29 July 2010

how-to make an oma kit

by (my mom!) marty halverson of travelinoma.blogspot.com

my mom is a grandmother to twenty grandkids and has perfected her profession. she is always prepared with a little game, a story, an activity, a craft or a silly song to keep the kiddos busy. she even keeps an oma kit in her car, just in case. whenever
Oma arrives, the kids squeal and run to see what she has brought with her in her famous kit!

"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do.
Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children."
—Alex Haley

Today I took the Clothesline Kit and told the little girls about visiting my grandma. "When I was a little girl she didn't have a dryer. She carried the clean wet clothes outside in a wicker basket, her apron pockets stuffed with clothespins. I can remember the clean smell as the wind whipped the damp sheets like billowing sails." 

They listened to my stories while they pinched the clothespins and fastened calico fabric pieces on the line we'd strung between the dining room chairs.

They always ask if I've brought the 
Oma Kits: baggies of prepared activities I carry in a rubbermaid box when I come to babysit.  Here are some of their favorites:

~ Button Kit: Buttons of all kinds—coins, jewels, hearts, balloons, animals, faces. We sort them, count them, hide them, make up stories about them, twirl them on thread, and even practice sewing them. I have a spool of thread, a few needles, some swatches of fabric, and a pair of kid scissors in the baggie, plus a thimble, which can be used for Hide the Thimble later.

~ Memory Kit: Several small objects (comb, spoon, ribbon, etc.) We spread these on the table and 
It hides her eyes while someone removes one of the objects. Then It looks at the display and guesses what is missing.

~Felt Paperdoll Kit: A bunch of felt pieces I cut into shapes. We play with them on the floor.

~Magnet Kit: Random fridge magnets I've collected—people, a dragon, a cuckoo clock, a violin, flowers, etc. We sit on the kitchen floor and take turns making up stories with the refrigerator as the stage.

~Finger Puppet Kit: They put on a show from behind the couch.

~Game Kit: A typed list to remind me of songs, finger plays and games that don't require anything (I Spy; Hokey Pokey; clapping rhymes; Twenty Questions; Going on a Bear Hunt; Duck, Duck Goose; Gossip; Who Stole the Cookies, etc.) Plus, there's a bandanna for a blindfold, dice, a spinner, pennies, string for Cat's Cradle, Old Maid, little golf pencils, pad of paper, marbles, jacks, Pick Up Sticks, pipe cleaners to bend into shapes, and some little wooden tops.

To assemble the kits, I made a list of activities and the stuff I'd need. I assembled what I had and made a list of what to buy. After a trip to a toy-store and a craft store, I put the individual kits in baggies, in a box which I keep in my car. It took some time, but not much money, and I'm ready for an Oma day anytime with no effort at all.

Make some for the grandkids (or grandmothers) in your life!

add to marta's collection :: the how-to series was created to encourage confidence in creativity. to focus on what we can do rather than what we can't. i am excited to showcase your talents and unique ideas. if you have a specialty (and i know you do), please submit your how-to guest post by emailing me. marta{at}martawrites{dot}com. i will be delighted to feature your how-to.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden


Monika Wright | I Love It All said...

My Mom is Oma, too! And we have a Nana! One day each week, these special ladies watch and play and love my kids, giving me a days off for just me. What I've learned from hearing about their activities at the grands' houses? They love playing with old jewelry, having tea parties, playing dress up with dolls, going on nature hikes...all free stuff. Travelin' Oma...I'm going to share your ideas with them for those days when they need something new to spark their interest!

Hil said...

I am going to have to forward this on to my mom.. such a cute idea!

Benji is lucky to have such a fun, creative Oma. Now we know where Marta gets it from.

A'n'G Johnson said...

What a wonderful Oma! I will have to pass this on to my kiddos' Nana, she will be pleased with the idea!

Angie said...

Love, love, love this idea!! Thank you so much for sharing!

sunny said...

Thank you!!! I'm going to adapt this into an Auntie Kit.... I live 90 minutes from most of my nieces and nephews, their parents and my mom. So I'm the one who sweeps into town to do and bring fun stuff! These kits will make me more popular than ever with the kids!

Buttons: My grandmother had these when I was younger, and I had so much fun playing with them. Now I can pass the idea along to my five year old niece and we'll have tons of fun!

oneordinaryday said...

Oh my gosh! Every one is a wonderful idea!!!!!

hchybinski said...

what a cute idea - this would work great for babysitter too - imagine if yours showed up with a little bag/kit of special, never before seen goodies. . .


Hannah said...

ooh, i love this. such a cute oma.

Anonymous said...

Great post! I just love this series, Marta. Would you ever consider doing a how-to on making a watermark for blog photos? Just a thought - I love the subtlety of your watermarks and would love to learn how to do it. Thanks!

Cindy said...

Great ideas! I am Nana---all 10 of my grandkids live out of state. They will be here this month, we will have fun. Love the clothes line idea, my 4 year old granddaughter would 'hang clothes' for hours.

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