I long to spend time with my grandkids, to hug them and cover them in sloppy kisses they wipe off with the back of their sleeves. But right now, keeping everyone safe is my priority. So, how do you stay connected?
Our family has taken "Camp Nanabanana" online. If you have read my previous posts, we use the video conferencing tool known as "Zoom" to talk and do projects. Zoom is also a great way to keep in touch with your grandchildren if you do not live close to them. In today's mobile society, this is unfortunately the case for many grandparents.
As a kid, my favorite cartoon was the "The Jetsons". The Jetson's had a video telephone which was an amazing imagination feat in the 1960's when we were all still tied to landlines. In fact, landline wasn't a term. We just called it the telephone. Zoom is simply the Jetson's telephone made possible in my lifetime. And during a pandemic, what a lifeline it is.
I set a specific time to meet online with all my grandkids via Zoom. It takes some pre-planning to come up with simple enough projects and make sure each grandchild has all the ingredients. I ask the parents to provide some of the ingredients and I doorstep drop other necessary items off at each child's house. If your grandkids live at a distance, it will take even a little more pre-planning to get the project materials to the kids. I suggest using Amazon and simply having the material delivered directly to their homes or go old school and mail them.
For this online version of Camp Nanabanana, I decided we would start by making a simple snack together.
I chose "Puppy Chow" but you can make it's equally good cousin, "Muddy Buddies".
One recipe I have saved for over thirty years is the first recipe my daughter, Andrea, wrote out when she was around six. I remember how proud she was to make this simple dessert. And from the tattered looks of it, we made it frequently.
For Muddy Buddies, you can find the recipe on the back of a box of Chex cereal, which is one of the main ingredients or in the slideshow above.
Both recipes are so sweet you feel yourself getting a cavity just staring in the bowl.
One thing we have discovered as a family is about any cereal will work in this recipe. I used Life cereal. My daughter used Cinnamon Toast Crunch and said she is never, ever going back. Next time, I am considering using Cap'n Crunch, my very favorite cereal which was born the same year as me in 1963. I love a man in uniform, especially Horatio Magellan Crunch of the S.S. Guppy. And yes, that is his real name according to Pepsico.
I simply stepped the kids though the recipe on Zoom. Pour a package of chocolate chips in a bowl along with a stick of butter and half a cup of peanut butter. Melt in the microwave and stir until smoothly combined. Pour over a box of cereal. Pour in a cup (or desired amount) of powered sugar and mix. Or place the mixture into a paper bag and shake until the cereal is fully coated. Smaller children may need a parents assistance but anyone over age six (since that is the age my daughter made her first batch) can probably make this very easy recipe with a grandparents online tutelage. I can not vouch for the state their parents kitchen upon completion.
It took us no more than 15 minutes to mix up our Dog Chow/Muddy Buddies.
Once we had our snack, we were ready to start on our easy craft project, terrariums.
First, each child will need a jar. Wide mouth Mason jars with lids work great. But really, any jar with a lid does just fine. I am a huge fan of recycling and save lots of jars for future Camp Nanabanana projects.
I delivered my "kits" to the kids with potting mix already placed in the jar.
I actually ordered my succulents online. I have never bought live plants online and was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the little plants. Each child received a small, live plant and I instructed them how to dig a small hole with a long handled wooden spoon and then they lowered the plant inside, gently planting it.
I had included baggies with a few small items to use to decorate the jars. Some I had on hand, others I ordered. I had plenty of shiny tumbled rocks from when we had performed rock tumbling in the summer. I also had a few small birds, tiny baskets, ribbons, fake flowers, washi craft tape and the like. Some of the kids had small items of their own that they ran to include.
I have placed links to some products listed on Amazon which are very similar to what we used in our project. I may earn a small commission if you click on the link and make a purchase through Amazon. You probably have some of the items on hand or your grandkids may have miniatures they would like to include. If not, try these products.
I wrapped my jar with a little washi tape and a ribbon. I, along with all the grandkids, were quite pleased with our finished products. I heard a lot of discussion as to where best to place their finished creations. Bedroom windows being the standard choice.
Making the terrariums took less than half an hour. I try to keep my online Camp Nanabanana to an hour or less because I find it hard to hold kids attention for much longer. It is a great way to do something together, make a memory and get them talking.
If you enjoyed this project, please consider purchasing my e-book, "Camp Nanabanana: A Grandma's Guide to Inexpensive, Fun Projects" found on my home page at www.campnanabanana.com/
As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know how your project turned out and what projects you recommend. Us Grandma's got to stick together!