Entertaining the Grandchildren  
By Dian Thomas

Grandchildren coming for an afternoon visit, a one-night sleepover or a long weekend? Grandchildren live far away and can't visit too often? You know they can watch TV and videos anytime, and you want the time you spend with them to be meaningful and bonding. Whether they live near or far, you'll want to try a few of these ideas to help bring generations together.

Grandparent's picture letter

When you write to young grandchildren who can't read, add hand-drawn pictures (or even pictures cut from magazines) rebus-style. The letter will be special for children who are eager to receive mail — and they are. Letters can be valued memories if tucked away in their treasure boxes.

Puzzle letter

When you write to your grandchild, glue the letter onto cardboard and cut it into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle. Send the pieces. Your grandchild will enjoy having to put the pieces together in order to read the letter.

Grandchildren's slumber party

Invite all the grandchildren over for a special slumber party. This is an excellent way to build memories that will last.

Grandchildren's room

If you have an extra room in the house, you might decorate it and organize it with all the items grandchildren can play with and enjoy. Perhaps you could make a small storage area under a flight of stairs into a little play area or hideout.

Surprise box

For younger grandchildren, collect inexpensive toys, games, etc., that they might enjoy and place them in a box. Before they leave your home, let them reach into the box without being able to see into it and take an item. This can be a fun tradition for the grandchildren to look forward to each time they visit.

Tell stories on your kids

When you are looking for an entertaining tale to tell, remember that grandchildren are always interested in stories about their parents. For example, you might tell the grandchild about the day his or her mother or father was born, or what your family was doing on a significant or historic date, such as when astronauts landed on the moon.

Cupcake messages

Before you bake cupcakes for the grandchildren, write a fortune or funny message on a piece of paper and roll it into a piece of foil. Tightly fold it and place it in the bottom of the paper liner before pouring in the cake batter. Grandchildren will enjoy getting a fortune or special message from grandparents.

Instant Gift

Save up you pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. When the grand children come or you need a present for a special birthday or event let the child celebrating the event reach into the bag of money. They get to take a big hand full of money. They will be delighted to be able to see how much change they got in their hand. They are often more delighted with this than they are with a present.

Grandmother Fishing Pond

This was one of my favorite things for my mother to do with the grandchildren. She would have a fishing pond for them to go fish and catch fish. Mother had an old fishing pole that she tied a string on the end and then put clothes pin on the end of the line. When the grandchildren would come she would put a sheet between a door way about 5 feet up. She had an old pair of boots that she would let the kids put on like waders. They then would take the fishing pole and cast their line over the sheet. Mother would always be on the other side of the sheet so that she could put a prize in the clothes pin. She would then pull on the fishing line like a fish was biting the hook. The children would then pull the line out and were always delighted with what ever gift my mother put on the end.

Be always on the look out for fun activities you can do with the grandchildren. You never know when you will create a memory and an experience that will bond you with you grandchildren. For me I will never forget going to my grandmother's place and having a big slice of her homemade bread with some of her raspberry jam that she made.

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