Things to Teach Your Grandchildren

We found a list of 100 things to teach our grandchildren on the Internet yesterday.  Since we will be visiting them in a few weeks, I figured I should review the list and see how I could  do as a sharing grandpa.

The original is here. My comments are in bold.

1.Whistle. This simple skill tops the wish list for preschoolers everywhere. If your grandchildren already know how to whistle, teach them to use their fingers to make it extra-loud.  Nope.  I’m not a very good whistler.

2. Spread icing on a cake. Show them how to spread icing smoothly on all sides to make it look just so. Get creative and pipe on some decorations, too. Don’t forget to lick your fingers — and the bowl!  This one I can do–if I don’t first eat the frosting.

3. Dive. It’s the coolest way to enter the pool. Help your grandchildren learn to use the proper technique and hit the water straight as an arrow. But remind them that diving is only for the deep end!  I could do this one.

4. Grow a plant from seed. Slam dunk.

5. Shoot a basketball like their idols. By middle school, many young cagers are ready and eager to shoot one-handed like their favorite players.  Nope.

6. Tie a necktie. Grandsons will feel grown-up when they ditch clip-on ties for the real thing. Watch them practice and give pointers. Older kids likely don’t know how to tie a real bow tie, a lost art and a classy touch — and one you’ll teach them.  I have several methods under my belt–or should I say around my neck.  My grandma actually taught me how to tie a tie.  I needed it for a Cub Scout requirement.

7. Paint fingernails and toenails. I don’t think so.

8. Write a thank-you note. This is a skill your grandchildren can use for the rest of their lives. The simple appreciative gesture is fading fast.  I can handle this one.  And I agree–a very good habit to have.

9. Discover the wonders of the local library. Show your grandchildren all the amazing free things the library has to offer. Search on the computer for books they love and teach them how to use call numbers to locate them.  I love the library–have since as long as I can remember.  And the grandkids already have the library habit.

10. Jump rope. Young children love the simple joy of mastering this healthy activity. Teach older children how to jump double-dutch.  I never mastered this one.  I had lousy coordination and balance when I was a kid, so rope jumping wasn’t my thing.

11. Make water defy gravity. Young grandchildren will be amazed by the simple trick of holding water in a straw by placing your thumb over the top. Or keeping water in any upside down cup.

12. Identify a bird by its features and call. I only know a few.

13. Make a bird feeder. Whether or not you are a carpentry whiz who can make one of the little wooden houses or a bird lover who uses a plastic bottle, bird crafts are fun and educational.  That would be a fun one.

14. Shuffle cards the cool way. Every kid wants to learn the riffle shuffle.  That was my grandma’s thing, not mine.

15. Hit a baseball. If your grandchildren play T-ball, softball, or Little League, the fundamentals of hitting are the same. Watch their self-esteem grow with each base hit!  Only a semi-skill for me.

16. Blow on a dandelion and make a wish. I love spreading dandelions to the neighbor’s lawn.  I never have considered dandelions weeds.  I like them.

17. Swim all the strokes. Teach them the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and how to breathe as they swim freestyle.  Once upon a time, I was a certified swim instructor.

18. Hold their breath for a long time. Kids love to see how long they can stay underwater. Show them how to breathe quickly to expand their lungs for maximum oxygen.   A good skill to have.

19. Ride a two-wheel bicycle. This way they can have life-long memories connecting skinned knees with their grandpa.

20. Putt a golf ball. Whether your family is made up of Arnold Palmers or of mini-golf lovers, teach them the art of the pure stroke.   Golf isn’t, and never will be, my thing.

21. Tie their own shoelaces. Knots are a specialty of mine.

22. Do push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and other exercises. Make healthy physical exertion fun. The younger kids start, the better.  Fun?  Yep, when I think of sit-ups, I think FUN.

23. Discover the world from home. Explain what a globe is, then spin it. Have your grandchildren stop it with their finger, and tell them about the country they landed on, including time, climate, and cultural specifics.  I love maps and globes and all things geographic.  This one I can do well.

24. Make a hat out of newspaper. I never learned this one.

25. Set the table. Get out your fine china and show them what a full place setting looks like, complete with all the accoutrements, and teach them how to elegantly fold a napkin, too.  Yes, I do know how to set a table.  I don’t know how well I do the “accoutrements” though.

26. Use good table manners. Teach your grandchildren what each piece of silverware is for and how to use it politely. Make this fun with a tea party (real or imaginary).  Julie-note:  No belching allowed.

27. Shake hands firmly. Then hope they aren’t sent to France as missionaries.

28. Eat with chopsticks. I learned this skill in eighth grade science.

29. Play with the garden hose. Show them how to use their thumbs to make the hose spray a wide arc or squirt a focused stream. I think they have this one down already.  Watch out, Grandma!

30. Practice photography. For grandchildren, who don’t often get a chance to play with a real camera, share yours with them and point out which techniques make for good photosJacob is well on the way.

31. Shop for a discount. Show your grandchildren how to get more for less, whether you are buying fancy new shoes or just your weekly groceries.  I’ll leave this one for Grandma.

32. Snap their fingers. Sure, why not.
This list is getting too long.  I’ll edit it down, but please check the entire list at the link above.

34. Use all those tools in the garage. Your grandkids may have no idea what the tools are for. Let them help you with a simple home-improvement project. The best way to learn is hands-on, after all. I can do this one, but they will have to wait until I clean out the garage.

35. Tell time on an analog clock with hour-and-minute hands.Believe it or not, there are a lot of kids out there, including Grandma’s sixth graders, who can’t read an analog clock.

38. The basic movements of each piece on a chess board. I know the basics, but I don’t know chess very deeply.

39. Tell a good ghost story. I don’t like the scary ones.

40. Speak another language. Teach them all the different ways to say buenos dias and au revoir. After that, start them on colors and counting. I will need to get the dust off my French, but I can handle this one.

41. Throw a Frisbee. It’s all in the wrist. Once they get down the basic backhand toss, there are other cool throws like the forehand and the hammer. Later, teach them how to play Frisbee golfSure, this one would be fun.

48. Make an ice cream soda. I specialize it eating them

49. Share basics of sailing. Impart the special vocabulary (aft, starboard, come about), explain how a boat harnesses the wind, and let their imaginations run wild with thoughts of nautical adventure.  Nope, not me.  I’ve never been sailing.

51. Fold origami shapes. I can do a crane.  Another eighth-grade science skill.

53. Drive a car. Increase what the kids learn in drivers’ ed, take them to an empty parking lot and let them show their stuff. If you can teach them how to drive a stick shift, so much the better.  I think I’ll leave this one to their parents.

56. Tie different kinds of knots. If you’re a former sailor, eagle scout, or boy scout pass on your knowledge. Teach them how to tie a slipknot, a butterfly knot, or a figure eight.   A specialty of mine.

60. Bait a hook. When fishing with the grandkids, teach them how to bait a hook themselves.  I’m not a bait fisherman, but I do enjoy fishing.  This one I could do.

61. Braid a friend’s hair. Another one for Grandma.

62. Use a compass to find the way. Yep, and don’t forget the map.

63. Identify constellations in the night sky. I once knew quite a few.  After a quick review, I’m up for this one.

68. Build a campfire. And do s’mores.

69. Make a fire without matches or a lighter. Where’s the flint and steel.

70. Play a musical instrument. Teach them the basics of your favorite instrument and see if they take to it.   I know how to play the radio.

71. Wash the car. This is one of life’s great activities for kids: They learn how to wash a car, you both get all wet and have fun outside, and you get a clean car out of the deal!  See #29.

72. Read music. Teach your future Mozarts the basics of how to read notes and measure time.

79. Show the steps to your favorite dance. If you are not exactly Fred Astaire, teach them something silly like the Hokey Pokey or the Chicken Dance!  This one is best left to their aunt and uncle.

82. Cook eggs. There are a number of fun and easy tricks that grandkids can learn: crack the shell on the counter, separate the yolk from the white, make an omelet and fold it.   How about a Five-Fifty Special.

83. Make a star with a rubber band. I have no idea what this skill could be.

84. Catch fireflies. Catching these enchanting little creatures is one of those magical childhood memories that the grandkids should not miss. No fireflies in our states.

85. Walk along the curb like it’s a balance beam. And pretend you are 100 feet above a roaring river.

91. Shoot a rubber band across the room. Don’t you know you can put your eye out doing this!

95. Fly a kite. Show your grandchildren how to run it out, give it slack, pull it taut, and manage the spool.   I do enjoy kites.

97. Play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Kids love the simplicity of this game and will use it to settle almost any dispute.  I heard that I judge made a divorcing couple settle their property distribution this way.

98. Skip a rock across calm waters. How many skips can you do?

100. Make guacamole. This delicious dip involves a little bit of seasoning and a lot of messy squishing. Let them use their hands (washed, of course).  Where are the chips?


One Response to “Things to Teach Your Grandchildren”

  1. CALIFORNIA GIRL :o) Says:

    This is quite a list! #84 would be great in our backyard. We have TONS of them at night. If you stand in the guest room window upstairs with the lights off it is like a light show–SO cool!!!!!!!!

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