Grandparent week at our house started out at the Showalter Reunion. Owen and Julia’s parents drove 8.5 hours to Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia, to participate in the festivities.
At the end of the reunion, Owen and Julia jumped into Grandma and Granddad’s car, and their parents drove back to Philadelphia and Montclair so they could go to work.
Then the fun began. June 23-28. Grandparent Camp.
Actually, it began months earlier when we were asked if we were willing to do camp again. Of course we said “yes!”
We know lots of families “camp” in this way, so here is a little recipe of how we did it this year in hopes that you might get or share an idea.
Let’s compare a week with young grandchildren to making a cake.
Steps: First assemble all your ingredients.
- Confirm the time and length of the visit from your grands.
- Reflect on your memories of their favorite foods, activities, friends in your area. Look over the basement and garage to be sure they will discover their besties.
- Get advice from other grandparents in your area (social media is perfect for crowdsourcing a list)
- If there are two of you, make sure you have all appointments, work schedule, other commitments minimized, with shared coverage for the ones that must stay.
Next, prepare with some special, new activities/art supplies to include children in the planning.
- Buy a few new items. I bought some tiny composition books to serve as journals. Also new crayons, and some gem stickers I knew my granddaughter would love.
- Look up Chore Charts on Pinterest to get some ideas on what children might be able to do well at ages 8 and 6.5.
- Ask if they want to do chores: “Do you want to make a checklist and earn points?” Yes!!
4.Search for partial day classes in the local area. We found the miniatures class at the Larkin Arts Center, and the children both loved it. They went four mornings from 9 to noon and made miniature cat house and panda palace.
Next, mix up the ingredients assembled before the week along with new ones you discover in Quiet Time or Free Play time.
- A potluck supper with lots of other grandparents, followed by a perfect evening of playground exploring and kite flying
- A fairy house — revisiting last year’s favorite activity.
- A neighbor’s hammock — can’t be resisted.
- A tree just right for climbing outside the doctor office.
- A chance to practice Mandarin with the manager at the Oriental Café.
- A puzzle just the right difficulty.
- The classic movie Anne of Green Gables (Colleen Dewhurst, Megan Follows, and Richard Farnsworth are wonderful.) In preparation for going to Nova Scotia in July.)
- The new movie Toy Story 4. Owen takes money from his own wallet and treats Julia and Grandma to popcorn, gummy bears, and water.
- Cashing in those chore chart rewards at Target: a stuffed unicorn and a kite. Julia was surprised to see characters from Toy Story 4 all over the store. 🙂
- Walk to Dairy Queen for blizzards.
- Play backyard tag with Grandma — in pajamas! At night, catch fireflies and put them in a bottle. Then release.
- Drink mocha (hot milk with a little chocolate and a drop or two of coffee) on the deck every morning. Cuddle time.
- Field trips: Westover Park swimming and splash pool, playground. Mt. Crawford Creamery to watch milking, buy souvenirs, and eat ice cream. Route 11 Chips to watch how they are made, eat lots of samples (nine flavors!)and buy several bags of the favorites for mama and papa. Pick blueberries at Hickory Hlll.
14. Reading: Twenty-One Balloons, Blueberries for Sal, The White Cat and the Monk, My Heart, The Boy Who Grew too Small.
15. Bedtime songs: “Jesus Loves Me,” “Peace Like a River.” We also had quiet time after lunch and mostly they napped during this time.
Were there some fights? Yes. Mostly over taking turns with the most popular toy — a 10-year-old toy computer with scores of games loaded into it. But no real crying. No blood.
They really were amazingly good and easy to entertain. Owen says it all below. You may need to turn up your volume to hear him answer why this kite is the right one.
There were lots of things on our list we never got to, even with six days to fill up. We did all that we could. Baking a cake will have to wait until next time!
What fun activities do you remember from visiting grandparents or from hosting grandchildren? I need your help to both ask questions and offer your fun activities. In September we plan to go to Owen and Julia’s house to take care of them while their parents celebrate their tenth anniversary. So we’ll need a whole new set of ideas!