Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Mountain Out of a Molehill

Remember this guy? He's The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain.
A certain village was very proud to have a mountain. When the cartographers came to measure for a map, it wasn't high enough to qualify, and was in danger of being demoted to hill status. The villagers were intent on having their landmark, so they hauled dirt all the way to the top until it became a legitimate mountain.

I am like that. I love to take a little hill and make it a mountain.

This weekend I thought I would make a little busy basket with a few easy, "no-helping" type activities that my daughter could have on hand for her little girls while she's feeding the twins. I went to the dollar store and bought some birthday hats and blowers, some nesting measuring cups, some large macaroni and shoe laces and a package of ziploc bags. I planned a few little kits, and thought I ought to have an Oma Basket with a bunch of pre-made crafts that I could pull out at a moment's notice. My molehill was getting bigger.

I stopped in at Barnes and Noble and walked out with 3 books on activities for pre-schoolers, to add to the collection I already have at home. By the time I drove past another Barnes and Noble I had decided to put together "Summer Kits" for the other grand kids. Who can pass a Barnes and Noble? After purchasing a few more books with grade school age ideas, I ate lunch in the little cafe and went through the books, marking the suggestions that appealed to me. When I left, I had a shopping list of more stuff I needed, and I headed straight to Michael's Crafts. An hour later I hauled out several bags of materials and a bunch more ideas, stopped at the store for more ziplocs, and arrived home with my mountain.

Organization is my thing. I usually figure out a very cool system while I am in a disastrous mess of disorganization. This is how I would do it next time:
  1. Make a list of activities with materials listed for each one.
  2. Make copies of list for each family, and then cut up copies for each packet.
  3. Spread out materials in categories on floor. (Pom poms, clothespins, glue sticks, etc.)
  4. With master list, collect enough materials for each specific craft per kid, and put them in a ziploc.
  5. Put a family's individual ziplocs in a bigger one, along with a snippet of paper with instructions. (For instance: 4 sandwich ziplocs, each with a handful of various sized macaroni and a long shoelace. Put all 4 in a larger bag with a note: "String a necklace.")
  6. Toss family ziplocs in labeled sack to keep them all straight for each group.
    (Girl things, boy things, 2 year old things, 9 year old things...)
After 2 8-hour days of creating a mountain out of a molehill, I have 4 fully stocked Summer Grab Bags (to be sent a few packets at a time throughout the summer) 1 Busy Basket for my new mom, and 1 Oma Basket, all piled high with things to keep kids creatively occupied for a few minutes, at least.
I have to note that I am NOT a craft person. I don't like scissors, glue, paints or messes, so I'm giving all that kind of stuff to the kids for their own households. For my Oma basket I made paper dolls and clothes from felt, toothbrushes and toothpaste with a tiny treasure box of dirty coins to shine, little flashlights and a paper tablecloth to color and hide under, stickers and 3x5 cards to make memory games, a button collection (sort, match, count, hide, play Button Button, spin on a thread, lose or swallow), string for Cat's Cradle, ABC magnets and a cookie sheet, plus a list to remind me of stories, finger plays and games that don't require anything (I Spy, Hokey Pokey, Going on a Bear Hunt, etc.)

I love to create this kind of thing. I picture the kids getting the mail, full of anticipation and warm feelings. Happiness and cooperation prevail in their homes because of my package. World peace evolves. I know the reality will be "Why did Oma send us all these Froot Loop crumbs?" "Is this a glue stick that melted?" "I don't know why there aren't any pink ones! Stop crying and play with the other 700 beads." I do hope the grand kids have fun and think of me, but the real reward was that I had fun while I was thinking of them. A mountain of fun!


Kay Dennison said...

What a wonderful granny you are! Can I borrow a cup of energy?

Stie said...

Oh, there are certain little people in this house whose creativity is often stifled by my laziness. Your packages will be WELL RECEIVED here. As always, how did we get so lucky to have you????

gramakas said...

You are the best grandma... seriously, that is a mountain of fun.

kenju said...

I do the same thing, but to keep at my house for when they are here! My daughter could use some of your kits - she has 7 kids.

MissKris said...

Ah, my do run circles around me! How on earth do you find the time to do all you DO?!? I'm happy to make it thru a 10 hour day with my grandson, get a couple loads of laundry done, dinner cooked, and find a little time to write on my blog. If I wasn't a relatively fast typist -60 to 70 wpm - I don't know if I'd even get THAT done, haha! You simply leave me gawping in open-mouthed amazement. One of my grandmas died when I was 3, the other one was on the other side of the continent all my younger life, so I essentially grew up 'grandmother-less'. I think I'll adopt you and you can send me fun little activity packs, ok? LOL!
You'd sent me an email a while back and I responded to it but it came back from the "postmaster" as un-deliverable. There are so many times I want to respond in depth to what you write here, but my comments would be like another blog entry, haha! Could you please send me your email addy again?? Maybe it got copied wrong by me, or something. Cyberspace can be SO unreliable at times. Could we be 'pen pals' as well as blog friends?? I would LOVE that! Here's my email addy:

Hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend. I enjoyed my 'trip' down your entire blog page...I've been crazy-busy lately and had gotten behind in visiting. I love coming here!

marta said...

oh my goodness, i'm completely impressed!! you always figure out the BEST solution to a daunting problem. good work, oma. you seriously deserve a medal for this one! hoorah for you.

MissKris said...

Just to let you know...I did do the "Blogging Etiquette" questions over at my site. That was a lot of fun, and a lot of food for thought, too! I've already got one responder who said she's going to do it on her site, too.

Kelly said...

what fun! i know your packages will be greatly appreciated!

mama jo said...

you have the best ideas...will you send them to my kids too? can they be your grandchildren, not neices?

Heidi Ballou said...

Leave it to Oma to come to the rescue! This was a problem I didn't even realized needed a remedy. Of course, I'm not really thinking straight since the twins, but come to find out, Oma's grab basket is just the perfect solution! The girls LOVE it. I love all the stuff, it's just fun to be surprised with what's coming next! Thanks Oma!