Hints and Tips

Get Hints & Tips from The BananaNana ShoppeEvery Groovy Grandma has great ideas about fun ways to enjoy time with their grandkids. And, whether you're a beginner or have lots of experience, you are always on the lookout for new ideas and helpful hints.

The BananaNana Shoppe is THE place where you'll find lots of hints, tips and advice...from party ideas...to fun things to do with your grandkids...age appropriate gift ideas...reviews of great new products for you and your grandkids...AND LOTS MORE!

We hope you enjoy reading these fun Hints & Tips.

Click the Share hints button to share hints and tips you've learned in your grandma journey and we'll share them with other Groovy Grandmas!

Fancy Glass Sunday    
When my granddaughter Ashley was about 3 or 4 I started having this "event" (for lack of a better word) that I called "FANCY GLASS SUNDAY." It all started one day when Ashley noticed my wine goblets on my shelf, and other stemware, and she wanted to know what those were for. I started to explain to her that those were used on "special days" and her eyes lit up, and she got this huge smile.

Since I have always told her that she was "so special" to me, she figured out that we should be using those "special glasses." They were all mis-matched, since by that time most of my wedding crystal was over 20 years old and had already lived through my children. So, we got into my dress-up box, pulled out big jewelry pieces and hats, feather boas, and pretend makeup, etc. and began making up the game that has now become known as Fancy Glass Sunday. She would usually spend the night Saturday night and all afternoon on Sunday, we would sit around the table, sip kool-aid from our "fancy glasses" and naturally teacups and saucers and cookies or brownies. She loved it when we would pretend to be movie stars, or pop stars, and princesses of course!

We would make a rule that you had to speak in a British accent all day, or we would have one key word that if anyone would say that word we would either start laughing uncontrollably, or giggle, or sing Yankee Doodle. (It helps that I have a few screws loose to start off with, and she is alot like me.)
--Suzanne G.

Garden Fairies Mailbox    
I love to garden and so I put a mail box down the garden and painted my grandchild's name on the side.  When ever he comes to visit we go down to see what the Garden Fairies have left him.  He receives little items in a special box which he replaces in the mail box for next time.  Several times a year I put a book about the Garden Fairies in the mailbox.  The most wonderful sound is to hear him squeal with delight when he sees the flag in the up position on the mail box-this means a surprise.
--Nendy L.

New Grandparent Gift Idea    
Note from Nana Elizabeth:  Amanda purchased "Grandma's Heart" and "Grandpa's Heart" cards and ask for them to be shipped immediately because she wanted to use them as a way to tell her parents that they were going to be grandparents.  I followed up with her to see how the presentation went and this was her response (and a new idea she said we could share):

"Thank you for getting the cards out to me. I decided to use them for Mother's and Father's Day presents since I could not resist telling them the happy news before the cards arrived. I am having a 3D ultra sound at 20 weeks and having a local framer work on matting the cards and ultrasound photos as gifts for both my Mother and Father!  (Looking forward to purchasing more for Grandpa and Grandma! )"
--Amanda J.

Photo Tradition    
Hey! Thought I'd share a great photo opportunity for grandkids with you!

As each one of my siblings graduated, my youngest brother would always end up in a "serious looking" picture with the grad's cap on. We have a few years of pictures like this.  Finally, it was his turn. So for his graduation, G-Momma and G-Poppa (Mom and Dad) took a picture of the two oldest grand-kids with my brother's grad cap (and another) on.  They also took a picture of the two grand-kids and my brother together. The saying on the frame is "for all grads, small and tall, here's to the present and the future."

The tradition continues. Now anytime there's any kind of graduation and a cap, we continue to take the grandkids pictures with the caps on.

It was great navigating through your pages. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon them, but am glad that I did! I found exactly what I was looking for! Keep up the great pages!   wood!
--Shannon McGouirkTry

Due Date Countdown    
I picked up my a-door-nimal last week. The Bear is adorable!! Even more than in the picture!! I took it to my childbirth class... needless to say, I had to pass it around so everyone could see it. Everyone loved it!! Especially the Moms-to-be. Since everyone at work asks me "when are you due?" every now and then, I now have my a-door-nimal at my office with the "countdown" to my due date.
--Mom-To-Be Claudia W.

Favorite Color Gift    
A grandmother I know told me when her second grandchild was born to the same family, she asked the older child what his favorite color was. He told her "purple," so she made a basket filled with "purple things" and presented it to him when the new baby came.

I thought this was a nice idea and wanted to share it with you.
--Grammy Jane P.

Gift Wrap Idea    
It's so easy now to print pictures from our PC, so try this idea:  make it easy to sort out gifts at Christmas by printing "picture" tags.  Just print your favorite pictures of your grandkids, punch a hole (maybe use a Christmas tree shape) and sign your name on the back.  Tie it to your package or bag and it will be EASY to tell who the gift belongs to!

Photo Idea    
Try this easy trick:  before inserting your pictures into an album, brag bag, coaster or calendar, attach them to your favorite scrapbook sheet cut to fit the photo opening.  Then you don't have to worry about your picture being the exact size of the opening.  You can even stick on cute savings or other decorations -- HAVE FUN!

Cool Stocking Stuffers    

  • Anything to insert a photo into!
  • Homemade gifts from grandkids - we can never have too much artwork on our refrigerators and our offices!
  • Add bright stickers "perfectly" arranged on those pictures for color and flair.

Special Welcome & Activities for Grandkids    
Granny Buena wrote to us asking if we have some ideas to welcome her grandkids to her home.  Here are a few (plus some other special activities to enjoy with grandkids):

  • Fly a Grandma house flag to greet them!
  • Hang an a-door-nimal on their room -- with a personalized message just for them (then pack it in their suitcase to take home with them).
  • Add a stepping stone to your yard that has your grandkids' names on it.
  • Send them a special backpack to make their trip more special.
  • Serve yummy cookies in a fun Grandma Cookie Jar (be sure to write their names on the Cookie Jar with a porcelain pen).
  • Have a tea party with a Grandma tea set.
  • Make chocolate chip cookies with gooey icing -- don't spread the icing...it's much more fun to dip the cookie in the icing (and you get a lot more icing that way).
  • Jump on the bed.
  • Use your exercise ball in a brand new way - anchor the ball against your legs and the couch.  Then let the little ones jump on it.  They love it!

Personalization Idea    
I purchased two Banks and gave them to my grandsons.  I had seen "china" pens, so I went to a craft store to see if they had anything that would write on ceramics and, sure enough, they had porcelain pens that worked great!  I wrote each boy's name on the bank, and their parents LOVED the idea!  By the way, this would work great on any of ceramic products -- maybe write each grandchild's name on a Cookie Jar or the back of a Cookie Plate.  You could add names as needed.
--Nana Ginny

Valentine's Day or any special day!    
Grandchildren love to receive "love letters" as much as we do!  So, send your grandchild a personalized Valentine (or other love note), even if you live close to them.

"We're Pregnant" Announcement    
Chris O wrote to us asking if we have some ideas to deliver the BIG news to parents.  Oh, yes, Chris -- do we ever!  Here are a few ways:

  • Present your parents with any of our great t-shirts and/or caps.
  • Insert your sonogram picture (or a cute baby drawing) into a Grandparents' frame OR grandparent cards (especially the photo cards) OR a brag bag or brag book.
  • Give them an a-door-nimal...there is a great selection...and write a touching message on the heart.

Craft Time    
I'm still trying to get glitter glue off of my kitchen table from last Christmas! I finally got smart and bought an inexpensive white vinyl tablecloth (available almost everywhere) and now my grandkids can color, glue and paint to their hearts' content -- even on the tablecloth. Best part is that you can toss it in the wash with a little bleach and it comes out good as new. And, no more glitter and glue on the wood!
--Grandma Kathy

Suggestions for Activities    
In Dallas (and there are similar activities elsewhere): Children's Museum, Heard Museum, see trains at Children's Medical Center, Imax, different museums at Fair Park,
special parks and playgrounds.   
--Mama Gail

Great Video    
There is a great Sesame Street video about firefighters that my granddaughters love to watch - "Elmo Visits the Firehouse." The first time we watched it, I thought I had made a mistake in selecting the video because it was somewhat scary to my three-year-old granddaughter. In the video, Elmo is at a lunch counter and they hear the smoke alarm. Of course, Elmo is quite frightened. But as the video progresses, Elmo goes to the fire station and gets a wonderful lesson in how to respond to a fire - he also gets to see a firefighter in all their "garb" and told not to be afraid if he sees someone who looks like this. The girls love the video and I think it has provided valuable information for them.   
--Nana Elizabeth

Potty Party    
My granddaughter recently achieved a milestone in her life (and her parent’s life) when she announced that she was ready to throw away her diapers. To celebrate, her parents told her they would take her to Chuck E Cheese Pizza. My husband, PawPaw Paul, dubbed the party a “Potty Party” - and can you guess what our gift was? Big girl panties with Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears on them! Her mother loved these characters when she was little, so the present was both practical and nostalgic!   
--Nana Elizabeth

Cooking for Grandkids    
Both of my grandkids, Sarah and Adam, began cooking at my house when they were about 3. “Cooking” consists of pulling the stepstool up to the spice cabinet and providing a small plastic bowl with a little water, some measuring spoons, and a relaxed attitude. You may want to hide your rare, expensive spices, but the rest is open game. And, help only when asked! Let you budding chef create mustard cayenne oregano soup for Daddy. As they progress, add flour and egg to create cakes and pies with pepper, bouillon and parsley for Mommy….have no mercy for the parents (THIS IS A PAYBACK!). Now my grandkids will try most anything. In fact, Sarah’s favorite part of Christmas is smoked oysters in her stocking from Santa. Go figure?  
--Grandma Kathy

Groovy Grandma Shower
Do you have a friend who is about to become a grandma? Wouldn’t it be fun to throw her a Groovy Grandma shower?! It’s easy. Invite her friends to join you in “showering” her with advice and gifts. Create a Grandmas Know Best advice book for her by asking each guest to write down their best tips on an “Advice Sheet” - then put it in a beautiful binder for the new grandma to cherish—and add some clear sheet protectors for her to keep pictures, articles and other advice she will want to collect & save. You may want to present her with a gift basket filled with all the baby basics, like diapers, tub, baby monitor, baby wash, baby shampoo, and lots more! And, don’t forget to check out some great gift selections at BananaNana.com. HAVE FUN—It’s a great way to celebrate with her as she enters a very special time in her life.
--from BananaNana

Backward Day    
Have a “Backward Day” with your grandkids - dress backwards, say no for yes, everyone sit at a different place at the table, place silverware in opposite places, etc.  wood!
--Mama Gail

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