Fifteen Ways to Use Nature to Connect Across the Miles
Activities for helping your child remain aware of his/her grandparents’ love and
continue feeling connected with them when they cannot be together.
Note to Parents: Although Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa would be a great companion book for these activities, you do not need the book to enjoy these activities with your child. You can do these activities with your children. However, these activities are also great for grandparents to share with their grandchildren, so pass the list on. If you are using the book to help your child cope with divorce, death, distance created by military service, or any other life situation that separates your child from a loved one, these activities will still work to help him/her feel close to the one they love but can’t always be with.
These ideas can also help you help your child cope with divorce, death, or separation created by military service (or any other life situation that separates your child from a loved one) these activities will work in helping him/her feel close to the one they love when they cannot be together.
Note to Grandparents: Although Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa would be a great companion book for these activities, you do not need the book to enjoy these activities with your child.When you have the opportunity to be with your grandchildren, start out by spending time outdoors with them. If you are not able to be with your grandchildren, you can also pass this list on to their parents, so they can do these activities with your grandchildren at home.
1. Call your child’s attention to the warm sun on her skin and talk about how that same sun shines where her grandparents live.
2. On a breezy day, encourage your child to listen to the wind in the trees. When he feels the breeze brush his cheek, help him imagine that the wind carries Grandma’s and Grandpa’s hugs and kisses to him. Remind him that he can send his hugs and kisses to them on the wind too.
3. Take time to enjoy some flowers with your child while discussing how smiles and flowers can bring hearts together. Do an art project making colorful paper flowers. Then have your grandchild create a happy flower family by pasting photos of her face and Grandma’s and Grandpa’s faces to the flowers. Flower art project ideas.
4. While you are enjoying flowers, point out fluttering butterflies to your child. Teach her how to give butterfly kisses, so she will be ready to share butterfly kisses with Grandma and Grandpa. If you have a butterfly house at your local museum or zoo, take your child there. Finally, do a butterfly art project. Butterfly art project ideas.
5. Buy some flower seeds for your child to plant. In the fall, teach him to collect seeds from his flowers and send them to his grandparents for planting. Grandparents can send seeds to grandchildren as well. Forget-Me-Not flowers are easy to grow from seed, and it is easy to harvest seeds from them. In addition, sending Forget-Me-Not seeds offers a nice sentiment. Marigolds are also easy to grow from seed and their seeds are easy to harvest.
6. Draw your child’s attention to the song of birds and their many different colors and sizes. Use this opportunity to discuss how birds migrate, so she can imagine them carrying her grandparents’ love on their wings across the miles, or imagine sending her love to her grandparents on the wings of birds.
7. After sun showers, keep an eye out for rainbows, and take every opportunity to point them out to your child. Help him imagine the rainbow as a bridge between his house and Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Do ‘rainbow’ art projects while talking about how you all remain connected through love. Rainbow art project ideas.
8. In the evening, enjoy a sunset with your child and listen for crickets, frogs, and other night sounds. Talk about the differences or similarities in night sounds between where Grandma and Grandpa live and where he lives. Be sure to create your own very special night sounds by whispering in your child’s ear, “Grandma and Grandpa love you.”
9. Teach your grandchild about the ever-changing moon phases, and talk about how that same moon shines at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
10. Point out how many stars there are in the sky. Remind her that Grandma and Grandpa love her more than all the stars in the sky, and that is a lot of love!
11. Use markers to write notes and draw pictures on leaves, then have your child toss the leaves in a river or other body of flowing water. Watch the leaves float out of sight on their way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
12. Take long walks with your child in the rain or play in the snow. Then talk about the rain, snow, or any other weather that he might, or might not, experience if he were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.
13. Lie on your back and watch as the clouds float across the sky. Take this peaceful time to discuss things that might be different at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Perhaps the sun sets and rises at a different time than it does where you live. Maybe winters are warm at your house and cold where Grandma and Grandpa live. Possibly, you have palm trees or pine trees while Grandma and Grandpa have hardwoods or cactus where they live. Whatever the differences, use this time as an opportunity for your child to imagine, reflect, and learn.
14. Spend time in nature using your imagination to lead your child to her imagination, where she can form her own connections to her grandparents. Remember, it is all about heart connections, experiences, and the opportunity for children to learn about nature. And most of all, to love and enjoy their grandparents, no matter how far away they live.
15. When you tuck your child in at night, share butterfly kisses and then remind her that she can visit her grandparents in her dreams any time she wishes.
Make your child’s copy of “Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa” an extra special gift by gluing photos of him and his grandparents on the book’s blank endpapers.
FLOWER ART PROJECTS
Photos of child and long-distant loved one
Note: When gluing your first flower on paper, make sure to leave room for the other flowers with faces.
1. Freehand 4 hearts on colored paper – any size you choose, but they should all be the same size
2. Cut out hearts
3. Glue hearts in a circle on paper with the points touching (you are creating the flower petals)
4. Draw stem on flower
5. Draw leaves on flower or cut leaves from colored paper and glue on stem
6. Make a flower for child and each remote loved one
6. Cut faces from photos in a circles that will be a good size for the center of your flowers
7. Glue faces to center of flower
NOTE: You can also glue the hearts and faces on cardboard, then cut out the flower head. Glue flower head to a long pipe cleaner and put all the ‘face’ flowers in a vase or jar.
Markers, crayons, or paint
Photos of child and long-distant loved ones
1. Color or paint cup cake liner (or if you have colored liners, leave as is)
2. Cut faces from photos in circles that will fit in the center of the liners
3. To make flower petals, cut into fluted portion of liner 8 times (even widths apart)
4. Glue flower to paper (you can glue the whole flower stretching the petals out, or you can glue just the bottom of the liner to the paper leaving the petals free)
5. Glue faces to center of flowers
6. Draw a stem and some leaves
NOTE: Instead of gluing flowers to paper you could glue or tape the flowers to a pipe cleaner and put them in a jar or vase. Or try gluing a piece of craft magnet to the back of the flowers and put them on the refrigerator.
For additional flower art projects, click on the following links.
BUTTERFLY ART PROJECTS
Food coloring or Easter egg coloring kit
Cups to hold water and food coloring mix
White coffee filters
Peg style clothespins
Marker or Glue on Wiggle Eyes
1. Create a tie-dye look on the coffee filters by dropping various colors on them with the eyedropper.
2. After the filters dry, pinch the filter in the middle until it looks like butterfly wings, then squeeze the filter into a clothespin (the body) and fan out the filter to make wings.
3. Glue the eyes on the head or draw them on with a marker
4. Add antennas by wrapping a pipe cleaner around the head.
NOTE: Another way to color filters is to draw designs on filters with washable markers then spray colored filter with water. The colors will spread.
Plastic sandwich bags
Easter grass in various colors
1. Stuff one color or a variety of colors of Easter grass into sandwich bag
2. Wrap pipe cleaner around bag to make wings
NOTE: Some other things to stuff bags with are glitter, sequins, torn pieces of colorful paper, gift bag stuffing, and colorful tissue paper torn in pieces.
Crayons or Markers
1. Color designs on paper
2. Fanfold paper
3. Tie about three feet of yarn or string around the middle of the folded paper and fan out the paper to create wings
4. Hang butterfly by the string or hold the string and run in the breeze to make butterfly fly
RAINBOW ART PROJECTS
For rainbow art project ideas click on the following links.