Sunday, November 21, 2010

A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE THINGS…(to do with little or no prep time)

Thinking up things to do and play with your great-grandchildren, can sometimes be a challenge, especially when you think you’ve run out of creative ideas to WOW them. Here are some tried and true activities that you can do at your home, their home, or when they come to visit you on a trip. These are things you can do with one child or many, and are good family get-together activities, whether it’s for the holidays or the weekend. It’s nice to have an assortment of activities, that can be done with a bit of pre-planning, and that won’t take up too much space in a closet or room, and won’t put you over your credit card limit. AND…they’re fun.                                                                        

There are hundreds of movies (in DVD, VHS, and movie theater format) available for kids of all ages. Decide what movie you all want to see, and then, pop some pop-corn (except for the very young kids – you can give them a sippy cup with milk, instead), and sit down together to watch it. When you’re finished, have a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” review. If the kids are young, you may want to “pause” when their attention demands a break. Write, or have them dictate, a review, and perhaps draw a picture. This review can be saved in a “Movie Review” folder, to be shared with the parents and/or sent to the long-distance great-grandparent. Ask them to send their reviews to add to your folder.

Everyone likes to dress up, and be “somebody else”. Find some old fun and interesting clothes (hats, gloves, junk jewelry, vests, shoes, boas, non-prescription plastic sunglasses, wigs, tiaras, job uniforms, cocktail dresses, shawls, old military duds, etc.) You can also find great dress up items at used and thrift stores, if you need to augment your collection. Find a fun large card-board box, and let the kids decorate it. Keep it anywhere that is accessible. Don’t be afraid to dress up, yourself, and join the fun. Take some photos of each other, and you can create an album that will be fun to show other family members.

Picnics don’t necessarily have to be outdoors or during the summer. Indoor picnics can be really fun AND there are no ants or flies. Some fun picnic areas around the house might be: a playroom, the dining room, the living room, the kitchen, the laundry room, the attic or basement, etc. All you need is a table cloth, and old sheet or a blanket, some picnic plates, cups and utensils, some yummy homemade finger foods, fruit and veggies, and of course, an appropriate drink. After EVERYONE has helped clean up, and recycled, how about a fun game of hide and seek?

Take a medium sized plastic container, with a top, and fill it full of all kinds of found objects and a couple of squeeze bottles of white glue (washable, of course). This treasure box will give your great-grandchildren hours of fun. The contents might include: feathers, colored pipe cleaners, old buttons, shells, small dried interestingly shaped colored pasta (macaroni, etc.), pieces of ribbon, twigs and leaves that have been collected around your home, stickers, plastic eyeballs, puffy colored balls, dried pods from trees, etc. Most of these items you can find at craft stores (Michael’s, JoAnn’s, etc.) or from collections around your home. Have some colored paper, sanded pieces of wood, mirrors, picture frames, etc. available to paste these items on and decorate. Kids of all ages love this kind of activity, and the more stuff in the box, the better!!!

While you may have cards for more adult games, a simple deck of cards can provide hours of interactive fun for kids of all ages. We’re not going to give you directions on how to play these games…that’s what Google is for, but we will give you some games, for you to play with your great-grandchildren. You may have to adapt some of these games, especially for the very young children. The names of some of these games are quite horrible, but the games are fun.
  • Concentration (Memory)
  • Go Fish
  • Crazy Eights
  • War
  • Old Maid
  • Snap, etc.
If you’re extra industrious, you and your great-grandchildren can MAKE a deck of cards (colors, numbers, family member photos, reptiles, etc.) that you can use to play concentration. .

Have fun!!!