Grandparents in Action

Well, the week with our three East Coast grands has come and gone.  What a privilege it was to help our children out by caring for their children while they attended a week-long conference and at the same time have opportunity to invest in our grandchildren through some face-to-face action.

After my last post on 30 (Winter Season) Things to Do with Your Grandkids, I thought it might be fun to share with you how we used some of those ideas during our week-long visit.  It is, after all, one thing to have a list of ideas and quite another to actually carry them out.

First of all, it’s important to note that our week was NOT DRIVEN by the list.  Our daughter home schools the two older children so there were lessons to be completed.  The youngest celebrated his third birthday while here.  There was an impromptu visit to the nearby Aquarium.  (My son’s idea, for the two of us to take his children and my daughter’s — five in all.)  And then there were some just-hanging-around-and-being-together stretches.

At times throughout the week, though, some ideas from the list worked their way into our day.

2 mile walkOne easy “do” for my husband and I was working exercise time in.  The two of us “walk” two or three times a week to a video by Leslie Sansone.  So on Sunday and Wednesday evenings, we fixed water bottles for all, spread out in the family room, and walked together.  Such great fun!  The kids enjoyed it so much.  After Sunday’s session, they were all ready when Wednesday rolled around.  The eight and six year old both walked the entire two miles.  The just-turned-three year old, made it a mile.  Then he curled up in a corner of the room to play while the rest of us finished the walk.  So, we didn’t actually use the idea as it was presented on the list (#6- Exercise using a YouTube playlist), but we were able to take the idea and fit it into our normal routine.

Monday found us able to incorporate several ideas from the list into our day.  It was the youngest’s birthday–three years old.  After lunch, all three children and I gathered in the kitchen to bake his birthday cake (a variation on #2 – Make a Snack or #17 – Bake Cookies).  Then before his nap we spread an old sheet across the back of the sofa and a chair to create a Storytime Tent, all crawled in, and read a book of his choosing together (#1 – Read a Book Together, #16 – Create a Blanket Fort).  That night, to celebrate his birthday, we had a Pizza Party Picnic.  We called one of our favorite local pizza places and had them deliver a pizza.  When it arrived, we spread the same Storytime sheet on the family room floor and had a picnic (#29 – Have an Indoor Picnic on the Floor).Pizza Party Picnic

Throughout the week, we had occasion to implement a few of the other ideas from the list:  we read books together as we sat on the couch, worked jigsaw puzzles, played board games and the Wii, and played with Legos.  At times we did these things together, but more often one or two children would work a puzzle or play a board game with grandma while the others did school work or some other activity.

The last major idea from the list that we used last week turned out to be a favorite of everyone — #27 -Create a “Masking Tape” Race Track (  On Thursdays and Fridays, I watch my two local grandchildren which means on those two days there were five children (ages 8, 6, 3, 3, and 1) in the house.  Needless to say, I was looking for something to help entertain them when we weren’t involved with school work or other scheduled activities.  So early Thursday morning before everyone was up, my three year old grandson and I laid down a masking tape road covering most of the family room floor and then we gathered up all the Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars we could find.  This was a hit–even with the two girls.  Animals and other items were gathered and used by the girls to create a zoo and museum within the “city.”  The boys created gas stations and shortcuts.  This was the “go to” for all the kids all day Thursday and Friday!

Masking Tape TrackOne other thing that all five children enjoyed together was a rousing game of Indoor Hide and Seek (#15).  I’m not sure what was more fun for me:  watching the younger children gain a new perspective on hiding places from their older cousins, enjoying the sight of the older children helping the younger  ones learn to count and seek, or hearing the laughter from all.

As a long-distance grandma, I seldom have these opportunities to spend extended time with some of my grandchildren or to enjoy them together with their cousins.  What a sweet, sweet time especially now that they are getting a little older.  It’s such a joy to learn about them, share with them, and watch as they grow.

I pray that you, too, have opportunities like this whether your grandchildren live far away or around the corner!