Creative ideas abound for Christmas fun with grandchildren


Lou Ann Hawes and her granddaughter Reagan Hawes, 12, fill bags of Thanksgiving food supplies at the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren of Brevard headquarters in Rockledge. The two spend their Christmas holiday doing charity work.

Senior Life photo

Once you and your grandchildren have enjoyed all the holiday events listed elsewhere in this issue, how can you make more Hallmark memories?

“It’s hard to get them to put down their cell phones and tablets. It’s important to get them active,” said Palm Bay grandma Edith McEntaggart.

Brevard grandparents suggest thinking green and being charitable. Lou Ann Hawes and granddaughter Reagan Hawes, 12, will continue their volunteer service for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (GRG), Salvation Army and Brevard Family Partnership.

“For several years, giving back has been the center of what we do. We cook and bake and serve and my husband Jonathan dresses as Santa.”

Reagan, the youngest of Lou Ann’s 16 grandchildren, is gathering books to give away at a GRG Santa breakfast to earn a Girl Scouts Silver Award. She plans to help cook and serve a waffle bar breakfast with Santa for foster children. And for the fifth year, the Hawes hope to serve Christmas community dinner at Salvation Army.

“Whenever we volunteer together, we find time to talk. I love baking and doing crafts with her (Lou Ann),” Reagan said.

Hal Solinger of Palm Bay, a Master Gardener, will surprise his three great-grandchildren with a kid-sized garden where they can plant seeds.

“And they can harvest my three watermelons and see their development,” he said.

Susan Howard of Malabar likes to grow seeds with her grandchildren.

“Just put micro greens on a wet paper towel and the roots will grow quickly,” she said.

Her friend Dawn Cermak suggested creating live art by planting seeds with a damp paintbrush onto a paper plate with soil. “They think it’s cool when the dogs get fur, and it only takes a week or two.”

Karen and Frank Turner of Rockledge have six grandchildren ages 5 to 25, and the former preschool teacher and husband plan to bake cookies and make tree ornaments with them.

“Mostly, we try to stay away from the stores,” Karen said.  Frank’s the one to play with Legos and magnetic blocks. “They stick together, and then you can take them apart and start again.”