crafting with kids

Story Blocks

My Grammy…my dads mom, was a wonderful grandmother. She lived in a tiny town in the middle of the high desert of Nevada. Luning NV had a post office (where my grandmother worked) and two bars. There were rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions…a strange and sometimes scary place full of adventure.

Grammy was fun, sometimes a bit crude and, what I remember most about her, a great story teller. She would mesmerize us with her stories. Our favorites were the ones that would scare the bejesus out of us.

My husband, John and I, stopped in Luning during a trip to Death Valley several years ago. I wanted to find her house and see the changes to the small town. It took a bit of effort, and a call to my sister to narrow it down, but we finally did find it. Like most of the town, it was abandoned. The stone wall my Papa built from the desert rocks was still mostly intact. I am a rock collector like he was, so I beat a few choice stones from the wall to take home. When we walked around the house, we noticed the door was open – so not only did I vandalize the rock wall…we trespassed 🙄. There were signs visible that it was being used by the homeless as a place to sleep and get out of the weather. The ceiling was collapsed in the living room and the house had been picked clean of most hardware. Despite all of that, when I stood in the middle of her family room, where we spent most of the time with her, I was overcome with a flood of emotion and memories. I cried. My memory was so vivid of gathering around her while she scared us to death with her stories of ghosts and haunted graveyards.

I loved her and treasured all of the time I had with her. I want to be that Grammy for my grandchildren. I want my home to be a place where their imaginations are sparked and they build memories that last until they are 60! I also want to be a story teller. I don’t think it comes to me as naturally as it did to her, but I am sure it can be learned.

This is the inspiration for October’s Date to Create….Tell Me a Story.

I loved the idea of Story Stones after seeing several examples on Pintrest. The idea is to paint objects, places, people on small stones, then put them in a bag to draw out randomly. You then tell a story based on the pictures you choose. Not only could this be very interactive, it also promotes creative thinking and imagination. I thought it may be fun to use blocks instead of stones….Tumbling them out of a can and then telling a story based on the pictures facing up. I purchased some wooden blocks and decided to paint them myself. I just couldn’t seem to keep it simple. Each 1.5” side had to be a perfect little work of art. I tried to keep a theme for each block, i.e. weather, location, transportation, structures, villains, etc… I have 10 blocks in all (so 60 little paintings). Now that they are almost complete, I am going to practice….practice….practice. Maybe I will be able to story tell like my Grammy 😍. I also can’t wait to see the stories that Helen and Margo come up with on their turn. I know when they take them home, their dad is going to make them come alive. I think he inherited that story telling gene from my grandmother.

Galaxy Day!

The Date to Create for May was Galaxy Day. The granddaughters, Margo and Helen, made Galaxy Slime, rode in a flying saucer, ate Galaxy popsicles and MilkyWays….and ended the day with painting and making planets from styrofoam balls and old cds. So much Glitter!

We started the day with the flying saucer on the swing, but it proved to be much more fun on top of the little car.

This was an amazing day. The big hit – definitely the Galaxy slime. It started as four different colors swirled together, but by the end of the day was deep purple and lots of stars and glitter. Still beautiful! They played with this stuff for literally hours. I did learn that the glitter does not necessarily stay in the slim. It was turning up everywhere!

We used glow in the dark paint to accents on their cd planets. The girls had to run into the closet and shut the door to check their painting every minute or so. The last project of the day was doing a galaxy painting. They both had a different take on it, but two beautiful, creative paintings!

Weather Day

I had my April Date to Create with Helen and Margo on Saturday. It was a day exploring about weather. And a great day it was! We had real Spring weather to get outside and enjoy.

We made weather wheels that could be turned each day to reflect what the outside day was showing. I gave them the option of drawing the different pictures for them or they could do it themselves and/or copy mine. They had their own ideas about what rainy, sunny, windy, snowy and cloudy looked like. For Margo, that meant pink rain, pink snow and a rainbow sun.

I lucked out with a breezy day, so we were able to go out in the field to fly kites. When Grammy was tired of running from kite to kite to help keep them in the air, we moved to the garden. Helen enjoyed digging up worms (in her dress, of course). She wouldn’t touch them, but Margo sure would…and would have taken them all home if I had let her. I explained that I needed them in the garden, so she created new homes for them in the soil, then watered them. She did manage to capture a Rolly Polly bug, named it Daisy, and put it in a container with dried leaves. Lucky for Mom and Dad, it was left at my house for me to bugsit.

When we were inside that had fun playing with the doll house. Helen decided to have an Easter Egg Hunt for the dolls. She took the eggs from the hen’s nests and hid them throughout the house for them to find.

We had a wonderful time! In May, we will enjoy exploring the universe in a flying saucer! Can’t wait!