“That’s my father.” … Seemingly an innocent and offhand remark made by the youngest of his three children, those three little words meant much more to our dad. I know it made him feel proud and happy to be that father, that figure of authority and loving protector of his family.
It was a responsibility he took seriously, a role that only he could execute with his unique brand of friendship, understanding and humour…”
Today’s post is brought to you by my guest, author Susan Day.
Spending time with your grandchildren is one of the best things you can do for them, and for you too, for that matter.
Sure, kids love gifts and candy, and they get really excited about going to a theme park or spending time with their friends. However, there is a secret world which exists right outside the window and one which has a powerful allure. I’m referring to nature.
Nature offers an endless array of beauty and wonder, and for the most part it’s free and easy to access. Taking your grandchildren outdoors is a great way to build a strong connection with them. Just spending time and ‘being’ with children is important for their wellbeing.
Some children don’t get outdoors enough, and the simple act of wandering along the street, running at the park or tramping through the beach sand is an experience they are sadly missing out on.
Ignite a Sense of Curiosity
Research tells us that curious kids are intelligent kids. The more questions they ask, the more their minds grow and develop.
Nature has a bounty of things to be curious about. You could literally spend hours outside with your grandchildren exploring, and you don’t have to live near a forest or a beach to enjoy nature either. It’s in your yard, in your neighbor’s yard, at your local park, or any place a tree is growing and the birds are singing.
Do your grandkids know where bees go, and what they are doing buzzing around those flowers? Do they know why some birds migrate, and others live in the same area all their lives?
Point Out the Beauty in Small Objects
Each time your grandchildren come to visit, make a point of taking them outside and showing them something nature is doing. It might be new buds on the tree or the color autumn leaves are turning.
How many people rush through their busy days, not noticing subtle changes happening around them? Isn’t there something magnificent about the way birds take off or the way clouds move across the sky?
“Isn’t that interesting…” you might begin to say, and then point out an aspect of nature that is happening right under their very noses.
Look at a Leaf
What shape is it? Does it have any spots or spines? Compare it to another leaf from a plant that is growing close by. What things are similar? What are different? You could also begin a leaf scrap-book and share details of trees and shrubs that live in your area.
Analyse an Ant
Who doesn’t love bugs? Well, most adults don’t find them interesting, but kids love ’em! Bugs, beetles, aphids, and ants are like miniature dinosaurs or creatures from outer space living in our backyards. Without interfering with their busy lives, make a point of sharing these remarkable creatures with your grandchild.
Marvel at Moths
Moths, butterflies and dragonflies all go about their daily lives in nearly every place on earth, living in the most amazing ways.
Your grandchildren will love to learn about them. They will enjoy the wonder nature has to offer through your eyes, and come to a deeper understanding of how remarkable the world really is.
“I’d Rather Watch TV, Grandma!”
Nature has a way of going about its business whether we are watching or not, and all the while our televisions and devices are nagging us to watch and engage.
You may find your grandchildren are not used to examining nature in so much detail. They may not understand what you are getting at, but one thing is for sure: they won’t forget the time you have spent with them and how important nature was to you. It is a privilege to be able to see what nature is doing, and stand in awe of what it will do next.
What child doesn’t deserve to be introduced to all of this wondrous world?
No doubt your grandkids will grow and mature, and will find themselves stopping to admire a flower or cloud patterns. They will turn to a friend, their partner or even their own children, and share memories they have of you and how you introduced them to one of the most magnificent things on this planet – nature.
Susan lives in Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.
Interested in sharing one of your original articles as a guest? Feel free to submit your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. Preference is given to topics relevant to my blog, such as books, writing, nature, photography, travel, children and pets. – Jennifer
Hi, everyone! My name is Joey,
and I’m the newest addition to Jennifer’s extended family.
Being Jennifer’s grand-kitten and knowing how much she loves all things feline, I happily agreed to visit her blog today.
Here I am getting acquainted with Ginger, my new big sister. At first she was a little standoff-ish, but she is warming up to me now. I catch her gazing at me often, like she’s trying to figure me out.
I also catch her sleeping in the little bed my human sister made for me. That’s okay though, because my favourite place to sleep is on a cuddly lap.
Here, I’m enjoying a wee cat nap at the summer-house in Lead Cove.
Such a rough life it’s going to be. . . *sigh*
Thanks for dropping by to meet me, peeps and pets.
I leave you with my favourite quote:
“The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Bye for now!
Photo credits: Jennifer took the one in the tiger-print blanket. Joey’s new mom Denise took the rest.
Kristine over at candidkay is a journalist, marketing exec and mother of two.
From her About page:
“I write about life as I know it. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes hilarious. But always interesting.”
Kristine recentlyshared “one small slice of life on a Sunday afternoon that deserves a bit of limelight.” And I wholeheartedly agree. When you are part of a two-household family and you realize that an important lesson in values – namely, kindness to others – has gotten through to your child, it gives you pause to be thankful for good role models.
One summer day, when my son Brian was just a little boy, his Aunt Sherry came to babysit him.
When I got home from work, I found a note stuck to the fridge. It read: “Took Brain to the beach. Sherry.” We all had a great laugh over the funny spelling. (Yes, my boy is smart, but that’s beside the point.)
Fast forward to the present. Last week, he had some time off, so he came to visit for a couple of days. The weather was perfect and off we went. We took Brain Brian to Lumsden Northbeach for some practice on his golf swing.
This is one of his favourite pastimes when he visits. I’ve blogged about beach golf here before, when they used the beach right next to our house as a driving range and the sandbar as a target. Check out the photos here.
The next morning was even warmer and more beautiful, so for a change, we headed out to the beach at Cape Freels.
Momma got bored watching, so she went for a walk.
Too bad she didn’t bring her own brain to the beach. She forgot to turn her iPhone the proper way for the following video! Oh well, if you watch it on your phone, it’s fine. And black bars or not, it’s still pretty, and the sounds of the wind and waves will help you feel the warm sun and the gentle sea breeze on your face.
Happy Friday, everyone! Will you be going to the beach this weekend?
Alright, I admit it.I am clearly the more introverted feline in this two-cat family.
Often the loner – the diametric opposite of my sister Vivian –
you will usually find me shying away from the spotlight.
Yes, I am a lap cat, and an affectionate one at that…
…but Vivian is the more “in your face” sister,
and the more photogenic one,
so naturally she gets the lion’s share of attention.
I’m the quiet and cautious girl who moves with stealth,
who wonders why Vivian is so annoyingly vocal.
And even though I might seem timid,
I’m actually more “alpha” than Viv.
I guess that’s why Jennifer says I’m the glue that holds us all together.
Do you live in a multi-cat or multi-pet household?
Do you sometimes feel overshadowed by your sibling?
Have you ever looked at your children when they are teenagers – or beyond – and wished you could go back in time to enjoy a day when they were little? I certainly have.
Children grow up so incredibly fast! It’s almost like you blink and they are grown. All the way through childhood they are making firsts: Their first word, their first steps, their first day of school. There is so much to relish and celebrate about these milestones that you almost forget about the time whizzing past.
Kids need a solid grounding and good examples to learn from, therefore conscientious parents want their kids to remember their childhood fondly, and with love. Their formative years are important because they’re going to remember certain things forever, so if you do fun things together as a family, they will remember these events fondly for the rest of their days. Here are some ideas on how to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Play with paint
It’s a great idea to teach a child creativity from a very young age. If they learn not to be afraid of a blank page, they will probably go on to create great things. (As a writer, I have faced that blank page many times.) One of the most imaginative and artistic things you can do with your children is to create and paint together. Let them go wild with crayons, colouring pencils, acrylic and water paint, and glue. They will feel proud of their results in the moment, and it will be fun to look back on their creations together in the future.
Pose for a picture
The wonderful thing about smartphones is that you have a camera almost always at hand. This give you the chance to capture as many candid photos of your children as possible. And don’t forget taking videos of them. If you would like something a bit more professional, a photographer can give you great results. A professional family photo is something that everyone loves to look back on because it perfectly captures a moment in time you can cherish forever. Not only will you have the physical photos, but you’ll have great memories of the actual day as well.
Read stories together
My girl’s favourite: The Owl & The Pussycat
This was a big one for me when I raised my kids. When your children are little, it’s a great idea to get into the habit of reading them a book every evening. This not only calms them before they sleep, but it also helps them learn. The stories that you first read them will probably stay with them forever. Almost everyone can remember the first book that they loved to have read to them. It’s a child’s way of really using their imagination to form the pictures in their mind. Keep a couple of their favorite books for you to show them when they are grown up.
If you can teach your children a family recipe that has been passed down through the ages, they’ll remember it forever. A cherished recipe can be pulled out and enjoyed again and again, and it will strengthen the memory for your child of when you first made it together.
Our boy making muffins!
Notice the recurring theme here? Creative endeavors seem to be the best way to make memories for you and your family!
What do you and your children do to make memories that will last a lifetime?