Post by Sharon
Finding activities to do with the grandkids can be difficult at times since their lives are usually indoors and electronic, but the things that make them wonder at their universe involve make believe, outdoors, and creative design. You only have to go back to your own childhood to realize what might work -
How about building a soapbox car - a project that involves teaching basic mechanics and design concepts for wee little budding architects, mechanics and thrillseekers.
How about homemade playdough? This activity teaches cooking, creative color mixing, and following instructions. There is a real sense of creation knowing that they made something they usually buy in the store. The mystery is gone and the sense of mastery is in its place.
You can take dominos or slinkies and teach a bit about how to make elaborate setups for downing them. Utilize stacks of books, toys, and varying elevations. The knowledge of how one item affects another and that affects another is a bit of the butterfly effect being taught without having to preach it and test them on it.
A waterhole, quarry, or stream with a rope swing, a tire swing, a tree swing are all childhood faves that allow the giddy feeling of flying and adventure. The dreams they create are as high as the sky above. In a world that overschedules children, being able to have that giddy floating feeling is like meditation to these little active machines.
Lie down and watch the clouds. Let them tell you what they look like, what they are doing, and as they change, what they turn into. that elephant cloud becomes a bird cloud. Now, some paper and crayons can help reenact those characters. This is a great test of observational skills and coming to a conclusion based on evidence.
Write a song, play music, dance, teach an instrument, start a band! There is no single better thing to get a kid hooked on than music as it has effects on mood and mind, as well as fine motor skills coordination. Whether they want to use a tambourine or learn the guitar, start out with some awesome folk music of the 1970s. Try writing lyrics and let them help you rhyme.
Introducing them to some "classics" is great to - whether it's the rock music of our era or the Saturday morning cartoons, comedy shows, or 50s scifi we were glued to. Even old-fashioned radio shows are a new find for the kids and there's some great ones on YouTube.
Build a treehouse, a grow fort, a blanket fort or a box car - this shows them resourcefulness and allows them control over designs. Many kids miss out on this with pre-fab clubhouses and resin cars. Having designed the shapes and colors themselves makes it a process rather than a delivery and completely custom.
We want to encourage them to be individuals so they don't succumb to others and peer pressure to determine their prioirities and likes and dislikes.
Enjoy the wee ones - they are just as open to exposure and learning as we were - and eager to try new stuff!