Archive for May, 2011

Name That Person

Monday, May 30th, 2011

We have a new game.  You can play it at home or you can tuck it into your suitcase if you are visiting grandchildren or if you are vacationing in a hotel with grandchildren.

I have written the numbers 1 – 35 on a variety of envelopes.  (Side note:  Teaching Tip – If you have a grandchild who is learning his/her numbers, these envelopes can double as number flashcards or an exercise in lining up the numbers in order.)

For this game I have inserted into each envelope one photo.  There are photos of each grandchild when they were infants and when they were toddlers.  There are photos of daddies when they were young.  There are photos of grandparents and of pets.  Also there are photos of movie and TV favorites – Mickey Mouse, Tinkerbell, Toys characters, Handy Manny, the Wiggles. (Sorry about the glare on the photo of  a daddy.) I even have a photo of President Obama and Queen Elizabeth.

When I read the newspaper or look at a magazine now, I keep my eyes open for photos that might be good to include in this game.

Randomly the photos are inserted into the envelopes.

To play the game, one spreads the envelopes on a table.  The children call out a number and select that envelope.  They open the envelope and identify the photo in the envelope.  The grandchildren especially love the photos of themselves and their daddies when they were young.  We don’t keep score when we play this game because we want everyone to be a winner.

After the grandchildren leave, I usually switch the photos into different envelopes so they will find themselves in differently numbered envelopes when we play again, and I also retire some photos and add new ones.

This is a game that the children often request when they come to visit.

Thanks for visiting.  Check back in a few days to learn about Grandma’s Library.

Moving Day

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

My grandchildren who live 20 minutes away and I had a busy day. 

First, we had to put away the decorations from Easter.  Yes, we are running a little late. New decorations were put up.   Now we are all set with 4th of July decorations in my house.

First, they dressed the cat.  No, not the real cat.

Then they worked on decorations to put in the planter on the clock.

Much concentration was required as they drew flags, pictures of fireworks, and a flower arrangement.  My role was finding the exact color of marker they wanted and stapling the flag poles on the flags.  Again the children wanted to arrange the items in the planter and surprise me when it was finished, and here it is.

We were ready for the long awaited event of the spring – moving toys from the playroom and basement to the sunporch to launch the summer play season.  The children look forward to doing this every year.  My 5 year old grandson takes the lead saying that he has a plan and he will show us where everything goes.  He even offers to carry the heavy things.

Here he is pushing the play kitchen chest to the sunporch.

His older sister is unpacking kitchen equipment.

We brought the tool bench up from downstairs and my grandson organized all the tools while my granddaughter organized the kitchen area.

Work done.  Ready for play dates, cousin visits, sleepovers, Grandma Camp – all the things that make summer so much fun.

The kitchen area complete with a cat seeking a snack or a scratch on the head.

The children love to shoot hoops and also to play handyperson ready to do repairs.

Whew.  We had to take a break and have ice cream cones.  Yum.  Another fun afternoon spent with my grandchildren.  More making memories.

Thanks for visiting.

Word Search Fun

Monday, May 16th, 2011

My grandchildren love to do word search puzzles.   We find them on the children’s placemats in restaurants and in puzzle books.  The girls breeze right though many puzzles; their younger brothers sometimes need help doing the same puzzles – age differences.

I like to make custom word searches for each grandchild.  Maybe it will be one with train words for the train buff or birthday words if one is approaching.  When the grandchildren go on vacation with their families, I give them a packet of papers to work on in the car.  They find word searches I have made for them about vacations or about their specific vacation destination.

A few years ago I found this fantastic website that makes creating a word search so quick and easy.

Using this website you are able to create word search puzzles that are perfect for each child.   To set up the word search you need to make a few choices.  First is the word list.  The site actually has word lists that you can use such as state capitals, colors, days of the week, or months of the year.  Or you can create your own list of words to personalize your word search.  You are asked if you want the word list at the right of the puzzle or under the puzzle.  I always select at the right.  And finally, you are given an option of the language you want to use.  I use English.

Next you must select the Settings.  This means the number of columns and rows that you want.  I have been using 8.  You have a choice of grid style.  So far I have selected square; however, you can have the letters in a train or star or triangle or any number of other shapes.  Sounds like fun and I’m planning to use one of those soon.  You have an option of selecting the Font and the Font size.  I use Comic Sans MS and 8.

Word Placement is your final set of choices.  Do you want the words forward and backwards, do you want diagonal words, do you want up and down words?  For my granddaughters who are older I use all options; however, for the grandsons I have been only using forward words.  One of my grandsons has told me that the word searches are too easy and he wants some backward words the next time.  Yes, sir.

This is an End of School Word Search that only uses forward words.  As you can see, it is really easy.  However, when you have young children who are just learning to find the words, these are good.  The children can be successful doing the puzzles and, therefore, feel really good about themselves.

In this word search entitled Summer Fun the words are forward and backward.

I have so much fun creating these for my grandchildren.  Give it a try.

Thanks for stopping by to visit.  Moving day is coming soon.  Please stop back to read all about it.

Rainy day activities

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

A visit with grandchildren is always so much fun.  There are games to play, stories to read, videos to watch.  It is fun to play inside and to go outside to run and play games.  However, when a rainy day interrupts planned activities, then it is time to come up with something special for the children to do.  I have a number of rainy day activities that my grandchildren and I have done over the years.  From time to time I’ll post some of those. 

For now here are two using balloons.

1.  We play balloon tennis.  I can hear you shrieking – tennis in the house.  Is she crazy?  Let me explain.  I have inexpensive fly swatters that have never, ever been used for swatting flies.  They are the tennis racquets.  The tennis balls are inflated balloons.

Naturally you don’t want running and swatting in the living room next to breakables.  We play balloon tennis in the basement or in my sunporch which has no breakables.  One could also use a cleared out/cleaned garage. 

The children can play a game of hitting the the balloon back and forth to each other.  Or you can have a skill competition among the children.  Count how many times they can bounce the balloon on the swatter without letting it drop to the floor.  Can they also do this with their non-dominant hand?

You can have races with the children picking up a balloon with the swatter and running to a goal/bucket to deposit the balloon and then return for another balloon.  The goal is to get the most balloons into the bucket in a given time.

2.  Make balloon people.

Attached is a pdf from of facial features.  Print and then cut out these features and tape them on balloons to make funny, scary, sad, or happy people.  Another option is to give the children large construction paper ovals.  The features can be attached to them with tape to create the faces.  By the way at Halloween you can tape these facial features on pumpkins or squash for decorations.


Here are two creatures that I put together using the features from  I added some yarn for hair on one of my people.  Some grandchildren might want to draw and cut out mouths, eyes etc.  for the balloon people from construction paper. 

These are good ways to pass the time until the sky clears, and the sun comes out again.

Thanks for visiting.

Thank you postcards in the mailbox

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I just celebrated my birthday.  No, I didn’t make myself a birthday cake with buttercream frosting.  My son made strawberry shortcake topped with whipped cream.  It was so-oo good.

My 8 year old granddaughter who lives 3 hours away sent jokes in the birthday card that she made for me.  She said, “Now I have some jokes for YOU.”  Here they are:

Why did the Roman chicken cross the road?     She wasn’t afraid someone would Caesar.  (Perfect for a grandma who taught Latin.)

Why did the apatosaurus (fka brontosaurus) eat the factory?     She was a plant eater.

For my birthday the children and their parents gave me wonderful gifts to use in my garden and yard.

Do you recall how difficult it was to get your children to sit down and write thank you notes after a birthday or Christmas?  I try to set an example for my grandchildren by sending them thank you notes for gifts.

I’ll send each grandchild a thank you and a “grandma fact” on one of these postcards from

Are you puzzled about “grandma fact?”  It is a quick tidbit about my life that they don’t know such as:  When I was your age, there were 48 states in the United States, not 50.  For the 5 year old boys – When I was your age, I was really scared of caterpillars.  When I saw one, I would cry and run into the house.”  When I was little, I had a cat that I named “Potato Salad.”  A chance for the children to learn a little something about grandma.

All ready to go into the mailbox.

Thanks for stopping by.