Many people have sweet memories of doing things with their grandmothers, like baking, sewing, having tea parties, or gardening. Sharing some of the interests and values you learned at your grandmother’s side is a wonderful way to build your relationship with your own grandchildren. You may think that they are only interested in watching Disney movies and playing video games, but they are anxious and eager to make sweet memories with you.
What interests, skills and hobbies should you share and teach your kiddos? That is entirely up to you … there is an endless list of things older women could have learned through a lifetime of living and having adventures.
You might wonder what skills and interests I will be sharing with my grandchildren. Let me share some of them with you, and I hope it will help you get inspired to what you could share with your grandkids…
Our family is really into musical theater. Obsessively so. Massively so. My oldest daughter, as a 3 year old, would go to church and sing, “He slept a summer by my side” from Les Miserables. I would have to tell her not to do that … it sounded pretty strange coming out of that tiny little angelic face.
I will be buying tickets for my grandkids to go with me to plays that are being performed in my city (grandparents do usually have more disposable income than parents for those pricey play tickets). Before we go to the play, we will first read the book it is based on together (if there is one), or we will discuss the characters and plot. We will listen to the music so they will already be familiar with the tune and words. A consequence of doing these things first is that, as they watch the play, the children will not have to try and figure out complicated plots and will not be confused about what the lyrics to the songs are. They feel an immediate connection with the characters when they appear on stage because they will feel like they already know them. It is how we experienced theater with their parents when they were little, and excursions to the theater are some of our most cherished family memories. I can’t wait to take my grandkids to see Matilda!
What interests in the arts do you have … plays, musicals, mimes, opera, poetry, reading, singing, playing a musical instrument, dance, photography? Expose your grandchildren to these amazing worlds.
I did a lot of crosstitching when I was younger, and that will be something I teach my grandchildren. There is something magical about creating art with your hands, and a bonus is that it contributes to their fine motor skills. Maybe we will make something personal to frame and put on their wall, or maybe we will make a gift for someone in the family for a special occasion, like a baptism or wedding.
My mother-in-law is a master quilter and has helped each of her granddaughters make a queen-sized pieced quilt that took hours and hours of dedicated work. My daughters look at those quilts with a great sense of achievement and know that, for a time, they were real quilters. (The photo is my granddaughter on one of her great-grandma’s quilts). What skills involving using your hands, do you have to share? Quilting, baking, tie dying, tatting, knitting, crocheting, candle making, woodworking, painting, gardening, furniture refinishing, ceramics, scrapbooking, sewing? What a blessing to share those talents with your grandkids.
I have always had a obsessive love affair with whales. When I was a young girl I wanted to become an oceanographer and sail on the Calypso with Jacques Cousteau and study these great mammals. Every animal report I ever did in school was about whales… I know my baleen whales from my toothed whales. There are some excellent IMAX whale movies, so I will be heading to the theater with my kiddos when they are big enough. Taking my grandkids on a whale watching boat is something I also plan to do in the future. I will share my love of these creatures with the next generation. What obsessions do you have to share?
I grew up playing softball … playing on teams as a little girl, practicing with the boys’ team my dad coached, coaching a team of elementary kids, and playing on a woman’s team while living in Dubai. Our family has a slow pitch game each summer where we rent a local diamond and play with family and friends (we call it my husband’s Field of Dreams). I even met my husband while at a group date playing slow pitch (he was a mighty pitcher and I caught a line drive playing second and caught his eye). You can bet I will be buying a small glove and bat and playing catch with my grandchild and going to the park to practice hitting. They may or may not ever want to play on a team, but it will be a great way to be active together and improve their coordination. Do you have a sport or physical activity you enjoy and can pass on those skills to a grandchild?
I am a bit embarrassed to admit it, but I am a bit of an expert on zombies. I think it started with reading the book World War Z and continued by watching shows like “The Walking Dead”, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Warm Bodies.” It ended with the purchasing and reading The Zombie Survival Guide. Not a very orthodox interest for a grandma, I admit. But it is kind of cool for older grandchildren to have a grandma who would participate with them in a Zombie Run (there are such things) and who comes over and will watch and then discuss the latest plot of “The Walking Dead”.
Travelling to India often has made me a big fan of Bollywood movies. The movies are long, the plots are implausible, and there is a lot of overacting, but I love the color, the dancing, and the emotions. India makes about 700 movies a year, and I usually find about 6 movies that I think are worth watching. My children grew up watching these films while we they were growing up in the Middle East and it is a constant in-joke with us. I will certainly be introducing Bollywood movies to my grandkids (with the subtitles on) and passing on an understanding and respect of Indian culture. What unusual interests do you have to share and discuss with your grandkids? Video gaming, Greek myths, snakes, magic tricks, breeding dogs, Frisbee football, playing poker (that was my mother-in-law teaching my kids), yodeling, watching wrestling? Grandmas with unusual interests are just more interesting.
So there you go, some of the things I will be sharing with my grandchildren. One of the ways children are introduced to new activities and ideas is through sharing in a grandparent’s interests, skills, and hobbies, and gung ho grandmas can be very patient, effective teachers.
And remember, children like to feel needed, and they can also teach their grandma a new thing or two… like how to find interesting sites on the Internet, how to take a screen shot with your new IPhone, play a video game, do the latest dance, and what music is in at the moment.
Grandchildren help you see the world anew again, through their eyes.
Leave a comment below about the skills and talents you share with your grandchildren … I would love to hear all about it!
And if you like the idea of sharing your skills and talents as a grandmother, please share this blog with your friends!