When I was young, neither of my grandmothers worked outside the home; they did work hard in their homes but yet, always managed to have time and energy for the grandchildren; I know how they did it. They would never have more than one of us stay the weekend at a time, making it all about the one they had over. My grandma would cut dresses out of scraps of material, teach us to pin them together and then sew them; we made doll houses out of boxes, we made curtains, and furniture out of odds and ends. She often had us at the kitchen table helping with dinner, or if we were real lucky, desert! We played games, made sock puppets, or, we would sit together on her bed while she told stories of her life growing up-fascinating stuff!
Being a grandmother is one of the finest positions held; we can teach, love, spoil, and share special moments which enriches the young lives as well as our own. My grandmother taught me so much, cooking, sewing, but most of all she gave me the knowledge that it does not take money to give our grandchildren good quality time. I have to date, twenty-six grandchildren, and some of my best times cost only my time. We have made Valentine cards, mini-wedding cakes, hats, and doll clothes. I went to thrift stores and picked up old frilly dresses and high heels, taught some how to make tie blankets, tamales, and had Dr. Seuss weekends, filled with books and videos. We made Green Eggs and Ham, stars for Star-bellied Sneeches, and goofy hats too. It only takes, imagination, time, and love; we can give so much but when we give of ourselves, and hand over the tools needed for life, we give them the world.
One important item to remember, make sure the project is age appropriate! The best rule of thumb is this: One minute per age. Don’t keep them waiting to get things prepared either. I would have hearts cut out, stickers for the wee ones, and other materials for older children. My favorite craft is mini-wedding cakes. They are easy and fun, also, you can make little invites for friends in your neighborhood to come and partake of the decorating and after…a teddy bear tea party! I save small and large tuna cans, wash well, dry, and prepare them for baking by oiling and flouring them. Make and bake the cakes in advance, let them cool, take white frosting and food coloring, place the colored frosting in small sandwich bags cut the ends off, put varied candy in a bowl and let the children get creative! While the cakes are cooling, I gave each girl a paper plate, pre-cut the slits for ribbons, and gave them pre-cut tissue paper, glue, and let them decorate their fancy hats. After the cakes are decorated, I took pictures while they have their tea party.
Don’t exclude boys in the kitchen either, it’s important for them to use their creative side as well. I love bringing out the ingredients for “Slime”. Boys love making that gooey stuff. Let your grandchildren find the best adventures in books, help them write a story of their own. We do not have video games, who needs them with a world of imagination at their fingertips.