Monthly Archives: July 2009

Strengthening Your Relationship with Your Grandchild

Yesterday on the bus, the lady who sat by me shared what she was doing this week with a grandchild.  She and her husband were doing an ‘Eleven is Heaven’ activity with a grandson.

To celebrate his birthday, this grandson came to stay with his grandparents for a whole week.  They had a myriad of activities (based on the grandson’s interests) all planned out to do.  Since his career goal was being a 3D animator, Grandma was taking him to the animation department on the campus where we work.  He also enjoys the theater so they are going to a local theater’s production of Singing in the Rain.  (My husband and I have seen it and it is fabulous!)

Her goal was to spend one-on-one with this grandson.  Just grandma, grandpa, and him.  No other grandchildren around to take their attention away from him.  They want to start this as a tradition for each grandchild when they turn eleven.

I think this is a terrific idea!  One that I want to establish.  Just gotta wait another 10 years.

You could do the same thing at different ages if you don’t have an eleven-year-old grandchild.  You could do:

  • One is Fun
  • It’s Great to be Eight
  • Nine is Fine
  • You’re a Queen (King) at Thirteen (or any other ‘teen’ years)
  • On Screen at Fourteen (having the week long activities based around movies and maybe even creating a movie where they are the star)
  • Lean Machine at Fifteen (with activities based around fitness or strength such as running a 5K race, doing a rope course, or wall climbing)
  • Sweet Sixteen (do girlie things with your granddaughter)
  • Mean Machine at Seventeen (where you go to a monster truck show, antique car show, or ride 4-wheelers at the sand dunes)

You can take these theme ideas and adapt them to what is available in your area, what your financial resources can handle, and how much energy you have.  Just keep in mind that if you do it for one grandchild, the other grandchildren will be expecting the same when they turn that age.

Roars, S’mores, and Snores

Have a roar and S'mores activity with your kids!     GrandmaIdeas.comThe other day, I went to the San Diego Zoo.  Not physically.  Just to the website.  (Much cheaper than paying for the airplane and zoo entrance tickets.)

They have a program called ‘Roar and Snore.’ It’s a sleep-over program where kids and their families can pack their pillows and sleeping bags and spend the night at the zoo with exotic bed mates — at a distance.

(Whew!  I was worried there for a moment . . .)

I liked the name of the program.  Roar and snore.  Roar and snore.  Catchy.

That set my mind whirling.  Why couldn’t grandma sponsor a similar ‘program’ for her grandchildren?  Add some graham crackers, a chocolate bar, and marshmallows and you get Roars, S’mores, and Snores.

So, what would grandchildren do at grandma’s Roars, S’mores,and Snores activity?  Here are some ideas:

  • Visit a local zoo
  • Play ‘Going on a Lion Hunt’
  • Play the online game Wild Chronicles where you help record video footage from the Crittercam collars worn by the lions in northern Kenya
  • Sing folk songs around the campfire (such as You Are My Sunshine and She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain)
  • Make a lion face iron on transfer and put it on a shirt (here’s a clipart of a lion and a photo of one that you can use)
  • Do a woodburning picture of a lion
  • Make a lion head out of paper mache
  • Watch movies like Clarence the Cross-eyed Lion (filmed in 1965), Born Free (filmed in 1966), Second-Hand Lion (filmed in 2003), Lion King, Madagascar, Madagascar Escape 2 Africa, or even Jungle Book
  • Make S’mores over a campfire (or in the microwave if you don’t have access to a camp fire)
  • Pitch a tent, pump up an air mattress, and sleep in the back yard (if you don’t have a back yard, throw out the sleeping bags on the floor of the family room)

Share This With Your Grandchildren

Do you have any grandchildren that have taken classes in school where they have used Photoshop?  And then your grandchild wants to buy it but can’t because Photoshop is so outta this world expensive?  If so, there’s an alternative.  It’s free, easy to use, has many of the same options as Photoshop, and is web-based.  And, did I mention it’s FREE?!?!!

This alternative is called SUMO Paint and you can find information about it at http://www.sumopaint.com. This is a program that you use through your Internet browser.  As someone who owns and uses Photoshop, I’m impressed with this program.

It has many of your typical Photoshop tools (lasso, brush, pencil, paint bucket, eraser, clone, text, blur, smudge, crop, eyedropper). There is one different tool — the symmetry tool.  When you draw something, it will draw the exact same thing in five other spots in your blank graphic. Kinda fun.

I made this with the geosphere tool.

It has basic brushes and then some basic brush shapes: heart, cube, moon, various flowers and leaves, sumo, sumo cat. It has a few 3-D brushes: geosphere, heart, tube cone, teapot, glass sumo. And then there’s the animated brushes: car, squidy, explosion, snow, and ghost to name a few.

I did this with the star brush.  (I held the mouse down as I moved it to the right which made it ‘fatter’.)

This is what I got when I used the star tool and moved the mouse to the left and had the shape trails feature turned on.

Watch this short video to see how it works.

Tell your grandchild (who wants Photoshop) about SUMO Paint and you will instantly win tons of brownie points with her!  And then you ought to try it out, too.  Play with it, have fun with it, create with it.  Let your inner child go wild.  Then, share your creation with your grandchild.  It will be fun to see what you each create.

An Activity to Do with Teenage Grandchildren

I know that many of the ideas that I share are not ones that work well with teenagers. (They tend to think that they are too grown up for what they perceive as childish activities!)

Well,  just today (as my grandson was napping) I came across a fabulously fun and free program that I think your teenage grandchildren would enjoy.  The program is Shape Collage.  It is a free download for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  (Are any of you grandmas running a machine with Linux?  Do any of you even KNOW what a Linux computer is???)

This program takes a collection of photos and makes a collage.  Once  you have made your collage, you can either print it on your home printer or send it to an online service such as Shutterfly to be printed.

It is very simple to use.  Drag your photos into the application.  Select the shape you want your collage.  Click preview to make sure the end shape is how you really want it.  Then click create to save your collage.  It’s that simple.  Here are some examples:

a rectangle collage

a circle collage

a heart shape collage

a smiley face collage

Make a shape collage with teens!     GrandmaIdeas.com


a collage of our last name

If your teenage grandchild lives close by, you could get together to collaborate on making a collage. Or, if your grandchild lives too far away, she could create something and then snail mail or e-mail it to you.  And you could make one to send to her.

The collage that you make could be given to another family member as a birthday, Mother’s Day, or Christmas gift.  Or, a granddaughter could make a collage of pictures of her friends and give a copy to each one.  A grandson could make a collage using pictures of him playing sports.  You could make a collage of a family reunion and give to families as a memento.  You could make a collage of a trip that you took with your grandchildren.

Or make one just for the fun of it and hang on your family room wall.