At Home with Grandkids: Fun Stuff to Do

It’s cold outside, maybe even Polar-vortex cold, and Saturdays with Grandma or Aunt or Mom will be spent indoors. One cold day three of our grandkids warmed up the house, at least the kitchen, with cupcake baking.

Gkids_2 kids_ top_chocolate +lowers_071008

Gkids_2 kids_bottom_chocolate+flowers_071008

Yes, it’s fun to help mix up the batter and lick the beaters, but the grandest thing is putting the plastic Gerbera daisy in the flower pot or scooping up the “chocolate” dirt. It’s okay that we get frosting all over our arms and face – Grandma doesn’t care, now does she?


Downstairs the grand-kids find the ottoman/toy chest with classics like Lincoln Logs, just like sets from the 1960s but with added plastic gadgets. Tinkertoys – there is just no way to improve on Tinkertoys!



Do you have a deck of jumbo cards? If so, you are in business. Patrick and Curtis both learned the meaning of the expression “house of cards” as they tried to stack playing cards on a shaky foundation. Incredibly they persisted even after a collapse or two. Bryan Berg, who holds the world record for a 75-story card tower, can rest easy. Still, both boys couldn’t enjoy the challenge more, as Patrick illustrates:



Their dad Cliff retooled this marble flick board from an old oaken desk in 1978 when Crista was 9 and Joel, 7. They both competed in “Flick the Marble,” trying to earn the higher number of points, best out of three! All four grandkids have since enjoyed the board. Even grand-nephew Noah and grand-niece Emily give it a whirl here.




Back in February 2013, when “plain and fancy” launched, the theme of Grah-ti-Tood, announced my first blog post. The grandkids’ gratitude books were featured along with pictures Curtis and Ian had drawn. They are a year older now, and their thanksgiving continues. Sometimes reluctantly. But this time spontaneously, as conversation around the breakfast table last month moved around to things to be thankful for.


Curtis_Ian_Gratitude Book_102514

On October 25, 2014, Curtis is grateful for friends and thankful that the wars are not hurting me badly (Oh, my)! Ian says, “I am thankful that blueberry pancakes are the best!” Curtis’ illustrations are cartoon-like. Ian’s pancake is realistic with shading.

Each unique.

I am sure you thought of a game or activity to add to the assortment here. Suggestions, comments – it’s your turn!

Coming next: Moments of Discovery # 3: Two Butter Stories and an Autograph Book


34 thoughts on “At Home with Grandkids: Fun Stuff to Do

  1. I wanna be your grandchild! Love the idea of the gratitude books (think what great memoir fodder they will be!). And that one about wars really touched me heart and made me think of all the children who can’t say the same.


    1. Well, Shirley. We are visiting grand-child world simultaneously. I guess that’s the closest we’ll come to such a relationship – ha!

      Curtis, who made the comment about war, has always had two channels of thinking: the adult and the “child” channel, so he is aware of world events. He often catches snippets of NPR when his dad listens. Oh, the collateral damage of war to “all the children who can’t say the same.” As always, I appreciate your thoughtful, compassionate comment, Shirley.


  2. It looks like you and your grandsons had a wonderful time together! I always cooked and baked with my girls (still do when they’re home). I love the idea of the gratitude books–and agree with Shirley above about the war comment. Great fun that will become fond memories.


    1. When I think of your kitchen, Merril, I imagine it filled with robust aromas and writing accoutrements with a friendly cat keeping company. (Maybe your muse?) I love your summary: Great fun that will become fond memories.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have imagined my kitchen perfectly, Marian. 🙂 There are still piles and piles of papers and books on the table though–just finished the documents section of the book last night!


  3. Thank you for still more ideas. I love the card stack. GS is with us for part of the weekend so will have to try. Like you said, it’s too cold to go out and stay outside. Love the “Beaman” game. It will be a treasure for future generations and stay intact since it’s one piece with only replacement marbles to acquire along the way. The gratitude journal is a wonderful idea.


  4. I identify with so much of this post! Baking with grandkids, playing games… I still have tinker toys, Lincoln logs, Checkers, and more. But in this day…old games are put, on the shelf. It’s kind of sad but my memories are sharp and clear! Thanks for taking me back again!


  5. It has to be dressing up Marion . Get the trunk from the loft and let the little ones become anyone they want to .be. Your Grandchildren are adorable …what comments …they could rule the world with those comments


    1. Playing dress up was such fun too, Cherry. Before Grandma Longenecker became a Mennonite she was fancy and had an beaver-skin hat with an ostrich plume. We’d dress up and be in another world. Thanks for sharing!


  6. I love fall and winter, It’s a time for relaxing from summer running. I love playing games and baking cookies as big as their face for them to decorate and popping popcorn to watch a movie. Great time and memories. Your grandchild are so cute. What fun.


  7. Marian — I love that the chocolate frosting was edible “dirt!” I’ve never heard of “flick the marble” before, but now I’m enamored. And “writing with gratitude” put it over the top — my heart is full!

    You asked for a game or activity to add to the assortment…

    On days when school was out, dad was at work, and my little mom was left alone with two stinkers (my sister and I) who towered over height-wise her early on, she’d light a single taper candle and placing it on the dining room table she’d say:

    “If there’s one grumble, one snipe at each other, one single negative action, I’m going to blow the candle out. If, however, the candle burns all the way down and goes on it’s own, we’ll make Rice Krispie treats.”

    That’s all it took — we behaved to within an inch of our lives!


  8. Great ideas, Marian. Cold days and warm fun with grandchildren make a delightful combination. This reminds me not only of the types of things I’ve done with my own grandkids, but also the things my mother did with my daughter…and that brought back memories of the BIG Snow Storm when I was 7 and our cousins were stranded at our house. My mother took care of everyone for four days. Thanks for nudging these memories!
    p.s. Bravo to the creator of the house of cards.


    1. Memories knitted together with love -that’s what I read in your wonderful anecdotes. It’s interesting that you have a chain of events spanning the generations, evidence of a goodly heritage. Lucky you, Marylin. Lucky me too.


  9. I can always count on a sweet family scene here. Thank you, Marian. Love the kids and what you do with them. Love that you let them make a mess. Beautiful memories for all of you. So much love. I miss my Aunt Fern’s Springerle Cookies–the ones we ate at my Grandma’s house at Christmas. I’ve tasted many since I was a kid, but none measure up.

    Thank you for joy.


    1. I wonder if your Aunt Fern used a pound of sugar as called for in the Mennonite Community Cookbook recipe. Springerle cookies also call for anise seed and oil, which your aunt probably used in just the right amount.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment during this busy time of your book launch. I’ll keep spreading the joy as you spread comfort and insight.


  10. At grandson Ian’s last birthday, grand daughter Jenna and I sat at a round picnic table outside. Since BBQing was part of the festivities I picked out several unused skewing sticks and let them fall on the table with almost silent little clinks. This was Jenna’s introduction to the game of pick-up sticks. She found it fascinating and with her skillful fingers she became very adept.


Thank You for Leaving a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s