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Bridging the Generation Gap

I totally adore my grandchildren. Each day I try to think of how I can best help them so they will enjoy a productive happy life. They all have wonderful parents and I don’t want to overstep my bounds. I would like to share a few nuggets of wisdom left by those who have gone before me in this great adventure of being a grandmother.

Granddaughters playing with dolls. Photo by Ruth Kongaika

My own paternal grandparents gave me a feeling that I still long for from time to time. They allowed me to feel that their home was my home. I remember roaming their little home and farm, watering the plants, getting the eggs in the chicken coup and enjoying the peas in Grandma’s garden. They also raised sheep and I remember a time when Grandpa put a saddle on one of the sheep and let me ride her. My grandparents always encouraged me and made me feel warm and sunny inside.

My parents, paternal grandparents and Great-grandmother, aunts and uncles. My father is holding my older brother.

In this world of so many voices, I think it is my responsibility to plan some time to interact with our grandchildren. They need to feel close to us and hear our stories. Each time I see my grandchildren, I try to single each one out of the group to talk to them and reinforce my love for them. Hugging is a way of showing your love for each one. I remember my maternal grandfather used to plant a kiss directly on my lips. That was a bit uncomfortable, but it is what it is.

My maternal grandparent behind myself on far right with an aunts, uncle and cousins.

Grandchildren each have a unique personality and their demands are different. I have a couple of grandsons that are happy just to give me a quick hug and then they do their own thing. Some of the other children need me to listen to every word they say. It takes effort to really listen, not just pretend to listen. I learn so much from them and they sometimes say funny things. One thing for sure, they are honest about how you look when they are young! Alll but two of my grandchildren are taller than I am! The other two are 10 and 11. Wow!

Three of my grandson we visited when they lived in Egypt. Aren’t they handsome?

I may not see some of the grandchildren because they live miles away, but I do remember them daily in my prayers. I also try to talk to them every weekend by phone or send an email to check how they are doing. Sometimes I just share fun things I find on social media

My oldest granddaughter! Isn’t she lovely!

When we are together, I try to do what the grandchildren want to do for a while. In the past, we played card games, dominos, board games, went to the park to swing, or played ball. Now that I’m getting older, they usually go out for a walk around my block together. We still watch movies, play board games and eat goodies. I think it is important that we laugh with our grandchildren. That is a priceless, wonderful gift.

Two sporsters!

My husband tries to get the grandchildren to help him around the yard and in the garden. Hopefully they will remember him as a hard-working person. They try to get away from doing any work while they are with us, but it is important that we teach them the value of work. Recently, the older grandchildren have begun asking for money so grandpa has them mow ing the lawn, cleaning the window wells, or other chores instead of just giving money to them.

The ability to love unconditionally and to show it are the most important qualities a grandparent can possess. It is hard when you see your grandchild being disciplined for something they did wrong, but it is important not to interrupt the way their parents have chosen to deal with their children. I have learned this the hard way. Only give advice when asked.

Christ said “Suffer little children…to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14) Here, suffer is a verb. It is an action word. It means to allow or to experience. Christ instructed his disciples to let the children come, and then provided a great example by drawing the children to Him. Because of the children’s purity and innocence, He said we are to become as they are. We draw the children to us to enjoy and learn from their faith, innocence, and trust. From us they can learn how to live in a corrupt society without being corrupted by it.

Grandchildren, holidays, home

Buy Bananagram Word Games for Christmas

Get your daily serving of fruit takes on new meaning with the great games from Bananagram.

These fruits are not just for children. Aging brains need workouts too.

The fruit word game assortment includes Bananagrams, Appletters, and Pairs in Pairs.

It is a great word games for kids of all ages.

Appletters is similar to domino and is for ages six and up where players connect letters instead of dots.

Bananagrams is game similar to scrabble, but without the board.

With a total of 144 letter tiles, each player works independently to create their own crossword.

After a player has used up all their letters, all of the players must take a new tile from the pool.

When there are no more tiles to choose from, the first player who used up all the tiles in their hand wins.

Pairs in Pears is a portable, compact spelling game. Letter tiles are encased Inside a pear-shaped pouch featuring various designs (dots, lines, blank and solid).

It is a fun way for children to develop cognitive and memory skills while learning alphabetical order, word construction, consonants, and vowels, vocabulary, rhyming, etc.

My family has these games and they play themselves silly. It is great for mind exercise and most helpful for the children.

Place all 144 tiles face down on center of table.

These tiles are referred to as the “BUNCH”.

For games of 2-4 people, each player takes 21 letters from the bunch, keeping them face down.

For 5-6 players, 15 letters are taken. For 7-8 (or more) players, 11 letters are taken.


Any one player says “SPLIT” whereupon all players turn their own tiles face up and proceed to form their OWN collection of connecting and intersecting words.

The words may be horizontal or vertical, reading left to right or top to bottom.

Each player may rearrange his/her own words as often as desired.

Players DO NOT take turns, but play independently of each other and at the same time.

When a player has none of his/her original letters left, that player says “PEEL” and takes a tile from the bunch.

At this point ALL OF THE OTHER PLAYERS MUST ALSO TAKE A TILE FROM THE BUNCH and add it to their collection of letters.

At any time, and as often as desired during play, any player may return a difficult-to-use letter back to the center of the BUNCH, face down, but MUST TAKE THREE LETTERS IN RETURN.

The player must declare this action to the other players by saying “DUMP”. This exchange does not affect the other players.

Play continues until there are fewer tiles in the BUNCH than there are players. The first player with no remaining letters shouts “BANANAS” and is the winner of that hand.

The other players may now inspect the winning hand for misspelled or incorrect words.

Proper nouns are not acceptable.

Any available dictionary may be used.

If all words are acceptable, that player is the WINNER OF THAT HAND.

If any word in the “winning” hand is found to be unacceptable, that player becomes the “Rotten Banana” and is OUT OF THAT HAND, and must return his/her letters, face down to the center bunch and the game now resumes for the remaining players.

For those who want to play a more relaxed game
All tiles are placed face down on the table.

The letters are divided equally among the players, remaining face down.

Players then play the regular BANANAGRAMS game, but there is no “peeling” or “dumping”.

The first player to use all his/her letters shouts “BANANAS” and is the winner of the hand.

If the game ends in a stalemate, the player with the fewest remaining letters is the winner.

You can even play it by yourself – BANANA SOLITAIRE
Place all letters down on center of table.

Take 21 letters and proceed to play the game.

Only peel when needed.

Try to beat your own best time in using all 144 letters, or try making as few words to use all 144 letters.

This can be a relaxing way of honing your Bananagrams skills.

Grandchildren, health, home

Summer Sports of Years Gone By

We got plenty of exercise and most of the sports or games we played included using a ball or other equipment. We also played many of them in teams.

Dodge Ball or Dodgeball was one we always enjoyed. In this game you try to hit other players with balls but avoid being hit yourself. Be sure and watch the video below for the biggest Dodge ball game you probably will ever see.

Anti I Over is played with a ball which is played over a house (yes, I said a house – if the parents approved of course). In those days, we only had one level houses, usually looking like a cracker box with an A-framed roof.

One team would stand on one side and one team on the other side of the house. Then one team would throw a ball over the house and call out, “Anti-I-Over”. If the ball did not make it to the other side, you could try again.

If the ball makes it over and someone on the other side caught it, you run around to the other side and try to tag as many as you can and then they wwill be on your side. The object of the game is to try and get all the players on your side.

Another game we played often was Kick the Can. In this one you had a can (any size will do) and a goal.

One player is the goalie and he hides his face or closes his eyes and counts while the rest of the team run and hide.

The object of the game is for the goalie to find the players. While the goalie is hunting, someone will try and sneak in and kick the can which automatically releases all the players who have been found. Then every one hides again.

Red Rover is played between two teams of players, normally about thirty feet apart. The team on the receiving end hold each others hands to form a barrier.

Each team lines up and one person calls out, Red rover, red rover, send [call the name of a player on the other team] right over .

The person who was called is supposed to run towards the other line, looking for a weak link, and break the line. If the person who was called is unable to break the chain, he/she joins the other team.

If the player is successful in breaking the chain, this player may select either of the two persons whose arms he was able to get through, and they join with the team that had called out.

The other team then calls out Red rover, red rover, send [call the name of a player on the other team] right over . It continues like that back and forth until only one is left. The team with the most players at the end wins.

The game can be a risky or painful. When the runner or attempts to break through, it can hurt the team player’s arms or body and even knock them to the ground. I understand that the game has been banned in a number of schools because of injuries.

Run, Sheepy, Run is a game played with a wolf and as many others (sheep) who want to play. The wolf will hide his face with his hands and count to 100. While he is counting the sheep run and hide. Then the wolf will try to find the sheep.

It is similar to Hide and Seek, but in Run, Sheepy, Run you are caught by the wolf. Once the wolf catches a sheep, he puts them in a make believe corral. Sheep who are still hiding while the wolf is looking for them can sneak in and release the captured sheep.

Tag is one of the Favorites of children and there are many variations.

Chain tag is a variant where the first person to be caught joins hands with ‘it’ and the two must chase the others as a pair. As more people are caught they too join hands, forming a lengthening chain. Only those at the ends of the chain are able to catch someone, as they are the only ones with a free hand.

Octopus tag is a mixture of Red Rover and Tag. The playing field is known as the ocean . The fish line up along one side of the ocean and try to run to the other side without getting tagged. The octopus tries to tag the other players. After getting tagged the fish become seaweed and they must freeze or sit where they were tagged, but they can wave their arms around and help the octopus to tag other fish within their reach. The last fish to be tagged becomes the next octopus.

I have read that organized sports aren’t right for every child and certainly not for every age.

If you as a parent encourage your child and set an example of being active yourself, chances are a few sports will spark his or her interest.

You can encourage them by taking your child to local sporting events and explaining how different games are played.

When the time is right, and they show true interest, you can provide opportunities for your child to try out equipment and play informally with other children.

Teach your children how you can get great satisfaction from playing without even wanting to be the best. Don’t force children to play sports they are not interested in.

Children don’t need organized athletics to develop athletic skills or to get physical activity. “A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to include sports,” says Edward Laskowski, M.D., co-director of the Sports Medicine Clinic at Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minn. “It’s more important that your child is involved in some sort of physical activity, whether it’s hiking and biking with the family or playing pickup baseball or basketball with the neighborhood kids.”

Competition has its place, but it is important while children are young to let them enjoy fun sports and games without feeling stressed to succeed. The physical activity is necessary for proper growth and development.

I have fond memories of all these times we spent until late in the summer evenings.