What can you do with a preschool grandchild that would ensure their love of reading AND strengthen their relationship with you?
Make them a book! Collect some fun pictures of them and get going. I love making books for and with my grandchildren.
One of the first books I made was for my three-year-old granddaughter. I patterned it after what I would call a "modified" language experience story. In a typical language experience story, it begins with an experience that you share with the child. Then you write about it, or rather the child tells you about the experience, and you use their words for the story. They take ownership of the book right away as it's their own words.
I describe this first book I made as modified because what I did was gather some photos of my grand through the year in various activities, and then briefly captioned them (she was only three--didn't want to overwhelm her with a lot of text). I kept it very simple and on every other page I added the sentence, "Do you remember?" Hence the title of the book I made her, "Do You Remember?"
When she read with me or a parent or her sister, she got the concept of reading. Young children who are read to at home figure out early on that they are getting meaning from text and pictures. Viola--they begin to understand how reading works.
And what better place to learn to read than in a beloved parent's (or GRANDPARENT'S!) lap, and with a book made especially for them!
Find some pictures of the grandchild from the past year--or it could be from a visit with them as that would make a good book too. If the pictures are on your computer or laptop, put them all in one folder and you are pretty much set. Visit a book-making website (just google if you're not familiar with any); I used mixbook.com. These sites make it so easy for you. Just follow their instructions to make your book. You can add your own text and pictures and they also have cool graphics that can add kid-appeal to your book.
Have a tea party when it's published!
I hosted a tea when the book arrived. We invited family members in the area, but one could also invite their young friends.
This activity was over six years ago, but my granddaughter still talks about that book and how she remembers each and every experience I documented for her.
Looking for an end of summer craft to do with your grandkids?
I think I've got one for you. Read on.
A few years back, my husband and I traveled in southern New Mexico. Among the stops on our road trip was Three Rivers Petroglyph Site. It's fascinating to view these rock pictures, and after our hike, we stopped back at the ranger station. I asked the ranger why these ancient people had done these carvings on the rocks...thinking that these aborigines, in their drawings, were pointing out trails for other hunters searching for game or water--something like that. You know what she said? "Probably just to say--I was here....I existed.
How does modern man do that? To my way of thinking it's probably through various social media, namely Facebook. Think about it--your Facebook page is called a "Wall." But another way modern people tell their story, and one that's much safer for our GRANDKIDS is a scrapbook. And that leads me to the latest activity with my granddaughters--SCRAPBOOKING!
This summer my granddaughters were off to camp for the first time. The camp doesn't allow their campers to have cell phones--thank goodness--but I had thought I would send them with throwaway cameras. Alas, I forgot. Not to worry, the camp posts pictures online of the kids at various activities at the end of each day so parents and family can see the goings-on. My son downloaded the appropriate pictures, my daughter-in-law got them printed for us, and we were set to create our scrapbooks when the girls returned from camp.
You get the idea. We made a trip to the craft store to get books and fun stickers. Another day I got all our purchases set up at my dining table along with other art supplies. We were ready:
Completion of our project. When the girls came over that day, we took off our shoes, grabbed a snack, put on their favorite CD, and began the process of making their scrapbook! No carving on rocks for us! No, we used our scrapbooks to say: I was here! I existed! AND I HAD A BLAST AT SUMMER CAMP! And the bonus for this grandmother? In the process, I got to hear a replay of their adventures at camp. What could be better?!!
Cheer camp and tennis camp.... Such fun for these two. And fun for this Gigi who got to experience it as well through SCRAPBOOKING. This another fun activity to do with your grands.
September means GOING BACK TO SCHOOL! What traditions can you start with your grandkids that will enhance their going-back-to-school experience?
I once had some guest teachers from Japan visit my classroom. They told about a great Japanese custom for starting the school year. Their schools usually start in April, a time of new beginnings and renewal. When their students are starting a new school year, the whole family participates in the commencement to show their support at the beginning of the year. Oftentimes there are celebrations at school with family and friends coming in to show their encouragement. Small gifts are frequently presented to the student. I loved this custom and decided to implement this with my grandchildren. One of the ways I do this is with a gift bag or a mailed care package.
BACK-TO-SCHOOL gift bag~
Often my gift bag is placed at the door in a "ding-dong-run" fashion. Or I might leave it at the back step for them to discover when they return home. I have varied the contents of the gift bag through the years. It might include:
This year as my grands are getting older, I opted to include some framed inspirational quotes for their rooms. I considered the goals, activities and the personality of each child. There are various sites on line for finding words of inspiration such as brainyquote.com. Then just pick out some appropriate frames, and you have a sweet gift for a grandkid heading back to school.
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!