With the cost of babysitters increasing and the economy making it more difficult to be able to take time off work, more and more families are looking towards the grandparents to help. Grandparents do seem to be getting younger these days compared with earlier generations, but there are still times when the more active of children’s activities is out of the question. At times like these, spending time creatively is a great way to keep the children entertained and keeps them away from computer games and the TV on rainy afternoons.
Any parent will know that children of preschool and junior school age love to make creative works of art, by drawing, colouring or cutting and pasting pictures to display for their family. No parent can fail to have a teary eye when presented with their child’s work. Doing this with a grandparent is a relatively easy activity and can, in my experience, help to strengthen the bond between the generations, especially if families find it difficult to spend as much quality time together as they might want to.
On this basis, what better thing is there to do than to make a scrapbook. If you use cuttings from magazines or comics, coloured paper, old wrapping paper and even the many free newspapers everyone ends up stockpiling; it can be an inexpensive, messy (but not too messy!) and fun bonding experience for all the family. It can also be a great way to keep paintings and drawings made by a child when there is no space left on the fridge door. The scrapbook can be a memento for the grandparent or even the grandchild in later years. If done on a regular basis it can also be used as a slightly more individual, special way to document a child growing up.
To start scrapbooking you really don’t need much more than the average family home already offers. Just cover a round dining table with old newspaper to protect the surface; collect the materials and you are ready for action. Child friendly scissors and glue sticks are a necessity to get the children actively involved and make it a joint project. If using paint, make sure that they wear an overall or old clothes so that it does not matter if they get dirty; every activity is better when the adult isn’t worrying and the child is doing exactly what they want! Grandparents can play their part by letting the kids choose the design, layout and inspiration, and they can, in turn, provide the descriptions for the pictures and events; making the scrapbook not just another rainy day activity, but a record to be kept and added to on subsequent rainy days.
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