Article by: Denise Long
Grandma in CHIEF - grandmothering.info
If you’re like many grandparents, you revel in spending time with your grandchildren, regardless of their ages. However, their interest and ability levels may differ drastically from your own. It is possible, however, to keep the little ones entertained and engaged even if you aren’t physically able to run and play.
Start With Art
From the very young to the very old, people of all ages enjoy doing art. Drawing, painting, and crafting are safe and fun activities for the entire family. Projects that are fun for kids include creating a newspaper skyline, using leaves, acorns, and twigs to create small works of art, and making crayon drip canvases. Younger children can utilize torn construction paper pieces to dream up their very own landscape while older kids might find some amusement creating Picasso-like art with markers and magazine cutouts.
Teach a Practical Hands-on Skill
You can also have fun with your grandchildren by teaching them practical skills. This is especially meaningful if it’s a family pastime that has been passed down from one generation to the next. Some ideas include quilting and woodworking. HomeAdvisor explains that the latter requires paying careful attention to young children, as woodworking involves sharp knives. A few fun projects here include building a toolbox, bookshelf, or birdhouse.
Cooking With Kids
Speaking of knowledge that gets passed from parent to child, cooking is another valuable life skill that you can share with your grandchildren. Bring them to the kitchen to learn how to make a family favorite recipe. This could be a main dish, a traditional holiday course, or dessert. PBS Parents explains that when children learn to cook, they also get to explore new foods and culture. It also teaches reading and math skills. More importantly, putting on an apron and whipping up a tasty treat is a bonding experience that can’t be replicated any other way. Always practice safe kitchen practices and never leave children under the age of 16 unsupervised when the oven or stovetop are in use. Keep sharp knives out of reach and encourage regular hand washing to prevent cross contamination.
Share Your Family History
Most children don’t have much of an idea of where they come from beyond their parents and grandparents. But you likely remember and have mementos of their ascendants going back one or more generations beyond yourself. For many families, this is the form of jewelry, books, or military mementos. Teach your grandchildren about your own grandparents and great grandparents and let them touch and feel these vestiges of the past. You never know when something will catch their interest that will encourage them to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and keep their stories alive for their own children and grandchildren.
An Old Classic
Kids need to keep their hands busy, so consider making a tried-and-true classic, play dough. With simple ingredients including salt, flour, oil, and water, you and your grandchildren can mix up this old-fashioned favorite in a matter of minutes. As an added benefit, homemade play dough is non-toxic. It also tastes terrible, which will discourage ingesting more than the amount needed to satisfy their inevitable curiosity.
In addition to kitchen and garage safety, you’ll need to make sure your home is a safe haven for your grandchildren. If they are very young, consider covering the electrical outlets and anchoring heavy furniture to the floor. Remove dangerous items, such as cleaning products and razors, and keep your windows closed to prevent falls. Dr. Sears offers more childproofing ideas. When your grandchildren are around, keep common materials that you use with them within reach so you aren’t running up and down stairs or driving to the store every time they come for a visit.
It is possible to connect with your grandchildren no matter the amount of years that span your generations. But remember, safety is your top priority so choose activities that won’t be encumbered by either of your physical limitations.