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Internet ideas can combat spring break boredom
Spring break is just around the corner, and children everywhere are gearing up and packing up to head to their grandparents’ homes. In turn, grandparents are frantically searching for activities to keep the grandkids busy.
I was a frequent visitor to Camp Grandparents when I was a child, and I have many fond memories of my time with them. My grandmother taught me how to make fruit pies and how to sew by making clothes for my dolls. (Coincidentally, this is also where I learned how to cuss. My grandmother’s sewing machine is where all the women in my family learn to cuss.) My favorite activity was jumping on the couch when my grandmother went to town. My grandfather got into a lot of trouble for that one.
We had codes for our camp activities. “Going on a nature walk to look for arrow heads” was code for cutting down bean poles for the garden, and “looking for pretty rocks and fossils” was code for moving the gravel that had washed down into the ditch back onto the driveway.
I consider my grandparents the best because they made time to play with their grandchildren. Today, I know that these visits can be a trying time for grandparents as they try to live up to their reputation. The Internet can provide countless suggestions to help avoid a grandkid boredom emergency.
A very easy activity is to microwave half a bar of Ivory soap and watch what happens. Put the soap on a plate in the microwave and cook at 30-second intervals for no more than 2 minutes. The soap will grow into a monster of an activity. Paint your creation or use it to bathe with, if bathing is a requirement at your house. You can find this activity as well others at http://www.physicscentral.com/experiment/index.cfm. They even have activity books and coloring sheets you can print off at home. Just click on the activity books link.
Make a bouncing ball with Elmer’s glue, cornstarch and borax. The instructions are a bit long but easy to do. You can find them here: http://tinyurl.com/glueball. This experiment and many others are available from the American Chemical Society’s website: http://portal.acs.org/. Simply click on Education and Science for Kids.
If you need a sweet treat, consider making ice cream in two plastic zip-top bags. Mix 1/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup milk and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in the bag. Seal the bag with the ice cream mixture and place it in the other, empty bag. Pour 2 cups of ice and 1/2 cup of rock salt into the empty bag. Seal the bag securely. Shake the bag for 10 to 15 minutes or until the ice cream sets. This tasty experiment can be found at http://tinyurl.com/bagicecream.
A homemade lava lamp is a sure winner and requires an empty bottle, cheap vegetable oil, food coloring and an Alka-Seltzer tablet. Fill the empty bottle 3/4 full of oil and then top off with water. Add food coloring. Add 1/8 of the tablet and see what happens. This experiment and others can be found at http://tinyurl.com/makelavalamp.
Bubbles are a great way to keep grandkids occupied and get them outside. While bubbles are cheap to buy, making your own bubble solution makes you the coolest grandparent. Try the bubble solution recipes at http://tinyurl.com/bubblesolution. Combine 2 tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing detergent and a cup of water. Adding a tablespoon of glycerin will make much better bubbles. Use pipe cleaners for wands or cut the end off of a small plastic bottle and cover it with cheese cloth to make a bubble blowing snake.
If you think you will need more activities to survive the week, check out this website from PBS: http://pbskids.org/zoom/activities/sci/. Spending a week with the grandkids can be a nerve-wracking experience, but these activities will help you build lasting memories with your grandchildren.