Previously published on My Grandma's Place May 13, 2017
“Guess what, Nan? We’re coming to stay at your place..It’s so exciting !”
“I know, I know. I can hardly wait.”
Following hard on the heels of the pleasure and excitement I felt at my granddaughter’s words was the thought, ‘How am I going to make this visit special?’ ‘What can I do that will create lasting memories?’
(Yep… affiliate links are included which means that, at no additional cost to you, if you buy through me I get some coffee money …though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
If, like me, you’ve gone with the whole down-sizing your home you might not have too much space for full-on, energetic kids. Don’t panic! Regardless of the size of your home, or whether it sits on acres of land or has a postage-sized patio, you can still plan non-stop adventures and fun for your pint-sized visitors.
Choose any of the suggestions below to create a shared time with your grandkids that everyone will long remember. Simple activities shared together can become real ‘moments that matter’ in the memories of your grandkids.
When do your grandkids plan to arrive?
Are they going to stay for just one night or more?
Will they arrive morning or afternoon?
No matter how long they plan to stay, you'll find plenty of fun ideas to keep them busy and happy.
So, let's begin with some morning activities.
After dinner fun
The fun doesn’t have to stop just because it’s getting dark and almost time for bed. Check out these ideas:
Where are they going to sleep?
If you have a spare bedroom with sufficient beds, that’s great. If not, inflatable mattresses on the floor can be lots of fun. Add plenty of soft pillows and covers.
A small tent is another option and you can position it inside or on your patio or decking. I’ve found that most kids creep back inside after about an hour of outdoor camping so be prepared.
Don’t feel that you have to attempt everything on the list. Choose those suggestions that appeal to you or your grandkids.
Although these are simple ideas that don’t take too much preparation or planning, you’ll find that they are ‘moments that matter.’ Your grandkids will talk about this time with you often and with enjoyment. And I hope you’ll enjoy their visit, too.
Oh.. and don't forget to take photos!
A free checklist is available to download below…
Your checklist to preparing a wonderful sleepover. Just click on the image to download,.
DISCLOSURE: I may be an affiliate for products that I recommend or link to. If you purchase those items through my links I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link. In fact, ofttimes, I'm able to negotiate a lower rate (or bonuses) not available elsewhere.
Plus, when you order through my links, it helps me to continue to offer you lots of free stuff.
Thank you, in advance, for your support.
Help your family discover the Light of Christmas in a new way!
(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ...
though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Every year, Christmas seems to arrive in the stores earlier than you expect. Beautiful Christmas displays appear mid-October, Christmas gift ideas fill store catalogues, and glittering ornaments are hung in the specially created Christmas-theme areas.
And that's fine... although I never seem ready for Christmas despite the early reminders and displays. But the Christmas proclaimed in the department stores and shopping centres is not the Christmas that's important to me. And it's not the legacy of Christmas that, by and large, I want for my family. It doesn't reflect the humble stable of the Saviour's birth or the gift of that first Christmas.
The store-bought Christmas is filled with music and joy and fun and feasting and unwrapping endless gifts. I want to help my family unwrap the real joy of Christmas. And I believe that families, like mine, can hear the Christmas story in a new way using creative family-focused devotions.
So I looked at just five such devotional resources and you can check them out, too, below:
So.. first up..
1. All the Colours of Christmas Advent Calendar
Focus on th Family has produced a beautiful Advent colouring and devotional book. It will help you focus on the anticipation, preparation and celebration of Jesus' birth.
The ongoing enthusiasm for colouring by all ages means the your whole family can be involved.
You'll find beautifully detailed colouring pages with peel-and-stick ornaments, 28 days of faith-filled activities, Scripture readings and an Advent calendar Christmas tree. (You can find a free Advent calendar, too.)
All the Colours of Christmas Advent Calendar.
2. All is Bright: A Devotional Journey to Colour your Way to Christmas
Yes... this is another colouring devotional for Christmas. This publication is by Nancy Guthrie. It includes bonus activities, discussion starters, and kid-friendly colouring pages- Christmas ornaments and decorations.
All Is Bright: A Devotional Journey to Color Your Way to Christmas
3. Made by Me Nativity
This kit starts by making a great nativity keepsake set. It's included in the kit. But there's so much more...
There are gifts to make and give to friends, family and neighbours. Other faith-building activity suggestions are included: field trips, a Christmas movie makeover and other fun!
And yes, there's more...
Simple kitchen-based mission ideas (cookies, nut baskets, Christmas morning mix) will get your kids up and serving others and discovering Jesus.
Made by Me Nativity
4. Christmas Movie Night Kit for Families
Host a kid-friendly Christmas family night with the Christmas Movie Night Kit.
You'll find a read aloud picture book, activities, puzzles and games. The animated Story of Christmas dvd includes sing-along videos of Christmas carols and behind-the-scenes production footage.
Celebrate the real meaning of Christmas with this creative Christmas kit.
Christmas Movie Night Kit for Families
5. Advent Journey Colouring Posters
The birth of the Saviour on that first Christmas was news that was shared. This is a big part of the Advent Journey Colouring Posters, too, sharing the Christmas story with friends, family and the community through colouring.
The posters are big.. supersize. Four of the posters measure 3' x 2' and the other two are even bigger- 6' x 2'. So they are wonderful to colour together in groups. It also offers plenty of opportunities to talk and share together while colouring.
Using these posters requires some out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to using them. Sure, you can use them for children's ministry groups or teen groups. You can take them to nursing homes to colour in together. Use them following your Sunday services for your church family to colour and enjoy while having morning tea. Schools may wish to use them. Your family might invite friends over for a colouring evening. There is also an accompanying Advent Journey Devotional Guide. So start thinking now... how will you use these wonderful resources for sharing the Christmas story?
Oh.. and the finished posters make beautiful display posters, perfect decorations for large walls, hallways and even stage areas.
Advent Journey Colouring Posters
Take time to explore the real meaning of Christmas with your family with these creative resources. Explore the events surrounding the first Christmas and learn how this season can bring us hope, love, joy and peace.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself. If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.
When you look back on your childhood, your birthdays are sure to be some of your fondest memories. As a kid, there’s nothing better than your own special day: presents, friends, games and plenty of sweet treats! When you become a parent or grandparent, you get to enjoy the magic of birthdays all over again with the little ones in your life, and naturally, you’ll want to make these days as special as possible for them. So if you’re looking to throw an incredible birthday party, here are some ideas to consider!
Invite Their Friends
Having lots of friends to play with and enjoy the day with them will make the day extra memorable. As well as the children in your family, you could send invites to the children in their class at school or preschool. If it’s the first birthday party you’ve thrown, you might want to consider limiting the number of children to make it a little less stressful. So this is something to work out in the planning stages.
Set a Theme
Themed parties are so much fun. It could be based on the child’s favourite book, superhero, tv show or something else. From there your little guests have the option of dressing up, and you can match the decor and even the food to the theme! There are lots of ideas online for different themes if you’re stuck for ideas, or you could have a chat with the child ahead of time and discuss the things they’re currently loving.
Hire Some Inflatables
There are few things that are more fun to a child than giant inflatables! There are companies online that make hiring a jumping castle easy, you can also get interactive inflatable games, slides and inflatable carnival games! It’s certainly a way to make the party memorable- there will be no hint of boredom with something like this to occupy them.
Hire an Entertainer
Depending on the age of the child it could be a character meet (perfect for tying in with the theme of the party!) a magician, balloon modeling or just someone offering face painting throughout the day. Have a think about what the children would most enjoy based on their age and interests.
Play Party Games
Pass the parcel, musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey are all favourites we remember from our own childhood. You could dedicate an hour of the party to fun party games, where exciting prizes can be won.
Think About Food
It’s no secret that kids are fussy eaters, so catering for a child’s birthday party can be stressful. Buffet style lunches are an easy option, as you can put out lots of different things and they can choose what they want. Go with firm favourites- sandwiches, chips, sausage rolls, mini pizzas and cupcakes. You could even consider hiring an ice cream machine or a chocolate fountain! You may also want to consider some healthier options too, pots of hummus with cut up veggies and fruit skewers work well. Pinterest has tons of great ideas on how you can display different food items so you can make the buffet table look really impressive.
How HappyCalc Puzzles can help teach maths skills
Are you searching for quality games, toys and activities for your next grandkids' visit? Are you and the kids tired of the same old board games and puzzles?
I have grandkids whose ages range from babies to 14 years and finding quality resources for them all is not easy. Sure, there are plenty to outdoor activities and fun for everyone and the older ones tend to entertain themselves.
But I was happy to discover HappyCalc, an attractive puzzle game/activity from an Australian company, and it's great for anyone 3 years and over.
We've heard it before: 'Play is the beginning of knowledge.'
In fact, for children, play is essential for learning. So I was interested in the HappyCalc maths puzzle. It promised to provide an exciting space themed challenge for multiple ages that would encourage understanding and learning.
Bright colours and exciting illustrations create interest
So... I watched closely to see the response of the kids when I placed the puzzle box on the table.
I didn't initially give them any instructions or guidance. But the bright colours and exciting illustrations on the puzzle pieces immediately caught their interest. They laughed at the characters and space creatures. "It looks cool!"
"How do I play?"
The next question was, "What do I do?" I avoided a direct response and soon the younger ones were sorting the pieces into colours and numbers and then joining pieces together to create space craft.
There's no wrong way to play
The pieces, 138 of them, all connect so there's no right or wrong way. In fact, that was one of the comments by my older grandson. "I actually like this. What I like about this is that you can use any of the pieces. I like this a lot."
Kids can create their own maths stories
After they had played alone with the puzzle for a while, I started linking together some pieces and adding to their creations. The puzzle number pieces are different sizes so I linked a '5' and '1' next to the '4' + '4' and '8' that Dakotah had already created. Then we tried adding some other puzzle pieces to fit in her '8' story. She tried another '4' but found that she need a '2' puzzle piece to fit the space.
Once she could see how to make the number pieces in different ways, she worked on her own addition creations.
"This is such fun. I love it," she said.
My observations and review of HappyCalc?
The people at Fun Comet have worked hard to create this new and exciting resource for kids that encourages them to explore maths concepts through play. It's fun and holds their attention and interest while encouraging learning. I really like the space theme, characters, bright colours and illustrations.
And... there's no boring rote learning involved, no rules to fight over while playing, and no one to tell them they're doing it wrong.
It would be a wonderful resource for home-schooling families.
As the people from Fun Comet state: "We are passionate about teaching kids critical skills that will help them master maths in an engaging way.'
Check it out and keep a box handy for the next time your grandkids visit. They'll enjoy it. In the words of one of my grandsons, "It's a thing. Yeah, it's a thing!" Apparently, that's pretty good. :)
You can find out more and order HappyCalc online and it's currently being sold at a discounted price, so be quick!
This resource was provided for my honest review.
We all know that kids are far too sedentary these days. It’s a big concern for parents and public health alike.
Today, kids are immersed in things that don’t require them to move all that much. They seem more interested in exploring the world through their tablet computers than their bodies. And that often means that their bodies suffer.
Some kids aren’t naturally attracted to sport. So here is some sage advice for parents struggling to get their children to be more active.
Don’t Push Too Hard
As parents, we get used to fighting our kids. But it’s an unhealthy habit to get into. As hard as we might push, they’re willing to push back even harder. The trick is to be a little more clever about it. Rather than ordering kids to play sport, create the conditions that will draw them towards it. The best way to do this is to lead by example. If you can show your kids that you can have fun playing sport, they’ll be more likely to want to try it. As soon as they have a desire to play sports themselves, they won’t be able to get enough.
Make It A Competition
Some kids are by nature competitive. And so a great way to get them involved in sport is to hold a competition. It can be something as simple as a five-a-side tournament or as complicated as polo. Whatever it is, make sure there’s a reward at the end. Sites like www.trophiesplusmedals.co.uk sell all sorts of medals for different sporting occasions.
Don’t Assume All Sport Is Team Sport
A lot of kids don’t enjoy team sports. And that’s okay for parents. Why? Mainly because there are so many other options out there. Kids who don’t like football, for example, can choose cycling, swimming, even yoga.
All these options are great for their fitness and for keeping them healthy. And so all these options should be kept on the table. Jumpbunch.com lists more than seventy different sports kid can enjoy if you’re struggling for ideas.
Take Advantage Of Free Taster Sessions
Local sports centres often offer free taster days for kids. It’s all part of their marketing efforts, obviously. Still, it can prove very useful for getting kids interested in trying something different. For kids, the sports centre is a kind of showcase. And an impressive one at that. It’s a great way of capturing their imagination and getting them to really think about sports. Plus, if they don’t like it, you’re not committed to a whole term’s worth of fees.
Make Exercise Fun
Exercise doesn’t have to be for exercise’s sake. It doesn’t even have to be all about winning. It can also be about just having fun. After all, having fun is one of the only things kids do for its own sake. And so introducing fun is a great way to ease them into new sporting habits. For instance, you could make exercise fun by doing a fun run and raising money for charity. Or you could get your kids to design their own games to spice things up a bit.
Running a house when you have a large family might seem like an impossible feat. If you have kids of all ages to concentrate on, you’ll be left with little time to make sure the house is in good condition. A clean and tidy house is not only practical and better to live in, it’s healthier! You don’t want to end up with poorly kids. Leaving things until they are all on top of you is a bad idea too. You’ll exhaust yourself worrying about the things you have to do, and you’ll barely have time to yourself. The tips in this guide will make sure you have as much time to yourself as possible, while keeping the house in good running order. Take a look and see what you can use to help your family situation!
Get Up Early
When you get up early, you will feel so much better about your day. Getting up early with a plan will allow you to take control of your day and get so many productive things done. If you sleep in, you will get stressed out and may not have enough time to do everything you need to do. Of course this means going to sleep earlier. It can be difficult if you have young children, especially babies to care for. However, if your kids are a little older, it’s definitely worth going to bed earlier and getting up earlier. It’s tempting to use the time after the kids have gone to bed to catch up on TV and maybe even work, but you’ll be too stimulated come bed time. Be smart and wind down an hour before bed!
Do All of the Cleaning Over the Course of a Week
Instead of trying to do one big clean, do all of the cleaning over the course of a week. This might require you to make some kind of cleaning rota, so that nothing gets missed out. Knowing exactly what you need to do on any given day will take lots of the stress out of the job and you’ll barely need to do anything to keep it looking great.
Budget Your Time
You need to budget your time if you’re going to have productive day with a large family. Budget your time just like you would your finances. That’s how seriously you should take it! Write yourself a plan the night before; the time you’ll get up, time you’ll have breakfast, and anything else you plan on doing that day. This will give you a much better idea of whether you’re using your time wisely or not.
It’s OK to be Flexible Sometimes
Sticking to a routine doesn’t have to be a chore. You can have much more freedom by sticking to a routine, as you can make time for other things if you need to. For instance, if you need to go to a doctor’s appointment or plan an impromptu trip to the park, you’ll know how to rearrange things to make them suit you. You still need to have fun and live your life!
Teach Your Kids to Tidy Up After Themselves
Teaching your kids to tidy up after themselves as soon as they are old enough is so important! If you bring them up doing everything for them, they are going to be pretty lazy teenagers. If you have them help you from a young age, then they’ll be better well rounded adults. It’ll teach them valuable life skills! By getting your kids to tidy up after themselves as they go along, you’ll enjoy a much tidier house and a much less stressful life.
Have Some Required Jobs
As your kids get older, you should have some required jobs for them. Required jobs are the kind you don’t give them money or reward them for. If you reward them for every job they do, it doesn’t send out a very good message! Just like bribing them to do a job doesn’t send out a good message. As long as you have some required jobs in place for them, you’ll get things done much faster. They can do things like wash up, dry up, load the dishwasher, sweep the floors, wipe the sinks down, and so on. It might take a few times before they get used to doing chores, but they’ll soon be super fast at doing them and it won’t bother them at all. You’re not their maid, so don’t act like one! You’ll love how they all start to take pride in the home.
Offer Pocket Money for Certain Jobs
but they’ll soon be super fast at doing them and it won’t bother them at all. You’re not their maid, so don’t act like one! You’ll love how they all start to take pride in the home.
Offer Pocket Money for Certain Jobs
e job really is and how old they are. Older children will always want to earn a bit of pocket money, so you could find yourself with a lot more spare time than you thought! Some parents give their children pocket money for nothing, but having them do jobs for it will be better for them in the long run.
Know What to Expect from Certain Ages
Know what to expect from kids of different ages. Obviously teenagers can do pretty much any job set to them. Young children may only be able to sweep up. As long as you get them doing the smallest tasks, they’ll learn a few good life lessons! If for whatever reason you can’t manage to get all of your jobs done one week, don’t worry. Life happens. That’s why you should look at some of the best house cleaning services and bear them in mind!
Get Your Husband Involved
Don’t let your husband sit around while you and the kids do all of the work! Give your husband the odd job to do to make everything go more smoothly too. If he goes to work and you stay home, this doesn’t get him out of anything. Make sure he still cleans up after himself, helps cook dinner, and does what he can to make life easier for everybody. Being a mum is a full time job too!
Prepare as Much as You Can the Night Before
Preparing as much as you can the night before will make the next day much more bearable. You can prepare meals and lay out outfits to name a few things.
Stay on Top of Clutter
Stay on top of the clutter in your home. If something doesn’t make your home beautiful or useful, then get rid of it! You need to be vigilant if you’re going to stay on top of clutter. When you have a large family, a minimalistic design is always your safest bet.
Make Sure You Have Optimal Storage Solutions
Having optimal storage solutions in the home will help to keep all of your kids toys and activities tidy. Some people like to have a toybox or storage box in most rooms of the house to throw stray toys into. This will help if you have a large home.
Do a Load of Washing a Day
Doing a load of washing a day will stop you from having a mountain of dirty clothes build up right under your nose.
Don’t Iron Unless You Have to
Ironing can be one of the chores in the home that takes the longest. But here’s a great tip: don’t iron unless you have to! Kids clothes don’t always need ironing, and you could iron your clothes as you wear them. Some people even have somebody else do it for them, as it is fairly cheap. For the time you could save yourself, it could be worth it!
Deal With Paperwork ASAP
Instead of putting letters to one side and saving them until later, deal with paperwork ASAP. Deal with letters straight away, and any forms that your kids might bring home from school. It’ll help you to have a paper shredder for when you’re recycling paper. You might also want a tray for your important documents that you aren’t sending off right away.
Buy a Calendar
Buy a calender to put all of your important dates on. It can be easy to forget things like after school clubs, groups, and meetings when you have a large family. Write everything down on your calendar and you’ll always have them in front of you.
Create Your Own Box of Useful Things
All mums should have a box of useful things. In this box, have needles, thread, plasters, buttons, and anything else you might need at a moment’s notice!
Make Time for Quality Time
Don’t forget to plan quality family time either. If you spend all of your time doing jobs, you’ll eventually wear yourselves out. Bonding and spending time together is so important, and makes for a happier home!
Are you ready to run a more successful household? Have fun!
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.