One of the reasons I love being a grandmother is that I think of every interaction with them as fun. Just having a silly conversation and making funny faces with my two and a half year old grandson is a blast but that’s another article!
A few weeks ago, reader Leah Hastings of Pure Flix media, wrote in to suggest I post some ideas for grandmothers to do with their grandchildren. Thanks, Leah!
So….Here are 10 fun ideas which are a mixture of culturally Jewish ideas and general population ideas. All are good, but since I’m a Jewish Bubby or grandmother, I veer towards the Jewish stuff! So come along with me and explore these ideas….
- Listen to CD’s of a funny tape: My grandchildren love to listen to funny tapes which are usually educational stories and songs acted out by professional writers and actors and sold in Judaica stores. Really fun tapes filled with lessons on good character traits are “When Zaidy Was Young” and “The Marvelous Midos Machine”.These are wonderfully entertaining – for adults and children –and are useful for playing in the car during long and short errands. Play it at home in the kitchen or family room and sit around and laugh and learn. It’s great stuff and the lyrics and tunes will stay with you for a long time.
- Sharing Fads and Crazes: When I was a child, it was the Hula Hoop. When our kids were growing up it was the Rubik’s Cube which went out of style and then came back a few years ago when my own grandsons were pre-schoolers! How perfect. Just these past few weeks, the newest fad is the FIDGET SPINNER. It’s wild. It’s great for the kids to have something to share with their friends (during recess only, I’m told!) It’s not too expensive or hard on the parents’ wallets. It’s fun for those kids with or without ADHD. (but don’t we all have a little bit of ADHD?) And best of all, it’s great as a conversation starter. I love listening to my grandsons tell me about this fad, showing me how it works and asking my many silly questions (they are very patient with me!).
- Friday Night Shabbat Meal: Another fun activity revolves around our Friday night Shabbos or Shabbat meal when our son, daughter-in-law and grandsons eat with us. Every week, they come home from school with a handout from their teacher. The handout consists of questions on topics from the Torah Portion or Parsha of the week that the children have learned. My husband and my son read through the questions and when one of the kids doesn’t know the answer or hesitates, my husband makes up some silly choices with the correct choice being the only logical one. This always gets the boys to laugh and warms my heart because I know we are creating memories.
- Baseball Game Outing: Every summer we take the boys to a Dodger Game and the boys love it. It has become a tradition for the past six years since our older grandson was only three. It’s hard to believe he sat still for the entire game at that age, but he did. Anyway, we bring along hot dogs from home and other snacks and take lots of pictures and my husband explains the game to the boys and it’s really a lot of fun. Their mommy and daddy don’t come along, by the way. It’s a great way to give them time off. Oh yeah, we are due for that trip to the ballpark this summer, but the season just started so we’ll wait a month or so.
- Day at the Park: This is simple fun – we usually do this on a Sunday afternoon. We grab some balls of all sizes, sandwiches, water bottles, mitts and some scooters. And we head to the park and have a picnic. We haven’t done this for some time and just writing about it is making me excited to suggest it for a future Sunday.
- Playing Board or Card Games: As mentioned above, the most popular one is chess. I rarely beat my grandsons and the game goes by pretty fast before they “check-mate” me, so this one doesn’t take that much time. But it’s fun while it lasts.
- Reading Books – I love reading “The Cat in the Hat” to my 2 year old grandson. He gets really into it and he points to the pictures on the page, enthusiastically naming them. We have a blast, turning the pages (when he lets!) and discuss his topics about the “fish,” and the “water,” and Thing One and Thing Two.
- Singing Songs and Finger Plays: I love singing songs to my toddler grandson. I also enjoy doing the motions and watching him giggle, sing and imitate my motions. He already knows some of the songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and others from his playgroup so he’s an experienced guy. Recently we did “Head, shoulders, knees and toes….” and I just adore the way he’s picking up all the names of body parts.
- Piano Lessons: The old expression is that the shoemaker’s kids go barefoot, but this piano teacher is not going to allow her grandsons to grow up without piano lessons. So even if I have to give them a lesson here and there when we see each other and when I and they have time, I will do that! So far it’s been fun, if not sporadic. A few lessons on rhythm, note reading and such. They love it, I love it, and it keeps us bonding. And by the way, when they prepared an anniversary card for my husband and me several months ago, they wrote about us “Omi (that’s my grandmother name!) teaches us how to play piano!” And reading that made me proud!
- Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf: It’s always a fun tradition to take the boys for a cookie or Danish, or other snack at the Coffee Bean near our home. It serves as a special time with grandparents.