Debra Johnson wrote this wonderful post about children and the good times they experienced with their grandmother. This is a thoughtful and interesting article that will hopefully remind grandparents how important they are to their grandchildren no matter how old they are.
My children have been truly blessed by the presence of their grandmother. She has boundless energy for work and play. I thought it might wane as she aged but point in fact I believe it has increased. She is one of the most creative people I know, not so much in arts and crafts, but in ways to create fun. She has eight grandchildren which on occasion are all together and they range in age from very young to young adult. She has entertained them all but since she lives nearest to me; my family has reaped the greatest benefits.
Since I was a working mother she was there every day taking care of my kids. She taught them to work and taught them to play. You may think that you do not need to teach children how to play but in this day and age when parents are both working and computers, cell phones, and game systems are so common I believe the art of play has become quite rare.
My mother has a schedule; she gets up at a certain time, reads her bible, and then begins to work. She works until a certain time of the afternoon and then takes a nap. When nap time is over she gets up and works some more. She often wears me out just watching her go from one thing to another. But in the midst of all this work she never skipped a beat with the grandchildren. She would either solicit their help in whatever work project she was doing, teaching them the fine arts of cleaning or cooking, in the house or outside, or she would be creatively thinking up a new way for them to have fun.
I recall a time when she had a load of sand delivered to the house and dumped in front of the garage so that the children would have a sand pile to play in. She gathered all the trucks, hand shovels, and buckets she could and let them go at it. I can’t tell you how thrilled the children were. Grandma was a hero. It just took a phone call from the local dirt/sand lot and it really didn’t cost that much. She would cover it with a tarp at night to keep the critters off. The children would spend hours in the sand and had so much fun. They would add a little water and make sand castles, dig tunnels to shoot their hot wheels back and forth to each other, and make a construction site out of it with their cranes and dump trucks. It was like being at the beach!
My son was particularly hard to keep occupied; he was bored quite easily with normal toys. One day as he was playing in the back yard trying to build on his make shift fort grandma came out with her prize rope. It was thick and very long; I really don’t know where she got it or why but she had it. It was a ranch style home and the back yard was nice and large. She proceeded to climb a ladder and tie the rope to one tree and across the yard to another tree. She had an old pulley which she and my son cleaned and lubricated and placed on the rope. Another piece of rope was tied to the pulley with a duffle bag full of rags tied securely to the rope.
As grandma supervised he would climb the ladder to the highest rope, wrap his legs around the bag and swoosh he was off. They had tied a knot in the rope before it got to the next tree so that it would stop the rider from slamming into the tree as a finale’! What fun my son, my daughter, nephews, nieces, and all the neighborhood kids had on that rope ride. My son rode that for years and still remembers it to this day (and the sand pile).
Grandma would instigate relay races when the kids were getting too antsy. She would get out there and be the coach. She would show them how to have two-legged races, how to do wheelbarrow races, and have jump rope contests. She taught the kids how to stand on each end of the rope to swing it and sing the little jumping songs while the other child jumped. They loved it. She had hula hoop contests to see how long each child could keep the hula hoop up. It was so much fun and also served a dual purpose of expending their energy!
She was always buying water balloons and water guns for the kids, along with cap guns. She would set up little light weight targets to see who could shoot the most targets. She supervised as they played balloon toss; which team would be the last to have their balloon break? They loved playing in the water. She would be out there showing the youngest ones how to fill up their balloons and tying them off them. She made sure the older kids never got too mean and kept the young ones separated without making them feel left out.
There were so many times mom would come across a refrigerator box somewhere and bring it home to the kids. She would help them cut out doors and windows and use crayons or markers to draw on designs. Then she would set up a picnic for them in their new house. She’d bring out little snacks and drinks for them. They loved boxes, often they would play in them for hours. Sometimes she’d bring home a couple of boxes so that they could have their own house. You’d be surprised how much they enjoyed their boxes.
I remember her helping my son set up a ramp for his roller blades and his bike. It wasn’t too high but he loved it. He’d roller blade and do a little jump at the end and feel so proud of himself. He loved riding his bike over the ramp. Since it was a cul-de-sac mom would sit out and watch him go around and around, jumping time and time again. This was yet another way to help my son expend a lot of energy and have fun.
One birthday party my daughter had when she was in grade school was really memorable because of mom. She created a scavenger hunt for the kids. She hid clues all around the front and back yards, directing them from one to the other. She always included a scripture with her hints, wanting to get the kids thinking about the Lord. They loved trying to figure out where the next clue was and racing to find it. At the end they found their party bags full of toys and candy. She went with them to make sure they understood the clues, each child getting a turn to read one of the clues out loud. My daughter had a great time and her friends loved the party.
So many things to share about what grandma did and is still doing with the kids. She plays marbles with them, showing them how to shoot the marbles and play like they did when she was a kid. She sets up tracks out of empty wrapping paper tubes for them to use to roll the marbles through, shooting out at the end. They loved the marbles, even looking at the different colors and shapes that were in them made the kids happy.
So many times my mom has taken the kids to the woods, my son armed with his small hatchet she bought for him and my daughter just content to look at nature. She would let my son use his little hatchet on all the dead wood they came across. He loved being able to chop up wood, it made him feel like a real woodsman. She showed them how to roll down hills and slide down on cardboard. Mom always seemed to know what was going to make each child feel important and happy.
One particular school year my son was having a hard time in a couple subjects, mostly in just paying attention. He loved to fish and we only lived about an hour from the ocean so grandma promised him for every day he did well in those subjects she would take him fishing after school. She had to take him every day that week, she was worn out but she got him back on the right track. She stood with him on the beach one day for five hours as he kept throwing out his line time after time. Standing there with his bag of shrimp hanging off his belt like a real fisherman. What a blessing to have a grandma like that!
My daughter loved to read and sit quietly and do things, so she was a lot easier than my son. Even though she did not demand as much attention my mom was always trying to get my daughter involved in the action. She taught her how to make pies from scratch, how to sew, and they loved going on antique hunts together.
Both of my children were able to draw a wealth of knowledge and fun from their grandmother. They both have a great love for older people because of their grandmother. She’s been a huge part of their lives and a tremendous blessing. She has taught them not only how to play but how to be a blessing to others; how to give of themselves, of their time, and how to love others. This is a priceless gift and legacy that my mother is leaving for her grandchildren. I only hope I can do the same for my grandchildren.
About the Author:
This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of Liveinnanny.com. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: – jdebra84 @ gmail.com.