Autumn Seasonings for Grandparents
October in Review~
I've enjoyed sharing grandparent things I've done in October with you. And I've really enjoyed hearing from YOU........that's what I hoped this blog would come to--an exchange of ideas with other grandparents.
I started this month with my costume box. October seemed such a good time to share ideas for costumes, what with it being the month of Halloween and all. One reader shared that she wasn't too shy to ask neighbors and friends after Halloween if she could have their costumes for her costume box. She also reported that at some of the local retail stores, those same costumes go on sale after Halloween. She managed to snag some fairy wings and crowns for bargain prices that way. Be on the lookout!
Another October idea was my SCARE package. A friend said she had so much fun collecting items for her care package mailed to grands in California. It hadn't occurred to her how much fun it would be in the collecting. And then the pictures that were texted to her when they received the package--PRICELESS!
One last Halloween idea...
And one I'm sure a lot of you grandparents do. SAVE THOSE PICTURES! Print them out and frame them! Then stash them away with your Halloween decorations. I do this myself. It's a mostly selfish thing--I simply enjoy those pictures year after year. The local craft stores have some precious Halloween frames or you can make your own. Yesterday we had a birthday party for all our family's October birthdays. My grandkids were over and love looking at all the old pictures when they were younger and dressed in their costumes. Who doesn't enjoy a walk down memory lane. I've even framed pictures of my own kids when they were young at Halloween. Grands enjoy seeing their parents dressed up.
More on those sensory bins~
To finish out the month (and when I was gone on vacation), I asked my friend Gail to write for my blog. She chose her sensory tables. I got a lot of response to that one and not just from grandparents--from parents too. It had me exploring the concept as I had never done a sensory table for my grands. I do have a sand table, so I'm not totally lacking in offering a sensory experience to my grandchildren when they come. As I said, it got me to exploring online.
One of the sites I discovered was happy hooligans.ca. There were beaucoup of ideas for sensory tables, and one that I wanted to explore was using a mirror on your table. She reported that she took it outside and braced it on a sturdy table (of course......need to be super safety-conscious with those dear grands). One thing that she and her children couldn't get over was the reflection of the sky on their table. It was like working in the clouds. Then they took it over and set it up under a tree. They loved the reflection of the leaves and branches and GREEN in their table. I had to try this for myself.
My friend and guest blogger for sensory bins also said: "I forgot to mention an 'aroma therapy' sensory table we've explored. I put lavender essential oil on raw rice. The goal was calm grandchildren. We all enjoyed the sensory experience, but made a sizable mess with the rice. So, we changed the goal to just having fun and enjoying the 'aroma'."
Who knew all you could do with SENSORY TABLES! She also added another activity she does with them. Take some of the items from the table and make a pattern--see if your grand can copy the pattern. And then vice-versa. Have them create a pattern and you copy! I'm telling you--I'm thinking there are hours of fun with this. Turn off the TV and the IPads and give those kids a chance at some real 'hands-on' activities.
As always, I sign off saying that this is a blog about going through the seasons with your grandchildren and finding the delights in each one. Thank you for sharing ideas this month. Made me enjoy it even more.
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are OCTOBERS." Anne of Green Gables
Here's that great website:
A great "hands on" activity~
I've been out and about the past two weeks, so I asked another grandmother to share some ideas that she does with her grandkids. She's a former kindergarden teacher, and she's all about touching, and feeling and exploring our world.
She does a sensory table with her grands and here are some of her comments:
There is one activity I've used with my grands that has resulted in hours of fun. It's the sensory bin. It can change as often as you'd like by changing fillers, tools and objectives.
This is how easy it was to make. I got the plans from the website: 2 Teaching Mommies. I took these plans to Home Depot and showed an employee what I wanted to make:
He kindly cut the PVC pipes to the desired lengths and gathered the correct connectors. I checked out, assembled it at home, and we've enjoyed it ever since. I'm sure some people would rather DIY it, but I left that part to the pros.
Here are the materials needed:
1 Sterilite 28-quart storage box (23 1/2" by 17" by 6")
3/4 inch PVC pipe (see cut list)
8-3/4" PVC side outlet elbows/3-way connector
2-3/4 inch PVC tee
2-3/4 inch elbow
2 - 21 inch
5 - 14 1/4 inch
4 - 10 inch
2 - 3 1/2 inch
4 - 18 1/4 inch (or customized to your desired height. These are the uprights customized for your child's height.)
There are unlimited fillers and tools for your sensory bins. We've tried fillers such as water, sand, different kinds of beans, water beads, colored rice, corks, and shaving cream. Besides being fun to explore, kids develop many skills: fine motor, scoop and pour, measuring, predicting (how many of 'these' will it take to fill 'this'), seek and find, etc. Just visit the website Pocket of Preschool for a fabulous list of items for fillers.....and tools!
HOURS OF FUN!
One of the last times we got this out to explore, I went into the house to get supplies, and when I came back out, the grands and their Grandpa Chuck had used the pieces to build their own masterpieces. I think my grands may get PVC pipe pieces and connectors for Christmas!
One more note from my friend Gail~
And as an added bonus, when the grands go home, I can pack all the pieces into the bin itself!
How fun to have a sensory table at your house! None of that.....I'm bored......I've got nothing to do. Simply drag out the sensory table and get going! Hours of fun and develops important skills to boot.
Grandma Gail (who is also a Gigi) reports that she got this fabulous idea from these two great blogs:
Not a Care Package~A SCARE Package!
Who among us doesn't enjoy getting a special package in the mail? Especially full of treats just for YOU! Kids are no different.
I often send my grandkids Halloween treats--either in the mail or hand delivered to their doorstep as a surprise. I patterned it after "You've Been Booed," a Halloween tradition that plays out in neighborhoods across America. Perhaps you've been booed or have booed a friend or neighbor. It goes like this--someone puts a package/bag at your door with a couple of Halloween-themed treats. You keep the treats and send the bag on with two more treats for your neighbor or co-worker. I thought it was such a great concept, that I do it with my grands. Only it ends with them--they don't have to boo anyone else.
I call mine a "SCARE" package. I try to deliver to their back door when they're gone to school. This year I'm mailing a "scare" package to my grandson in another city. They get so much candy that I often don't include candy in my package--just other fun treats. Here's a list of suggestions:
I just think it's a great way to participate in your grandchildren's Halloween goings-on. Even though three of my grandchildren live in town, it's difficult to come to my house for treats. They are eager to join their friends for all the Halloween fun in their neighborhoods. So I came up with the concept of delivering a SCARE package to them! And certainly for my grandson in another city. I even try to deliver it early so they are able to wear the Halloween tees to school before the actual holiday.
This blog is about the joys of grandparenting through the SEASONS. I would love to hear from you about what you have done with your kids for this holiday. Please share.
A friend sent me this website that has a GREAT list of Halloween treats that doesn't include candy. It's really good:
One more note:
Don't be telling me that your grands are older--too old for a SCARE package! You're never too old for a care package. If they're in college, you'll be a rock star if you send them some homemade treats! They are on their own and in an apartment? Same deal--they would love to get a treat from you--perhaps some pumpkin bread. I've even sent my sister an autumn treat bag. She loved it and ended up sending me a holiday treat bag at Christmas to reciprocate. No, one is never too old to get a care package.
Watch for next week's blog. I have another guest writer and she's doing a blog about her sensory table. It's fabulous and a wonderful activity with your grands for the fall.
Happy Halloween to you and yours. Stay safe!
It's Showtime! Last week's blog was about my costume box. Well, you certainly can't have a box of costumes without having a STAGE! And who knew it could be so easy.
Simply go to the discount store, and get yourself a curtain tension rod, and install it in the appropriate doorway--hopefully one that has an entrance to the den or living room where all the family can gather and watch the young ones perform. Nothing better as any grandparent can attest. And just lower the curtain, and it becomes a puppet stage, Finished for the evening? Simple release the tension in the rod and take it down.
If you've never encouraged your grandkids to perform, let me encourage you to start. The advantages for your grandkids are many:
It develops language and speaking skills. It gives children confidence. Kids that develop such skills in drama tend to become leaders and do well in school. Because of the confidence that develops, they are inclined to participate in math and science fairs. They do well academically. What grandparent wouldn't want to have a hand in developing that.
As you can imagine, drama nurtures the imagination and promotes creativity. It enables the practice of cooperation and collaboration. I've seen my grands work together on plays--developing dialogue, writing scripts, and planning entrances and exits. Yes, they argue, but they eventually work it out.
An important advantage~
And here's one advantage that we don't often think about--it teaches empathy. As I've told you in previous blogs, I taught middle school. I was fortunate to train in "History Alive." One of the components in that teaching technique is role playing. Let's say you've completed your study of the Texas revolution. You can then begin having your students role-play. You might assign someone to be William Travis, the leader of the Alamo. The student has to get inside of Travis and try to comprehend what that might have been like--to ask men to fight against incredible odds. You can even have someone be Santa Ana and try to comprehend his motives for not letting Texas escape the dominion of Mexico. Or have someone play the role of a farmer's wife whose husband decides to join the Texians. You can see how that would development empathy and understanding, two traits that I think are sorely needed in today's world.
But don't just take my word for it~
"I find that one of the great things about acting--you have the opportunity to stand in somebody else's shoes. . . Each character faces a dilemma in her life, and as an actor you're able to step into that character's skin, look through her eyes. You leave transformed, a different person, because once you live a little bit of someone's life, it changes you." Sally Field
"I love acting because it's this space where dreams can be realized, fantasy comes to life, and there are no limitations on what's possible." Jessica Alba
And puppet shows~
And we can't forget Shakespeare:
"The play's the thing. . ."
Give creative dramatics a try at your house. Just another fun way to bond with your grands and see their wonderful creativity and imagination in action!
Here are two links to one of my favorite blog spots. The first is about clothespin people which you could use for puppets, and the second is another way to do a "no sew" puppet theater.
(You'll have to do a search for "Clothespin People" and "Puppet Show". I was unable to link directly to those pages. Sorry......)
Ye Old Costume Trunk
Who hasn't been captivated by the picture of the grandchildren sneaking up the stairs into grandma's attic going through her trunk and trying on old clothes? It's an image that delights us and one I've tried to recreate at my house.
My daughter-in-law actually got me started on a costume box. For my granddaughter's fourth birthday, I called my daughter-in-law for ideas for a gift. She suggested costumes for their family's costume box. I was glad to contribute. But it got me to thinking. . . I needed a costume box at my house too! I already had a cedar trunk that I have used for a coffee table, but no longer had room for in my living room. I was set!
And more. . .
My sister got me the book, Grandmother, Another Name for Love by Alice Gray and Susan Wales. I've already sung this book's praises in another blog post. I copied a lot of the authors' ideas for my costume box from their chapter, "Tender Moments," when I started my costume collection for my box.
Collect, collect, collect! From EVERYWHERE!
You can probably guess the drill. Start with your own closet--old dresses, handbags, tops, shoes, and perhaps some hats. Then from my husband's closet I got an old sport coat and two vests from his hippie days including a serape. Then I hit the thriftshops. The local party supply store is great as you can get a wealth of accessories there for a minimal price. I even snagged tutus and princess dresses at discount stores. The list is endless. My sister donated all her old costume jewelry, but as I write this, I'm thinking she might want her jewelry back! She has great-granddaughters now.
Don't forget the jewelry and accessory box. I used a separate box for that--so boas and flower leis don't get crushed. This cute box was inexpensive at the craft store and it matches my guest room decor.
Remember other professions too! That fourth birthday for my granddaughter that I previously mentioned? Besides the princess dress, I did buy her nurses' and doctors' garb as well. And my girls love the safari hats (or dinosaur hunter's hats....whatever) and the firemen hats too. I'm an equal opportunity grandma!
Please remember. . .
This costume box was thirteen years in the making. This didn't happen overnight. And some of the costumes were donated from my grandkids' own costume box. They outgrew them and wanted their younger cousin to enjoy them when he was at my house.
If nothing else, just let them get into your closet. That's really all they need for a world of fun!
"Play gives children a chance to practice what they are learning." Mr. Rogers
Costumes in action:
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!