Cooking with grandchildren: Make the kitchen a classroom

Cooking with grandchildren: Make the kitchen a classroom

Each year, families spend a lot of time in the kitchen together during the holidays. These moments not only make happy memories, but can be teachable moments as well, where grandchildren can learn valuable knowledge about the world around them.

Cooking and baking can be enjoyable pastimes for grandkids and grandparents who incorporate science in fun, interactive ways, ranging from the basics of measurements to thermodynamics and beyond. 

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Personalized puzzles for pre-turkey patience

Personalized puzzles for pre-turkey patience

Savvy restaurant servers know the first task when waiting on customers with kids is to provide puzzles or coloring pages for entertaining the little ones while they wait for their food.

Savvy grandmothers and others can follow the same tack this Thanksgiving by providing personalized puzzles to pint-sized guests gathered at the table, awaiting their turkey.

The personalized part makes pre-turkey puzzles more fun — and it's so easily done.

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Thanksgiving theatrics: Family fun galore courtesy What Happens at Grandma's

Thanksgiving theatrics: Family fun galore courtesy What Happens at Grandma's

My friend Grandma Joyce from What Happens at Grandma's has done it again: crafted a creative and clever holiday activity for kids! This time it's for Thanksgiving, and this time it's unique among Thanksgiving arts and crafts found online because it's performance art — a three-act play for grandkids to perform for friends and family on Turkey Day. Thank you for sharing, Joyce!

The kids don't know it yet, but they're going to superstar in a post-dinner Thanksgiving play at grandma's this year. Considering their love of theatrics, I'm confident they'll gobble up this opportunity right along with savory sweet potatoes served on the rapidly approaching family day of thankful...

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Summer's simple pleasures: When did you last...

summer simple pleasures

Summer is the season of simple pleasures. A time for sweet, spontaneous — often spectacularly serendipitous — silliness such as those moments we remember from childhood. Our own childhood, possibly the childhoods of our children.

Simple pleasures we've set aside — perhaps even forgotten — in our ongoing pursuit of grand adventures, grand outings, grand activities to share with our grand kids. Simple stuff we've likely not done in far too long.

When did you last...

• jump rope?

• skip down the sidewalk?

• play freeze tag?

• sip root beer floats from a frosty mug?

• run through the sprinkler?

• have a water fight — with the garden hose, buckets...

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Beat-the-heat treats (a Friday Flashback feature)

A few years ago, I posted a piece on chilly treats for hot days, noting how darn hot it was in the desert while visiting my grandsons (which at that time meant just Brayden and Camden as Declan was yet to be). Today it's desert-style hot at my house. In the mountains. And I'm craving something cold, something to beat the heat here at home.

I figure much of the country seems to be suffering a hot spell as well, and though I can't share an actual treat with each and every one of you as I would like, I can share the directions for doing so on your own. Preferably with grands.

Here it is: Today's Friday Flashback, featuring a few tasty ways to cool you and yours. Enjoy!

BEAT THE HEAT TREATS
Originally published July 16, 2013 (with names updated to my grandsons' real names, as I recently revealed them here):

The temperatures in the desert during my visit to see Brayden and Camden were, as I expected, ridiculously high. Spending time in the pool or at the water park was a great way to stay cool, but because we're not fish, other ways to chill out had to be devised.

frozen treats

Yesterday, the last day of my visit, Megan offered a frozen treat...

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Denver must-do: Water World water park

Water World Denver

Last week when middle daughter Megan and I discussed the fun my husband, Brianna, Patrick, James and I had at Water World in Denver the day before — courtesy free passes from the park to experience "unlimited fun in the sun" — desert-dwelling Megan told me how much she loves Water World. Her pronouncement was based on our (limited) family visits to the massive water park near downtown Denver when she was a kid and visits she made with friends as a teen.

"Preston loves it, too," she said. Which surprised me. Because Preston never lived near Denver and Water World as Megan did growing up. He grew up in another state, in fact.

"Oh, yeah," Megan said. "Preston and his family used to go to Water World all the time when he was a kid. They loved it."

The Water World love from out-of-staters confirmed for me that Water World is indeed a must-see Denver attraction not only for folks who live in Colorado but for visitors from afar, as well.

And how could the massive outdoor play area — a Denver icon since 1979 — not be...

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10 free or super inexpensive summer outings with grandkids (Friday flashback feature)

Many of us have heard Gretchen Rubin's quote, "The days are long, but the years are short" in reference to parenting. I say the same applies to summer time spent with grandkids. The days seem long yet the summer is relatively short, especially when attempting to pack in meaningful and, more importantly, fun activities.

Always here to help, today I re-run my previous post on ways grandparents can fill such days in inexpensive ways. (The original post featured 11 ways; this one just 10, as one is no longer available.)

10 IDEAS FOR FREE (OR SUPER INEXPENSIVE) SUMMER OUTINGS WITH GRANDKIDS
Originally published June 15, 2016 (outdated info has been removed)

free summer activities 

FREE FISHING
This one tops the list because fishing is fun. Mostly, though, it's because June — the current month! — is...

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Kids and games: 18 fun ways to choose who goes first (a Friday flashback feature)

Summer time is game time, and whether you're hosting an all-out Grandma Camp or a simple gathering of grands of another sort, the fun can't begin until the gang figures out who goes first.

Here from the Grandma's Briefs archives is my popular post on various ways to choose who goes first — some of them offbeat ideas that can serve as minigames on their own.

KIDS AND GAMES: 18 FUN WAYS TO CHOOSE WHO GOES FIRST
Originally published May 13, 2014

When playing games with kids — or directing getting the ball rolling — choosing who gets to go first can sometimes take longer than the actual gameplay.

That no longer need be the case thanks to the following fun methods I've gathered for grandmothers and others.

ways to choose who goes first 

Creative Eeny Meeny
When I was a Girl Scout leader eons ago, I taught my Daisies...

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Friday flashback: Tie-dye for tots... and older kids, too

I've been publishing Grandma's Briefs for eight years. Which means I have an archive jam-packed with activities and other grandparenting goodies I posted long ago that deserve to be shared again for those grandmothers and others who may have missed them the first time around.

The following is one of my favorite — most simple and most colorful — crafts I've done with my grandsons. Which is why I've chosen it for my first Friday flashback feature.

Enjoy!

TIE-DYE FOR TOTS... AND OLDER KIDS, TOO
Originally published April 23, 2013

My youngest grandson, Mac, doesn't have the penchant for craft-making that his older brother does. Bubby's attention span can handle a craft that has, say, six or eight steps, knowing there's a grand payoff at the end. Mac, on the other hand — because he's younger and always on the go, go, go — can handle a craft with one quarter that number of steps, and instant payoff of some sort is key.

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), finding a craft that pleases both can be a challenge. This one, though — a tie-dye project of sorts — was a success. Mac created one or two and was done; Bubby made one after another until the food coloring bottles were nearly empty. Yes, success!

tie-dye-craft-for-kids

What you need:

• Coffee filters

• Food coloring...

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A cautionary tale: Look before they leap

Poor Bud — and Brianna — learned a painful lesson the hard way not too long ago. A lesson in something I never really considered, as a parent or as a grandparent.

See, on a recent sunny day, Bud and Brianna headed to the local skatepark. Bud, a budding skateboarder, was excited to spend a couple hours trying out a park he'd not yet frequented. (Truth be told, I think he had frequented very few skate parks — if any — since his passion for boarding began.)

I had babysat Bud that morning, and he mentioned several times the fun he looked forward to that afternoon.

To say the kid was pumped is an understatement.

After lunch that day, Brianna and Bud headed to the skate park. As soon as they arrived, Bud could contain himself no longer. He quickly donned his helmet, grabbed his board, and raced to his first obstacle: an awesome, amazing, yet seemingly (relatively) safe jump.

It looked like this:

skatepark obstacle 

Bud figured he'd go up the angled ramp on the front side and down...

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Easter goodies! Plus GRAND Social No. 251 link party for grandparents

Easter goodies!

I have at least a few of my family's traditional recipes for nearly every holiday posted in my Grandma's Briefs Recipe Box. Not for Easter, though. I suppose it's because our traditional breakfast is the Easter eggs we colored a few days before along with blueberry muffins and sausage or bacon. Easter dinner has always been, like most folks, ham and the typical ham accompaniments. No recipes needed.

That said, I do have a couple non-edible Easter goodies on my blog. Goodies I've shared in the past, but the time is right to do so again. That would be these:

50 Eggs-tra Silly Easter Jokes

easter jokes for kids...

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Puzzles for grandmothers and others: Sudoku & Crossword puzzles on Grandma's Briefs

Sometimes grandmothers and others need to take a break from playing games with the grands and play a few on their own. Games for grownups. Games such as sudoku and crosswords.

Now you can right here, right now, right on Grandma's Briefs. Without installing an app, creating an account, or selling your soul personal information to advertisers.

sudoku and crossword puzzles

Grandma's Briefs now has a Puzzles page featuring regularly updated sudoku and crossword puzzles for you to play on your computer, your phone, your device of most any sort. For free. For fun.

The Puzzles tab is at...

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