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For this year, in our family we are doing a Grandparent Club. We meet once a quarter. Of course we have activities on and off in between, but these club meetings are geared specifically for the grandchildren rather than the family as a whole.
Last month I gave you details about our match game—Because of our grandchildren’s response to that game, for our first Grandparent Club meeting of the year, I decided to expand the match game idea. I wanted a project for the children that they would want to show their parents, friends, and extended family. Something they would be excited about. Something that would give them a sense of value. I chose individual scrapbooks.
Now this is going to sound like a LOT of work, and yes, it was. But I was able to use many of the pictures I chose for the match game. And to hear back about the children’s joy in sharing these little books truly made it all worth it. One of our jobs or responsibilities as grandparents is to inspire and empower our grandchildren to know they are capable and worth more than they ever thought possible. That is the goal or challenge I took on with this project.
First I went to the dollar store and bought small photo books. You know the kind. They are plastic little books with clear sheets that hold four by six photos.
Then I wrote down the birth dates for every grandchild that would be attending. Using those dates I scoured through photos to scan for their books. For each child I included:
- A number of photos of him or her as a small baby.
- At least one photo of his or her family at the time he or she was born.
- Pictures of Mom and/or Dad holding him or her as a baby.
- Pictures of Grandpa and/or Grandma holding him or her as a baby.
- A picture of Grandpa and Grandma when we were married.
- A cover, including the child’s full name.
Now, I didn’t put the pictures in the scrapbooks for the children. I gave them everything in a stack and told them they were to organize their books the way they wanted them. Just as when they played the match game, the children loved seeing themselves as babies and oohed and awed over each other’s images. They talked, laughed, and giggled with each picture they slid into their books. They loved seeing two familiar match game cards (enlarged to fit properly in their books) and even read them out loud.
The following pages were also included for them:
- For the boys, a picture of Captain Moroni with the words “I am strong and I am brave. Like Captain Moroni, I protect my family and fulfill my duty to God.”
- For the girls, a picture of a girl putting a crown on her head with the words, “Sometimes, on dark days, I think, ‘Nobody cares and I am lonely.’ Then I remember who sends thoughts like that, and I straighten my crown. Because I am a daughter of a king!” (This idea came from a poster that has been circulating on Facebook. When the parents came to pick up the grandchildren, I overheard a nice conversation between one young granddaughter and her mother about the meaning of this particular photo in her book.)
- A coloring picture (sized for the scrapbook) from the Friend magazine, showing children being responsible, the kind where you find other things in the picture, like a comb, toothbrush, crayon, hammer, etc.
- A page where they wrote down their dream job, either a job they have now or one they want as an adult.
- A page where they wrote down their favorite foods.
Those last three listed above contributed to the talk, talk, talk and listen, listen, listen of the activity. We learned a lot about our grandchildren as we talked about those pages.
Here are a few others I made up for their books. You are welcome to copy them and use them for a similar project with your grandchildren.
When the children finished putting their books together, each told our group which picture was his or her favorite and why. That also thrilled me because two of the youngest children chose the picture of Larry and me on our wedding day at the Salt Lake Temple. We then served fresh homemade rolls with butter, jam, and honey, and we played a game of “Mother May I?”
I tell you about this activity to share an idea, just an idea. You may choose to use it as presented or tweak it to fit your family. Or maybe it will spark a completely different wonderful idea for you to do with your grandchildren. You may find that scrapbooking is more fun with one grandchild at a time. Or perhaps you find it works better when the children have a cousin with them who they particularly get along with.
At any rate, know that whatever you come up with will be worth the effort. Not only will you have fun with your grandchildren, but you will be feeding them love.
I have a number of grandchildren who do not live close by. You probably do too. Next month I will share with you an idea to draw those grandchildren closer. I started trying it out this month, and I think you will like it!
Fay A. Klingler is the author of the best-selling book The LDS Grandparents’ Idea Book, I Am Strong! I Am Smart! and many other books and articles (www.fayklingler.com). She can be contacted on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FayKlingler.