Looking for a community service project to get the New Year off on a good start? How about making activity packets for children at the hospital? And if you can schedule a time to do it with your grandkids, even better!
This all came about when my granddaughter ended up in the emergency room a few years ago with what the doctor suspected was appendicitis. She was in the ER for tests. She was one scared eight-year-old. As she waited for various tests, the nurses brought her an activity packet. Her mother reported that this had really saved the day for them both!
When I heard their story, I knew I had to get involved creating such packets. I volunteer at the same hospital, so checked with the Children's Life facilitator asking her what they liked to see in such packets. I was set to go!
As you can see, it's a pretty straightforward procedure. Just check with your local hospital to see their needs and all the do's and don'ts. I aim for my packets to be for the 5-10 age group. I went to a party supply store to find party favors that would be appropriate for such a packet. They have small packages of crayons, notepads, and even little activity books. My granddaughter reported having fun with pipe-cleaners, creating various items with those. The other items I just got online to find. It's probably easier for you just to peek inside our packets:
This is certainly a project we grandparents can do on our own. But I started my latest packets just a couple of weeks ago, and it worked out where my grands were on a long holiday break, so they came over one day to help me get the supplies ready and to stuff the packets. It's always fun with those two.
And that's it!
Besides helping me ready the supplies, the girls also acted as my guinea pigs, especially with the pipe cleaners. I wanted to see if they could actually create something with the pipe cleaners by just looking at the picture. It seemed to work.
We packed up all supplies and instructions, and got everything ready for delivery. I think it's a fun project and one that might help out a scared child that finds herself in the hospital emergency room or in the hospital for a brief procedure. There's always that wait time that is hard for kids and parents to deal with.
"Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others." Brian Tracy
"You have not lived today until you have helped someone who can never repay you."
Websites for packet ideas:
The love goggles:
Besides doing this on your own or involving your grandkids, you could do it as a group project. When I first approached the Children's Life coordinator at the hospital, she said she had just received a delivery of fun packets from the Junior League. So how about doing it with your book club or bunco group or Bible study friends. The little guys could do it with their Scout troops. The ideas are endless, and it fulfills a real need.
Happy New Year. Here's hoping 2019 is
our best year ever!
How about making small gifts for the residents of your local nursing home, and doing it with your grands? Such a worthwhile endeavor!
The seed of this idea actually came from my sweet sister and role model. My sister volunteers on Wednesday at a local nursing home. She and her husband go with their Sunday school class to a nearby nursing home to attend a Bible study there. They greet the residents and visit with them, and my sister sometimes teaches the lesson. I've wanted to visit a nursing home with my grandkids, and going with my sister and brother-in-law seemed like the way to begin. My granddaughters and I wanted to take small gifts, so we decided on small packets of tissues with a Bible verse attached. Since we joined the Bible study group, it was easy for us to mill about the crowd before the lesson started, greeting them and offering our small gift.
I figured it would be difficult for my granddaughters to just go up to a resident and begin a conversation, and truth be known, it's hard for me too! But approaching them with a small token makes it ever so much easier. So that's just what we did. And I don't have to tell you how the elders in attendance love seeing the youngsters. My sister quite frequently takes her great-grandchildren (even when they were toddlers and an infant.) The ladies (and probably gentlemen too) love holding and cooing with a bouncing baby!
And visiting on Mother's Day is the perfect time!
As I mentioned above, taking a small gift to the residents when you go is a special treat--for the giftee and the giver! Individual roses or another flower would really be sweet on this day! But here are some other ideas.
Suggestions for gifts:
Making the gift tags:
I invited my granddaughters over to create the gift tags, and then to attach them with stickers (they love stickers!) We were going to write favorite Bible verses, but they ended up with favorite lyrics from church songs.......among them, "Jesus loves me." I actually printed them up on the computer as they dictated--we thought it would make it easier for the residents to read.
One year we were able to visit the nursing home at Easter and took plastic Easter eggs which we had decorated with form stickers and glitzy decals. We placed a Bible verse inside each egg. That was a big hit too--both in the making and in the delivering.
Where to get those small gifts?
I actually used a local party supply this last visit. In the children's birthday party section, they have packets of ten or more party favors. Some of those work great--like small, individual note pads, heart bracelets and other trinkets that would be appropriate for nursing homes. Target has those $1 bins at the front of the store. And there are mail-order places like Oriental Trading. Even getting together with your grands and creating gift cards or book markers from scratch would be wonderful!
Happy Mother's Day to all my readers! Since this is a blog with grandparent ideas, I know you're out there! Seriously, have a wonderful day. It's not Mother's Day yet, so you've got time for some of my writing or craft suggestions. Otherwise, just take it easy (you deserve it) and savor the day!
Until next week!
Great book about this subject for the little guys:
"Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge" by Mem Fox
And finally--this just in!
Pictures of my sister's granddaughters and great-grandkids on a recent visit to a nursing home. My sister was unable to go this trip, but her daughter took the pictures. Thanks, Tracy, for sharing your photos.
A Season for Giving and Involving the Grands~
A few years ago when my grands were younger, I wanted to involve them in my Christmas donating activities. They were too young (mostly) to earn money for giving on their own, but I thought they could help me with mine--they weren't too young for that.
I decided we would participate in the Toys for Tots campaign sponsored by our community's Interfaith organization. I took each grand one on one (and if you don't ever do that, I recommend it--every kid should have some alone time with a grandparent!) for an afternoon outing. I explained to them that I wanted to give a toy for a child whose parents may not be able to afford toys/gifts this year. When we got to the toy store, I asked them to choose a toy that they thought a kid their age and gender would really like. They each picked out such a toy.
Then we delivered it to Interfaith, and they presented the toy to the receptionist. The receptionist alerted the behind-the-scenes staff and they came out to thank the child and explained to my grandchildren that it would make some kid very happy.
Then we preceded to enjoy our outing as we usually did back when they were young(er). We took the trolley to Market Street, and stopped by the cupcake shop to enjoy a drink and a cupcake.
My son and his wife buy and place ornaments on their tree to commemorate trips, customs, and their children's interests. Just like most of you, I'm sure. So it will come as no surprise to you that I bought a cupcake ornament to represent the time they helped me buy toys for those kids less fortunate.
I'm sure the seed of this giving was sowed in my mind when my big sister said she piled some of her grandkids in her car and went on a shopping trip. My sister is of the habit to buy clothes and toys for needy families at Christmas, and this particular year, she decided to involve her grands. They all jumped out of the car at the store and went in and bought clothes and toys with a needy family in mind. My sister met them at the check-out. I'm thinking that this models the behavior of giving for our grandchildren. So great to send that message to them.
I know so many of you do these kinds of things with your grands and much more. I would love to hear about it. Just use the contact page to share. We need to keep stirring this pot of ideas for sharing love and joy and family traditions with our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Please write! And maybe this is one tradition you can add at your house--buy an ornament to commemorate the occasion! Those ornaments have even more meaning when they represent something they did with YOU!
December 5th addition~
You'll notice in my "Final Thoughts" paragraph, I asked readers for their stories. A sweet friend responded with her story:
"Last year when I went back home for Christmas, I had my youngest grandson, age 14, with me. I wanted him to see and experience how much better it is to give rather than receive. I told him we were going to give $100 to a complete stranger. We said a little prayer that we would be giving it to the most deserving person. We went to a big-box discount store and walked around the store and even observed the people in the check-out line. We simply did not get the right vibes (to use a '60's word) and we left. Next we went to a store across town. There we saw a young mother with a toddler in her basket. She was looking at toys and finally selected one small toy. She had such a sweet face and demeanor, and I just knew she was the one. My grandson and I looked at each other, and I could tell from the look on his face, he agreed. We walked up to her, gave her the $100 bill and said "Merry Christmas." She looked at us shocked and replied, "I just couldn't." We told her that it was actually a gift to US, and something we both wanted to do. She grabbed us, and gave us a big hug. Then she looked up to the heavens and said, "Thank you, Lord." We all got tears in our eyes. I really think this holiday episode made my grandson understand the lesson that the Lord Jesus himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Love hearing from my readers. Please write anytime!
Merry Christmas and happy HOLY days to all!
Retired school teacher and now full time grandmother sharing ideas and looking for new ones about grandparenting!