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goodbye school year, hello summer! GRAND traditions to share with Littles!

Thursday, May 30, 2024


for the many expressions of care

following Laura’s Heart Day” post last week!  

Your thoughts and words meant so much!

This community is a blessing!

Today, we are back to our normal programming!

As many of you know, we love sharing lighthearted content

focused on hands on experiences and real life activities

that we enjoy with our grandchildren (our beloved Littles)!

As retired kindergarten teachers, our thoughts are bubbling over

with fun ideas for the season ahead… 

We are gearing up for lots of SUMMER FUN!

Depending on where you (and your Littles) live,

they may already be out of school for the year.

In our neck of the woods (suburban Minneapolis),

we still have a week to go!

But, before we can move onto summer content,

we have some celebrating to do this week!

The end of a school year is a BIG deal for our Littles!

and, as GRANDS, we want to recognize this special occasion

and add our own extra touch to the festivities!

We’ve rounded up a few meaningful ways to celebrate with Littles!

In our role as a Grand,

letting our Littles know how proud we are of them

and how much they are loved

is the best gift we can give them when celebrating the end of a school year!

Be sure to pay close attention to our Grand Tips for Distant Grands!

You’ll find them throughout this post!

You may have so much fun that the celebration you choose

could become an annual tradition, between Grand and Little!!

What do teachers push more than anything at the end of any school year?

Keep on reading!

Here’s a fun tradition to celebrate the end of the school year with your Little and sneak in a bit of that valuable advice while you are at it!  As summer begins, make a date with your Little and take him/her on a trip to a fun bookstore!  Celebrate the strides he or she has made in reading during the past school year by buying some new books for summer reading..

Help each Little pick out a couple of books that will keep reading exciting during the summer months!  Share titles of some of your own childhood favorites and see if you can interest your Little in choosing one of them.   

Be sure to pick out some books for yourself at the same time, so your Little can see how Important reading is to you as well!  And also, libraries are a wonderful way to find more books for your Littles as well!

We can’t think of a more relaxing or memorable way 

to spend an early summer afternoon or evening with your favorite Little(s)!

After your visit to the bookstore, take your Little out for a special treat 

- ice cream, cookies, or lemonade - 

and talk about the school year!. 

Questions to ask your Little may include… 

What will you miss most about school?

Is there something you’ll be happy to leave behind?

Did you make some new friends this year?

What was the best thing about your teacher?


Write a message to your Little inside the front cover of each new book.  Date and sign the message, too!  Then, in the days that follow, be sure to check in with your Little to see how he/she is enjoying the new books!

A Grand Tip for Distant Grands!

If you are a distant Grand, you can send your Littles a gift card for a bookstore.  

Consider buying the same book as your older Little and read it at the same time! 

That way you can discuss the book when you two are talking on the phone!

If you are a distant Grand who has younger Littles, 

pick out some books for yourself to keep at home 

and read these out loud together over FaceTime.  

Ask your Little(s) what their favorite picture book 

from the school year was, and reread that.  


start a chapter book and read a chapter a night together over FaceTime!.

So many options to connect over a good book!

Another great tradition to celebrate the end of a school year

or to kick off the start to summer

is with a seasonal memento to commemorate this event!

A basket of summer goodies, created by you, would be a perfect gift!

Of course, it’s up to you… 

you decide what to include in your own Little’s basket of summer essentials!

While Little L is not in school yet, Laura looks forward to occasional visits from Little L and family - including Baby P now, too!  She had a great time at the dollar store choosing a few fun essentials to keep at Bacco & Grandpa’s house (or at the lake) for these summertime visits!  Laura allowed herself to spend $10 and came away with a basket filled with… summer fun!  She found bubbles, a bug collecting kit, a pair of sunglasses, stickers, a quirky water bottle and a card game! 

Laura scrounged around her house and found a pack of sidewalk chalk to add to the basket, too.  And, of course, you didn’t think she’d forget to include a book, did you???  😉  Sloppy Kisses by Elizabeth Winthrop is a delight and a family favorite!   

All in all….

a wonderful collection of… you guessed it, summer fun!


You could choose one summer item to give your Little each year to signify the end of another school year and/or the beginning of summer!  For example, start the tradition of giving your Little a new pair of flip flops, a new beach towel or a new pair of goggles each year!  Your Little will come to cherish this tradition as much as you do!


How about a Silly String fight with your Littles?  What a fun tradition it would be to host your family’s Annual Silly String Challenge, especially if you have active Littles or Littles of varying ages!  Simply provide a different colored can of Silly String for each Grand and Little (and, of course, you can include mom and dad in the fun, too).  Set a few ground rules (aim for shoulders and below is one) and then… get ready, get set, and… go!  When your grandkids are little, simply have fun chasing each other and aim away!  As your Littles get older, add a few challenges when playing with Silly String. like Hit the Flying Target or play a game of Silly String tag! 

NOTE:  Young Littles (toddlers and preschoolers) may not have the small muscle strength yet to push down on the button to release the string.  Just be mindful of this and adapt, as needed!

A Grand Tip for Distant Grands!

Why not send a care package filled with summer fun!

The first two options described above, work well for distant Grands!

You could even throw in a can of Silly String for extra excitement!

Wrap up and mail your gift to your Little

(be sure to include that special note)!

When the package arrives, FaceTime with your Little as he/she opens it!

You’ll find yourselves reminiscing each year….

Summer Fun memories are some of the best!

Shhh!  Don’t tell our Littles or their parents, but this is a tradition we may start

with our own grandkids when they head off to school!

Between the two of us, Laurie is the avid scrapbooker

and she has beautiful keepsakes to prove it!

Meanwhile, when Laura’s daughters were infants,

she created a photo album for each of them..

The one below is her Daughter A's book, circa the early 2000's!

Laura added a new photo every three months for the first few years

and then annually after that.

On the back of each photo, she’d write a letter to each daughter,

filled with special memories as well as hopes and dreams for the future!

As we look to revamping these projects into a new tradition with our grandchildren, we imagine creating a scrapbook - handmade or digital - with an entry added annually, at the end of each school year!  

Your "scrapbook" could be as simple as the photo album described above OR you could add extra details and pages each year! Some things to include in this annual entry might be a school photo from that year as well as a letter you’ve written to your Little, filled with ways your Little has grown during the school year and reasons why you are proud of him/her!  (You could also use a recital or sport photo instead of the school portrait.)  Don’t forget to label and date your message and be sure to include important moments or special accomplishments - big or small!  If you decide to take things a step further, include an interview of your Little each year.  Ask questions about the past school year or about plans for the summer ahead - a "Bucket List" for the months ahead!  As you interview, you could also ask the same basic questions from year to year such as What’s your favorite color? or What’s your favorite food?  Your Little will look forward to revisiting the past with you as he/she compares answers from year to year and looks at this growing treasure! 


When your Little begins kindergarten, buy a “Class of 20__” T-shirt in an adult size.  Here’s the option Laura chose for a special Little in her life - her grand nephew who started kindergarten this past year and will graduate in 2036!   She can’t wait to give it to him when they get together next week! 

Each year, either on the first or last day of school, take a photo of your Little in his/her T-shirt.  With one initial investment, this memento will have a lasting impact! Just imagine what a great collage all these photos will make at your Little’s graduation party some day!

A Grand Tip for Distant Grands!

Either of these versions of this tradition can be accomplished from afar!

You may need a bit of help in taking any necessary photos

but all the rest can be done virtually!


While all of these ideas are great options to celebrate this special time of year

with your Littles

each also requires preparation and expense which may not always be possible!

The reality is that TIME shared with your Little,

in person or virtually,

is the very best way to show your love!

Take the TIME to listen to your Littles as they share highlights from the school year

and tell your Littles how much they mean to you

and how proud you are of them…

The investment of TIME spent togther is the very best tradition of all!

Whether near or far, in-person or virtual,

there are memorable ways to share 

the end of a school year or the beginning of summer 

with the Littles in your life!

We are guessing that some of you may have your own traditions!

If so, we’d LOVE it if you’d share your ideas at the end of this post!

After all, both of us are a few years away from the school years with our own Littles

so your ideas may provide a spark for our future tradition!


We plan to be back early next week 

with a preview of our upcoming summer schedule of posts!

Get ready for us to share 3 easy and simple activities each week,

that you can then share with your Littles!

The activities we share weekly will focus on a different theme.

 While we plan to post each Thursday this summer (June - mid August),

don’t be surprised if we pop up on an occasional Monday

(beginning next week)

with A SUMMER FAVE or two!

We hope you’ll join us for this summer’s GRAND adventure!

Be sure to subscribe to our blog, if you want to know our latest and greatest!

We’ll also continue to post new content on Instagram and Facebook

so be sure to follow us there!

You can find lots of resources (including last year’s themes)

 on our Pinterest page…

we’ve got quite a collection of ideas there!

We’ll be back soon!


Tuesdays with a Twist from God's Growing Garden

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Paula Short
Paula Short
Jun 20

L&L this is awesome!!! You guys have the best ideas. I did hear about the tee short idea, unfortunately it wasn't until my girls were completely out of school.

Thanks' bunches for sharing Goodbye School Year Hello Summer with Sweet Tea & Friend's.

Our Grand Lives
Jun 27
Replying to

Thanks, Paula! We're embracing this summer season! Hope you are having a great one, too! - 💕 Laura


Jun 07

These traditions we make with our littles are memories that will spring back up and put a smile on their (or your!) face, years from now. Always time well spent! Thanks for such heartfelt posts full of good ideas! Melynda @scratchmadefood!

Our Grand Lives
Jun 10
Replying to

Thank you, Melynda, for your kind words and for your support! We couldn't agree more! 💕 Laura


Jun 04

I've been meaning to make a memory book for each of my grands. Thanks for the push!

Our Grand Lives
Jun 05
Replying to

I (Laura) need that push, too! My blogging partner (Laurie) is, undoubtedly, on it! One of the many reasons I love blogging with her! Thanks so much for stopping by! 💕 Laura


Jun 04

I love how intentional your questions and gifts are! What a precious relationship you have with your grandkids. I am sure they treasure time with you! I love seeing my MIL read with my kids, so that will be fun for them to do in a few weeks during "Nana Week" when she visits! Elena

Our Grand Lives
Jun 05
Replying to

"Nana Week" sounds like something we would love! We do cherish our time with our Littles as we're sure your MIL does, too! Thanks so much for your kind comment and for taking the time to stop by! 💕 Laura


Jun 04

These ideas are wonderful! I love the summer basket idea. I did something similar when my girls were little. We filled it with chalk, a few summer coloring books, bubbles, a light-up jump rope, and a few water play items. It was so much fun. You all share great ideas all the time, and I'm so happy that you share with us over at The Crazy Little Lovebirds link party. Thank you for sharing at Party #40.


Our Grand Lives
Jun 05
Replying to

Thank you, Steph! We love participating in the Crazy Little Lovebirds link party! Thanks for sharing your summer idea... the jump rope and the summer coloring book would be wonderful additions! 💕 Laura

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