Yes, you can buy a present for a loving grandparent from a store, but they can be very impersonal. Why not make one with your kids? Kids will love the craft time and grandparents will love having something homemade.
"When a grandchild makes a handmade gift, the present is unique and the grandchild is giving of his time," says Sue Johnson, a grandmother of six from Lancaster, Virginia, grandparenting expert and author of Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren. "It's also meaningful because we know they have been thinking about us when they made the gift, and it contains something of himself."
Like Johnson, Kimberly Jo Ellingsworth, a grandmother of five in Monterey, California, understands the significance of a handmade gift. "I always remember the look on my oldest grandson's face when he would bring something he made home and give it to us," she says. "He was so excited, and then even more excited because we used it rather than putting it on a shelf somewhere."
With the help of some very creative grandparents, we came up with eight fun ideas for things your little one can make (sometimes with your help) for this special person in their life.
Create a Collage
Grab your family photos and laminate them to place mats to send to grandma and grandpa. You'll always be there with them bringing joy to each meal.
Make a CD
Record the kids telling their grandparents about their favorite times with Nana and Papa "as a reminder of the importance of being together," Johnson says.
Share Some Sunshine
Have the kids draw grandma's favorite flower, then cut it out and have them paste their photo on it. Draw a big sun with your child's photo in it, and caption it "You are my sunshine!" Teach your kiddos the words to the song and put it on a CD to accompany the gift.
Assemble a Coupon Booklet
Have the kids come up with 10 things they can do for their grandparents -- everything from raking the yard to baking their favorite cookies -- and make each idea a coupon to put in a book.
Get some magnetic tape and put pieces on the back of family photos to create instant fridge magnets.
Film a Homemade Video
Grab the video camera and record your kids being goofy. Or, as Johnson suggests, ask the kids to relay "our family history from the eyes of your grandchild."
Puzzle It Out
Paste a photo of your child on cardboard, cut it into pieces and send with instructions saying, "Put this together and see who loves you!"
Make a List
Write a list of "I love you because ..." statements to send to the grandparents to let them know how special they are.
Plan an Activity or Outing
Yes, physical gifts are nice, but grandparents often treasure the gift of memories with their grandkids even more. Your child and their grandparent can organize something fun for them to do together. For example, create a family trivia game with facts about each person, set up a scavenger hunt or get messy with an afternoon of finger painting. You can take photos of the special day and put them in an album from grandparents to look over.
Handmade gifts can be a tradition that grandkids and grandparents alike can look forward to. Get the little ones thinking of a new gift idea weeks, or even months in advance. This will make for a rewarding present the grandparents won't forget.
Michelle Perez is a freelance writer covering all things Denver. Her work can be found here.