COVID-19, Family

Keeping Grandkids Entertained During A Pandemic Summer

Anthony, our grandson, is the joy of my life. His smile, when he comes to visit, brings the sunshine into our home. I know how my own grandmother must have felt when she would sing, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray. You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” After my grandmother passed I found a snow globe that played that very tune, and it always reminds me of her own sunny smiles.

Apparently there was a bit of a debate over who actually gets the credit for writing the song — Jimmie Davis or someone else — but either way it’s a favorite memory of mine. Davis, who ran for governor of Louisiana in 1944, sang the song during his campaign rallies while he rode a horse named Sunshine.

One of the best things, to my way of thinking, about becoming a senior citizen is being a grandparent. We get to see Anthony several times a week in the summer, and pre-pandemic, we would take him on vacations, and to local museums, the aquarium, the bounce house and playgrounds. Our enjoyment was always enhanced by watching him having so much fun.

This summer things are a bit more difficult, to say the least. As I write this, the governor has just ordered us into Phase 2, though we are not quite ready to venture into public amusements. We do have a swimming pool in the backyard, and Tony swims like a little fish, so that entertains him for now. He has great fun soaking Grandma’s hair with his cannonball jump and laughs at me wiping pool water from my eyes. We have purchased some outdoor toys for him as well, such as lawn darts and a kid-friendly archery set. Grandpa and Uncle Mike take him bike riding around the neighborhood. Uncle Mike plays catch with him and has discovered that Tony has quite an arm on him for throwing and catching the ball with the baseball mitt.

We play board games and Tony is learning Monopoly, Taboo and Balderdash, to name a few, and is surprisingly good at them. Grandma is not so good at Monopoly, and brain dead at times with Taboo, where you have to think of words before a timer goes off. Anthony is also quite the Lego Master, and can assemble a Lego set in record time. He has mastered sets with hundreds of pieces, and can design and build some on his own, which to me is amazing for a 9-year-old kid. His mom, the artist in our family, coaches his painting skills, which helps keep him busy as well. Grandma, of course, thinks all his works are masterpieces.

When Grandma knows Anthony is coming for a visit, she gets busy in the kitchen baking cookies or fixing something that he particularly likes to eat. Pasta is one of his favorites, but he will try anything new and has a good appetite for such a string bean kid. He is such an active little boy that he burns off his food as fast as he eats it.

Anthony will still give us hugs, and likes when we hug and kiss him too, so I soak this up, because I know his teenage years are not far off, and then Grandma and Grandpa will not be as important in his life. Especially once he discovers girls. There is a little girl in his class now who apparently has a mini-crush on him, since she follows him around the schoolyard and talks to him. When it’s my turn to pick him up from school she will stand at the gate and yell “Bye, Anthony!” He mumbles a goodbye to her as he walks down the sidewalk to meet me, looking embarrassed.

“What’s the matter, Tony?” I ask. “Don’t you like her?”

He gives me an exasperated glance.

“She’s OK,” he says, “but Grandma, she’s a girl!”

Looking for more summer ideas? Try #CampCaribu! Its the only summer reading program that you can do together with family and friends in an interactive video-call while social distancing. #CampCaribu includes 100 days of activities, featured books, and weekly themed reading categories with challenges and prizes to keep kids on track for the next school year. It’s 100 days of summer reading in your pocket!

You can read the original article at Daily Press.

Jackie Grant, Keeping Grandkids Entertained During A Pandemic Summer, June 21st, 2020,