same technique. Just find those nature photos from your walks or from vacations and make postcards. Look for those panoramic views that would lend themselves to a postcard size. And my PrintShop app has postcard-making in one of their projects, so all I had to do was download my photos to that. But if you buy card stock and make your own, a typical postcard is 4x6 inches.
Important reminder: When making postcards, DON'T use photos printed on photography paper. Print those postcards on card stock or have your local print shop do that.
Craft idea #4~
And I think this craft idea is the most fun of all, and can be used for gifts for the upcoming holiday--Valentine's Day!
I did this myself to give for gifts on Valentine's. I chose to use family photos rather than nature views. I made one coaster for each of my immediate family. I made four--one for my daughter-in-law, one each for my two sons, and one for my husband. I imagined that they could use them on their desks at home, work, or school. I chose photos that would appeal to each of them, in this case, a family photo, an individual photo and for my husband, a picture of all his grandkids.
The how-to's of making coasters using photos~
Now mind you, I've never had an original idea. I just googled crafts using photos and discovered these ideas. I only share with you in case you might not have thought of it. That's how I get ideas besides googling and looking on Pinterest. Oftentimes my readers share with me or one of my friends will tell me about their latest project. My motto is, live and learn and pass it on!
Now back to how to do this. The website said to get some of those 4x4 ceramic bathroom tiles. Guess what? When I went to my big box home improvement store, THEY DON'T HAVE THEM ANYMORE. But I told the clerk what I was looking for, and he said he had 4x4 samples of flooring. And guess what? They were FREE!
I found images that would work with that 4x4 size. The one of the four grandkids that I was making for my husband didn't lend itself to 4x4. So I printed it out 2 1/2x4 and I think it looks just fine.
Finally. . .
Print your image on card stock (DO NOT use actual photos printed on photography paper) and simply decoupage them on the tile. Paint Mod Podge on the tile and place the photo on. Use a roller or ruler and press out any air bubbles, etc. After you let that dry, spray with several coats of spray acrylic. And you're done. I'll post a "how-to" website at the end of this blog.
And there you have it. Now you don't have to leave those "pictures of gratitude" on your phone. You can share them with others. When I found this idea on Pinterest, I knew I had to share.
Until next week!
The website with the 'how-to's':
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!