kid-size box! I simply went to a local moving company and purchased a box. I'm sure it was less than $5. And we were on our way. What an inexpensive toy for hours of fun, and a great way to nurture his creativity and imagination.
Provide materials for your grand to create their hideaway. I got out blankets, sheets, pillows, chairs and more boxes (for chimneys and steeples). I'll admit I didn't get out the paint and big markers, but certainly for you brave grandparents, go for it.
I've heard it said that perhaps you should not trash the box creation. I actually respected this conventional wisdom. My oldest grandson enjoyed creating structures with big boxes too (especially trains), and we would clean up and put all the components in the garage for play again and again when he came back to my house.
And don't ignore the possibilities of smaller boxes. Save shoeboxes, cereal boxes, coffee tubs (I wouldn't describe them as 'cans' anymore), jewelry boxes and little tea boxes. Save as many as you can and see what your grandchild envisions with each. My grandsons always like/d playing with cars. Nothing better than using boxes for city streets with skyscrapers and other buildings. Granddaughters seemed to like the small ones for their little animals or secret treasures. The list goes on forever. Coffee tubs make the best drums!
More secret hideaways!
I can't do a blog on creating clubhouses with boxes, without mentioning another favorite from grandma's house. A fort under her dining room table! Now that's the best, and you will have to admit it! Nothing to this one. Simply relocate all of her tchotchkes to a safe location and remove her treasured tablecloth. Then skip through the house collecting pillows, blankets, afghans, and quilts for a glorious fort under her table. My grands even divide that limited space into rooms. They've taken tea under there many a time. I even let them have some led candles to add to the ambiance of their secret space.
I hear so many of my contemporaries lamenting those lost days of the golden 1950's when life was simpler and kids used their imaginations in their play. Those days aren't gone. Simply take your grandchildren by the hand and take them there! Just turn off the tv and the video games and "Get a Grand a Box."
One of my favorite books. I'm guessing it's out of print, but maybe you can find it at the library. And I'm sure there are other great books about children and box forts.
"Christina Katerina and the Box" by Patricia Lee Gauch
Be sure to put your grand in an apron--that's half the fun. Then get out all ingredients and equipment. I did let my granddaughter measure the ingredients. I even let her chop the apples. First I peeled and cut the apple in big chunks. Then she did the rest of the cutting herself with a plastic nice. Very safe.
You can plan an activity around just about any book your grand enjoys. Simply read the book and see what extended activity the book suggests in your mind. The possibilities are endless. Favorite books for 4-5 age groups are many. Reading "Be Nice to Spiders"? Make a spider--and a 3-dimensional one is really fun. Dr. Seuss' "One Fish, Two Fish"? Make a fish on a line! Another favorite that's still available for this age group is "George and Martha." Instead of making Martha's split pea soup, make her chocolate chip cookies! A never-ending array of choices when enriching the book experience with your grand! Always fun for both generations!
I know my readers have extended various reading activities with your grands--whether it was writing your own books based on a favorite book, cooking or doing some art activity. Please write me and share. I would love to hear.
Books mentioned today that are a favorite of preschoolers:
"George and Martha" by James Marshall
"Be Nice to Spiders" by Margaret Bloy Graham
"Swimmy" by Leo Lionni
"One Fish, Two Fish" by Dr. Seuss
"The Very Busy Spider" by Eric Carle
Great blog for children's art ideas~ artbarblog.com
Grandparents' Day--how could I forget?
That's what this blog is all about. The wonderful role grandparents play in their grandchildren's life. Hopefully those that live in the same community as your grands, were honored this week at their school--that is if your grandchildren are preschoolers or early elementary grades. It's wonderful to be recognized.
This day/week always slips up on me. Especially now that my grandkids are older. But I was perusing Facebook today and saw a wonderful post by David Wolfe honoring grandparents and the importance they play in children's lives. I love this quote from the video:
"It is my belief that grandparenting is the most important family role of the new century." Roma Hanks, Ph.D.
Think of what grandparents bring to the table:
We love our grandkids unconditionally--it is the most natural brand of love there is.
Some of us have TIME to be with our grandkids. What a blessing. And just like children, we older adults tend to live more IN THE MOMENT. We love reading to them (always time for that), playing games, going to the park, and just being with them.
We are living history books. We know about life before all this technology.
And finally this one: We can teach our grands enriching life skills: gardening, sewing, baking, knitting and the proper manners one can learn from a well-planned tea party! Which brings me to...
More on tea parties~
When I did that blog two weeks ago on tea parties with your grands, I had asked my niece (who is now a grandmother herself!) to share her tea party ideas from the last century. (Ha! I've always wanted to say that. This tea party is probably from the 1980's. Insert smile here!) She came through although it was difficult as that was before cell phones and computers in every home with a method to store treasured photos.
It was a tea party for her daughters (probably 4 and 6 years of age), and the guests were asked to wear their finest party fashions (Maybe their mom's old prom dress, but I'm just guessing). At the party, they made hats with ribbons and flowers and feathers. Each girl decorated frames to put their commemorative photos in.
Here are those pictures from the days of yore. See what I mean, tea parties are always a good idea!
Want to make a book WITH your grand, but not sure how to approach it? Let them take the pictures for the book!
I gave my grandchildren a Fisher Price camera one year. I actually gave it to my firstborn grandson, but his sisters eventually used it too. When we would have playdates, taking pictures of our community gave us a new mission. We would go on photo safaris--taking pictures of various sights around our town. I never wanted to have the photo safari be in and of itself. I wanted them to use those pictures in a scrapbook or even a published book.
One evening I was babysitting my granddaughters, and we were doing what we often do--reading books. One of the girls brought me a book called, "Goodnight Houston." * That was it! We'd use the photos that my granddaughter had recently taken of sights around our community and make a book, "Goodnight My Town." I talked to firstborn granddaughter privately about it, and we had a plan. Not only would we take more pictures of locations around town, we would create a book based on "Goodnight Moon." Furthermore, if we could be covert about it, we would present said book to her younger sister for Christmas! Love it when a project comes together!
This operation is the same as the previous blog about making a book for your grand. I downloaded all her pictures to a file on my computer. Then I went to a bookmaking website and followed their step-by-step directions. I have a Mac so I actually used the booking-making application that came with IPhoto for this one. My granddaughter picked her favorite photo for the cover and chose the order of pictures. She also took pictures around the house and of family pets. She based her text on the pattern in "Goodnight Moon." We ended the book with a picture of her and her brother wishing their little sister, "Goodnight."
Unfortunately I don't have a picture from Christmas morning when she presented the book to her sister. But I made her an additional copy to donate to her school's library. We changed out some of the more personal photos that she had added for her sister, and made the book for her school more community centered. How fun to have your book barcoded and available for check-out at your school! Such a GREAT project to do with a grandchild!
I hope you'll make a book WITH your grand. This blog is about copying, copying, copying and sharing of ideas about being a grandparent. As I've stated in my "About" page, I'm a former school teacher and as any school teacher will tell you, we copy and share ideas constantly. We just keep STIRRING THE POT. So take this idea and GO! And please contact me with any ideas you have. I would love to hear.
"Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown
"Goodnight Houston" by Jennifer Solak and Kyle Solak
Tea parties are a special time~
My sweet friend Kathy is a master of giving tea parties. She's given them for her grandchildren in their younger years and continued to young adult age. So she is writing this week's blog. Thank you, Kathy.
Tea parties with my grandchildren began organically.
Before my grandchildren were born, I started collecting pretty teacups in antique stores and whenever I traveled. I treasured each one and was especially proud of a tea set I purchased at Herrod's when I was in London. I had no real purpose for my tea things in the beginning. My collection was simply pretty to me; but the idea of carving out time for tea both intrigued and comforted me.
"Come and share a pot of tea, my home is warm and my friendship's free."
Before I knew it, I had four grandchildren, three girls and one boy. We all lived in different cities and their visits to my home were infrequent and sometimes hectic. I remember the first time I gathered those four little cousins for tea. I let them choose their cups and our "tea" was ginger ale. I made finger sandwiches and still remember their fascination with the potato sticks I served. They loved drinking out of my pretty cups and asking for "more tea please."
"It really isn't the tea, it's the spirit of the tea party."
Through the years our parties became tradition when we were together, and my grandson would be the one who would sidle up to me and whisper, "Are we going to have a tea party?" Once, we had a late night tea party totally by candlelight. One year I packed all my tea things and we celebrated with tea when we all met at a cabin in the mountains. Always we had ginger ale and potato sticks!
"Somehow, taking tea together encourages an atmosphere of intimacy when you slip off the timepiece in your mind and cast your fate to a delight of tasty tea, tiny foods and thoughtful conversation."
These gatherings become almost sacred as we quieted ourselves around a table together. There was something about the cups of china that had a calming effect on all of us. I decorated my tables, had tasty food, and we would take turns drawing conversation topics from a bowl in the center of the table. Conversation pieces like:
Such precious and sweet memories of those four grandchildren who are all adults now.
I think often of this quote by Saki~
"Find yourself a cup. The teapot is behind you. Now tell me hundreds of things."
Note from Gigi:
I definitely think all grandparents should have tea parties with their grandchildren...no matter the SEASON, and no matter the time, place or age of the kids. Again, thank you, Kathy, for sharing your tradition of tea parties with your grands.
And visitors to my blog, if you'd like a copy of the conversation pieces, just use the "Contact" page to write me. I'll be glad to send you a copy of the questions.
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!