As grandparents, some of us have endless opportunities to gather our families for fun times. Today’s post lists five ideas focused around Thanksgiving. Each idea is presented from a different individual. Tomorrow’s post will give ideas to share your heart with grandchildren who live far away.
Celebrated Author Fay Klingler
1. My parents sponsored a treasure hunt in the desert. It was at Thanksgiving time. We gathered there to cook a turkey in a pit my dad had dug in the sand, but the treasure hunt could be held anytime of the year. We all got involved. We parents helped the younger grandchildren. The clues were clever and led us on quite a hike. I guess you could use any theme, but my parents used “Thankfulness” and “Family Preparedness” for theirs. I can still see our children running around with their cousins, giggling and having fun.
2. You could have a family spelling bee at one of your family activities. Just the grandchildren would participate, of course. The words to spell might have something to do with your family, such as the names of family members and words such as family, togetherness, aunt, uncle, cousin, or unity.
3. You might make a wooden plaque for Thanksgiving that simply reads “Give Thanks” and have all the children and grandchildren’s names hung from it. Or you could make and hang wooden carved pilgrim girls and boys and paint them to depict the different members of the family.
4. Several years ago, we began using a special tablecloth for our Thanksgiving meal. It was a cloth signed by every family member. When a grandchild turns three, he or she gets to add his or her name to the others. (By that time they can usually write the letters of their name and draw a little picture without too much difficulty.) We don’t worry about the writing being uniform or neat and tidy. The important thing is that all our names are there and that everyone is included.
5. When you count your blessings, it puts everything else in perspective. At our Thanksgiving gathering, each person at the table takes a turn saying what they are thankful for. Sometimes we distribute pieces of candy corn, giving each participant a piece of candy for every blessing they mention. We haven’t intended to initiate a spiritual discussion, but it is amazing how often it turns out that way once you begin enumerating your blessings. [If you don’t like the idea of adding more sugar to the holiday festivities, consider giving a penny for every blessing the participant mentions.]
I took these ideas from my book The LDS Grandparents’ Idea Book, published by Deseret Book. Above I said, “Each idea is presented from a different individual.” Here’s a little insider information. There are about 400 ideas in that book. I asked around 50 successful grandparents for their suggestions. To expand the book to 400 ideas, I used my imagination and put down things I would love to do with my family. Of course, when planning activities, every set of grandparents must take into account the likes and dislikes of family members. Some of the activities I would love to do with my grandchildren for various reasons just simply will not work. Others have been a great success. The grandchildren’s ages, the unity of the family, and the family culture all have to be considered. Looking back, some of the ideas that wouldn’t work for our family at the time I wrote the book may be perfect to use now.
Fay A. Klingler is the author of the best-selling book The LDS Grandparents’ Idea Book, I Am Strong! I Am Smart! and many other books and articles (www.fayklingler.com). She can be contacted on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/FayKlingler.
Thank you, Fay, for that lovely article. Surely these are fantastic ideas for mothers and fathers too. Of course you'll need a scrapbook freebie to record your fabulous day with family members.
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