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Grandparents Teach, too: Creative ideas for grandkids’ visits

Sabin, DaVIS, HETRICK, ANDEREGG, Macalady, walker, darling and Katers

“Grandchildren: My favorite hello and my hardest goodbye.

While we try to teach our grandchildren about life, our grandchildren teach us what life is all about.

We may not be rich and famous, but our grandchildren are priceless.” — authors unknown

The grandchildren are coming to visit! There are no greater words than these unless you have just received news the grand family is moving closer. Either way grandparents can use these creative activities with the usual joys of being together.

Watermelon Sorbet

Purchase seedless or almost seedless watermelon. Children can use table knives and cut the pink watermelon into one inch cubes with no seeds. Save the seeds for a seed spitting contest. Place cubes in the freezer until hard and have a seed spitting contest while the watermelon freezes. Blend the frozen cubes in a blender until you have a smooth puree. Pat down in a small cake pan and freeze again. Run a scoop or spoon under hot water and scoop out the sorbet. If you let the sorbet melt it makes a delicious Slurpee.

DIY foamy paint

Children can use markers or crayons to draw on pieces of poster board you have cut into small sizes like 8 1/2 x 11 or even smaller. To make the foam paint that will add dimension and interest to their drawings mix equal parts of shaving cream and white school glue and add food coloring or poster paint. Place in strong sealed freezer bags and squish the materials carefully together. When the paint is mixed, cut a small hole in the corner of each bag.

Children can add to their artwork like piping icing and let pictures harden overnight. The paint will say puffy when dry. Remind children not to touch their eyes since shaving cream is soap and will sting.

Spread happiness

Use chunky chalk or chalk paint to make a little happy faces pathway all over your neighborhood sidewalks. Make them far enough apart that people will look forward with anticipation to finding the trail of smiley faces as they walk their dog. Look out the window to watch their reactions.

To make liquid chalk add one cup cornstarch to one cup poster paint. You can make it thinner by using less cornstarch. The liquid chalk will wash off with the next rain and is not toxic to the environment or pets.

Love rocks

Pick up some flat rocks near a river or lake. Pour different colors of washable paint in small plastic containers. Children can decorate the rocks and print “Hi” on the other side. Place them on neighbor’s steps or a loved one’s grave. For more ideas see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/learning through the seasons; Facebook and Pinterest.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.

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