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Sharing and encouraging skills and talents with our grandchildren

Bay Bridge
Bay Bridge
Catherine Al-Meten

Just received a photograph of my granddaughter being taught to weave by one of her great aunts. The look of delight on her face at being able to create a beautiful piece of weaving, reminded me of the wonderful crafts, lore, and traditions we learn from our families. Winter is a time when we spend more time indoors, and when nights are still longer than days. It’s a perfect time to share some of the traditions that have been part of your family’ s past.

Crafts. Who taught you to knit, crochet, or weave? If you know how, someone introduced you to the craft.

Needlework. Consider getting your grandchildren or children a crochet hook or a set of knitting needles and some yarn, and introduce them to how to do some simple stitches. Make a pot holder, or a begin a scarf. Make a loom or get a small, used hand loom, and teach them how to weave. Or get a simple needle point kit, and share the experience of doing a needle point towel or napkin. Make simple clothes for dolls, or table cloths and napkins for tea parties.

Sewing. One of the easiest and most practical skills to learn is how to sew. Teach your grandchildren how to thread a needle, and sew on a button or sew a simple hem. Teach them different types of stitches they can do. Learning to sew teaches a child a simple skill that empowers them to take care of practical tasks. For older children, learning to use a sewing machine to sew straight hems, make curtains for their bedrooms, or make a simple skirt or top for themselves, may be the start of a creative path.

Tye-Dye. The fashions of the 60s are now the rage for little ones. Peace signs, tye dye, and granny dresses are making a comeback. Have fun making some tye-dye t-shirts, skirts, or curtains, or a tye-dye hanging for the bedroom wall. If you have skills related to the fabric arts, share those skills and get your grandchildren’s imaginations and creativity percolating.

Paper Craft.

Origami, collages, and mobiles, all involve using paper for creative crafts. Teach your children how to make origami birds or animals, work on different types of collages, and other mixed-media arts. Make a mobile or totem out of ordinary, but meaningful objects. Papier Mache is fun, especially for decorating for parties.


Start a terrarium using a large glass jar or abandoned fish tank or bowl. Get instructions online if you are unfamiliar with how to make a terrarium.


We may all want our grandchildren and children to be musicians, however, without our encouragement and support, this may not happen. Build in time daily to practice whatever instrument your grandchild is learning. My granddaughter and I meet weekly, online via Skype or Face Time, to play a new piece of music together on our guitars, and to teach each other new songs.

Set Aside Time Daily to Practice.

Doing something every day, for even a few minutes, builds into the habit of practice. Practicing our skills is necessary for us to improve and master anything we do. Setting aside time, even with our busy schedules, helps us live more harmoniously and in balance. While school work is important, it is equally important to spend time at home building up a wealth of experiences that help us become more balanced individuals. If we begin our lives doing ‘fun’ stuff only with the time left over from our obligations, we never do get around to nourishing, developing, and honoring our skills, talents, and passions. Support your grandchildren and children in areas that they are passionate about, and help them learn to make dreams come true through developing the skills, tenacity, and self-discipline needed to develop those talents and passions. These are just some of the skills and crafts you can work with. What other skills and crafts do you have that you can teach your children and grandchildren (woodworking, taking apart and putting back together things, fixing things, drawing, painting, singing, writing stories or poems, photography, and whatever else you can imagine.).

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