To wrap up the grandma school series, but also kick off the new year, Dr. Jill has some final experiences to share for those of us with young grandchildren.
As a Mimi myself, I bring my “Mimi’s Travel Bag” that I fill with activities to do with our grandchildren when we visit them. I pack crafts, books, games, or cooking activities. No presents and no treats. I’m looking to create memories and educational fun. I knew my oldest granddaughter was getting the message when she asked “Mimi, did you bring some fun experiences with you?” Now they always look to see if I brought my bag.
There is something about a new year, especially through the eyes of a grandchild. The world looks different through the eyes of little ones. For Dr. Jill, it was a joy to watch her granddarlings, ages 6, 4, and 2, explore the different Christmas ornaments in and outside the home over the holidays. But now in the new year, she is reminded to ‘live simply’ and look at life through the eyes of a child.
Using a large tray, shaving cream, various shades of blue paints and a stirrer/twig, have the children help fill the tray with shaving cream. Squirt various colors of blue paint into the foam and allow children to use the presented stirrers or their fingers to create marbled painting.
There is no better sensory experience than the feel of shaving cream between your fingers. Using shaving cream allows children to explore their sense of touch, smell, and sight and to develop their fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination as they pick up, stir, draw shapes, and letters.
Those of us who love taking children outside, can teach children to appreciate the signs of winter around them. Going on a scavenger hunt to find berries, greenery, some sticks, or other pieces of outside Mother Nature will provide color for your ornaments.
Fill a dish with water and add a piece of string submerged into the water. Allow children to place the items in the water. Place the dish outside overnight to freeze. Take them out of the dish and hang. Listen to what children say when they discover they are melting. Children can also use watercolor paints to add color to their ornament before hanging outside. Or they can simply paint on ice cubes.
Children learn vocabulary words like freeze and melt, and possibly the states of matter. Using their fine motor skills to create the ornament and paint the ice cubes help children with grip strength, eye-hand coordination, and dexterity. Playing with ice stimulates all the senses including touch, sight, hearing and even taste!
Fill a box with pairs of mittens and gloves of various sizes and colors. Have the children find the ‘pairs’ of mittens or gloves and practice putting them on. Follow up with listening or reading the story, The Mitten by Jan Brett.
Understanding the vocabulary word pair. What else comes in pairs? Extend the activity by creating a box of socks and asking children to find the pairs of socks.
One last word on STEM activities. STEM activities teach Science while covering Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEM activities are open ended activities that engage your child’s curiosity to learn through discovery using their creativity and problem-solving skills. For more valuable information about the benefits of STEM Education check out 6 Benefits of STEM Education.
Dr. Jill and I wish you many more memories with your grandchildren. We hope the “live simply” theme resonates with you this year and that you found some of the activity ideas in this blog series helpful.
If you missed the previous installments, or would like to refresh your memory on the included tips, please find them here:
What enjoyable moments have you had with your young grandchildren? Any tips to share with our community? What do you look forward to in the coming year? Let’s have a discussion!