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Last month I showed you a scrapbook idea we did for our Grandparent Club activity. I promised to share with you this month how we handled it for our young grandchildren who live out of town. Mind you, these ideas not only give you the opportunity to make a treasured contact with your grandchildren and feed them some love, but doing these things (or similar) can bring to you personal joy and satisfaction as well.
For the out-of-town grandchildren, I purchased the same type of dollar-store photo books we used for the Grandparent Club. (Note details in last month’s article sited above.) And I went through the same process of preparing photos. I included those pages that were common to all, like the “Grandpa thinks I am great,” “Grandma loves me,” “A true princess,” and “A brave warrior” pages. And just like on Grandparent Club day, I did not put the pages in the photo books. I mailed them in a neat stack in a bubble envelope. The unique thing I included was a page introducing the scrapbook. The page was inspired by a children’s book.
Years ago, I purchased a book titled It Came from Under the Sink by Molly Pinkney. The story is written partly in rhyme and is about a fictional character named Ferd who lives under the sink in Grandma’s house. Ferd writes letters to Will, the grandson visiting at Grandma’s house, and Will writes back. Will is the one who tells the story. This is a sample letter to Will from Ferd.
My name’s Fred—spell that F-E-R-D!
I stand one-foot-six, and my hair is a mess;
I’m wearing a dishtowel that looks like a dress.
I have googly eyes and my cheeks are bright pink;
I sell soda pop cans I find under the sink.
Will then says, “So, now Ferd is my friend, and I think he can tell if I do something wrong or I do something well, because every so often a note will appear, just to give me scolding, a dime, or a cheer, or to say, ‘Wear your coat when you go out to play—wipe your feet and your nose, oh . . . and HAVE A NICE DAY!’
“Grandma knows he’s down there, but I don’t see her try getting rid of that little invisible guy. He makes both of us laugh and we’re lucky, I think, to have such a great mystery under the sink!”
Will goes on to tell many different experiences he has with Grandma and Ferd.
Did you see that word mystery? For the same reasons children love puzzles, they love a good mystery, a fun surprise, an imaginative adventure, or any opportunity to develop skills through discovery.
I chose to make up an imaginative character who would send (to out-of-town grandchildren) not only my scrapbook packet but items through the year—more pages for the scrapbook. I found clipart for the image of my character and gave her the name of Old Google Eye. This letter-page was mailed at the top of the scrapbook stack.
It was fun to make up Old Google Eye and think about the fun things she would do through the year. And it was very exciting and fun for the young grandchildren to imagine this creature hiding out at Grandma’s house!
Using your imagination boosts your brain power and is healthy in many ways. Imagination allows you to have thoughts that stretch not only beyond things you have seen or experienced but beyond what anyone has seen or experienced. Many inventors and scientists have had key breakthroughs in solving tough problems by paying attention to ideas that came to them using their imagination. They might have visualized what would happen if they moved an item a certain way, or colored it orange, or fed it electricity, or gave it wings . . . What if . . . or Suppose I do this . . . For us, and for our grandchildren, using imagination can be a crucial key to developing problem-solving skills and abilities.
We humans are visual creatures. A large part of our brains are dedicated to visual processing. Goal-setting and image-streaming rely directly on our visual imagination. Most surprising solutions to problems are often ones that at first sound ridiculous.
Imagination is the ability of the mind to build mental scenes, objects or events that do not currently exist. It gives the ability to look at any situation from a different point of view. But that is not all. It also includes all the five senses and the feelings. You can imagine sounds, tastes, smells, and emotions. On a cold day, you can allow your imagination to carry you to a hot climate and for a time actually feel relief with a sense of temporary warmth. A developed and strong imagination has a great role and value in everyone’s life.
Making up the character of Old Google Eye and sharing her with my grandchildren not only boosted my brain power but theirs. And in the process it built camaraderie between us and a happy memory that, in this case, has the potential of building self-worth and teaching valuable life lessons as the year goes forward. The only downside to Old Google Eye’s creation (if you want to call it a downside) is that one young grandson has already announced he plans to find her when he comes to visit. Let’s see, that just means I need to use my imagination and come up with some creative explanation of why she has taken a trip . . . no, maybe I should sew her up like a doll and have her in a box he can find with a story about how she only comes to life when . . . or maybe, hmmm, I’ll bet you can imagine a good, fun solution!
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.