FIRST PUBLISHED OCT. 29, 2014
I want to share with all of you in the next few blog posts the summer binder I use. Previously, I listed all the categories that help organize my ideas of things to do with our grands. For each of these categories I do a ton of research first. I gather information from various Internet sites, YouTube videos, library books and my favorite magazine for this purpose, “Family Fun.” I have probably given our local library more revenue from materials purchased in their book sale section than at any other place in preparation for their visit.
Please don’t let the word research scare you. Looking things up can be a lot of fun. Just be careful the Internet doesn’t sap your time and attention. Pinterest, especially, can be addictive! I got caught up one night looking at fairy gardening ideas there and got sidetracked on pictures of painted rocks. Lots and lots of painted rocks. Forgot why I’d even logged on to Pinterest in the first place, but got some great ideas for creating stone houses and cars for our fairy gardens!
As I find activities on the Internet I think the girls would enjoy, I will copy and paste the entire article into a Word document, or at least the URL. (Some sites I bookmark for future reference, especially if the girls don’t yet meet the activity’s suggested age range but will for future visits.) Once I have several pages saved, I print them out and start putting those articles into categories: Activities, Arts & Crafts, etc. Make tabbed indexes so you can find your desired activity easier, too.
Here is how this past summer’s Activities and Arts & Crafts table of contents page looked:
Beach Fairy Garden
Glow in the Dark Fan Blades
Ivory Soap Trick
Pipe Cleaner Creatures
Solar Powered Prints
Bubble Wrap Painting
Famous Artist Art
Mixed Media Lines
Mixed Media Placemat
Norman Rockwell Art Detective
Paint in a Container
Rainbow Fish Collage
Seeing Art in Everyday Objects
Willow Tree Mixed Media
Silk Dyed Scarves
Fake Fur Handbag
Flat Marble Magnets
Glow in the Dark Containers
New Fall Fashion
Did we get all of these accomplished? Not at all. The idea is to overplan so you have plenty of activities from which to choose. And you’ll be surprised which are the hits and which don’t work at all. No worries. That’s why you have gathered a LOT of ideas.
You will inevitably build traditions from doing some activities together. Painting t-shirts has been a tradition from our girls’ very first visit. They absolutely love this craft, so we make new ones each summer. We paint, iron on appliques, glue on rhinestones, whatever they want. Sometimes, Grampy and I will render our creativity on t-shirts, too. Their favorite of mine is the one on which I put three dragonflies — the larger dragonfly being me, and the two smaller ones the girls.
Our girls really enjoyed making Fairy Lights, Glow in the Dark Containers and Masks (crafts) this year. Both of them are very much into glow-in-the-dark items and activities. One year I put a black light in the guest bathroom, covered an entire wall with white newsprint and let them go to town with fluorescent paint. I wanted them to have the experience my sister, brother and I had in our childhood home. Our dad hung several black lights in one area of the basement and let us express our creativity all over the walls. Our blacklight parties were a huge hit among our friends in high school. We had a blast!
Fairy Lights were made the night we picked up Grampy at the airport. We activated glow sticks, dumped the contents into a jar, added a small piece of tulle and some ultra fine glitter, screwed on the lid and shook the jars well. Turned off all the lights and voila — fairy lights! The girls happily waved the lights inside the car as we drove to the airport, and greeted Grampy with them, too.
Our other glowing project involved glow-in-the-dark fabric paint and several glass bowls. The girls dotted the insides of the bowls with paint of one color, waited for it to dry, then added more dots of another color twice more. These were quite stunning when the lights went off. They begged to do more of them as gifts for their parents and friends back home! We were so proud of them for thinking of others.
The masks were inspired by a collection our friends on the lake have all over their guest bathroom walls. I thought the girls might enjoy making their own, so I gathered feathers, rhinestones, pompons and fabric paint for this endeavor. Our youngest decided to be a butterfly for Halloween and wear the mask she created as part of her costume. Success!
What didn’t work? Dyed silk scarves. I thought they’d be all over it, but they wanted to go to their favorite ceramic painting store instead. “Painting ceramics is a tradition,” they cried, so making silk scarves will have to wait another year.
And you will all have to wait another week for my next post of activities and ideas!
As Grampy says,