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16Nov
2015
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Quality time with the munchkins

Quality time with the munchkins

So you just hung up the phone and received exciting news! Your sweet little grand-kiddos are coming to visit. Then you suddenly have a brief moment of panic. You imagine those little bundles of joy tearing through your house with gusto and, perhaps after breaking something expensive, being bored out of their minds. You want everyone to enjoy their time together. You want to have those golden memories of fun and mutual love to carry with you as they age. When they are older, there will be plenty of deep conversations about life and love, but for now you will need to plan for your survival.
Planning activities with your grandkids can be easy and certainly can make your life easier. With just a bit of forethought, you can increase your chances of having those golden memories by at least 80% and maybe not be completely exhausted in the end. Ages of your kiddos definitely play a factor here as well. I will break down some simple but fun ideas to have in your tool belt before they hit the front door.
If your visiting little ones are infants, you are in luck! Beside the possible colic crying, they just want grandma to rock, feed, sing, read, snuggle and change their poopy diaper. Have some picture books around (maybe from Good Will or the Dollar Store). Remind yourself of songs you probably sang to your children when they were young i.e. Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Kids of all ages love to hear singing. It mesmerizes them, distracts them and best of all they don’t care if you can really carry a tune! You don’t even need to sing an actual song. Sing whatever you are doing. You can sing that you are loading the dishwasher or throwing in a load of laundry. Singing also is great for language development.
Once they can sit up and play with you, supply them with smaller blocks their little hands can manipulate. Help them stack them or make long rows of blocks. Peek-a-boo is a fabulous game children of this age can giggle away for hours doing. While they are playing with toys, sharing a snack, etc you can extend language in their ear by 1) parallel talking and 2) elongating talking. Parallel talking is where you describe what your kiddo is doing. “Oh, you put the blue block on top.” “Did you just put the cow by the red block?” Elongating talk is when you extend their one/two word utterances. “Ma” “Yes mamma is shopping right now but she will be back soon” “Cup” “Are you thirsty? Do you want milk or water in your sippy?”
Toddler world and Two’s are busy! While singing and books are always good choices, you may want some additional tools in your tool kit. Remember for them, the experience is MUCH more important than the product. Have any food coloring about? Add some different colors in different ice cube tray sections with water and freeze with popsicle sticks in each. After they freeze, your little ones can “ice cube paint” with you. Talk about the melting ice, how the ice slides on the paper and how the colors mix. If your kiddos are in the older range here, you can also use grandpa’s shaving cream to play. Just spray some on the table in front of each one of you. Build it up, smear it around, draw shapes, pictures and letters with your fingers. Bonus, when you clean it up your house smells deliciously clean.
With preschoolers, the possibilities are endless. How about grabbing any household items (Q-tips, brushes, toothbrushes, cotton balls, etc) and painting with water on the sidewalks outside together? It dries in the sun and then you get to create a master piece again. Go on a nature walk. Collect leaves, tree rubbings with paper and crayons. Try to match your collected leaves to the rubbings and then make a collage with all the pebbles, twigs, flowers and leaves you collected on you walk. If you have paint, paint in Fall colors you can add this too to your collage project.
With these simple ideas, you can sit back and relax as you wait for the doorbell to ring. You are armed and ready for a fantastic time with those little cherubs. Enjoy!