Gus and Tony with Great-grandpa Campbell

When our grandchildren were small, I asked my husband for an unusual gift for my birthday. I saw an instruction kit with simple patterns to teach children to sew, and that was what I wanted.

As each child reached his or her sixth birthday, it was time for them to come to Grandma’s and learn to sew. We started with the shopping trip, for each child had to have their own scissors, pins, and pincushion. Choosing those pins and pincushion was the highlight of the trip, followed by carefully sticking each pin in the fat red cushion after we got home. Then came the first sewing project—a tote bag for holding their equipment and projects. Our grandchildren are adults now, and none of them make their own clothes. But they made many items during those growing-up years and proudly wore their shirts and skirts to school.

One granddaughter told me, “We don’t have to watch TV when we come to your house. You’re the sewing grandma.” She made memories with her other grandmother, too. “She’s the shopping grandma,” she said.

Not all grandchildren and grandparents live close enough to share fun times. But there are other ways to make memories. Record nursery rhymes and riddles for small children so they can hear your voice. I typed in an Internet search for recordable books and found them at Hallmark, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Toys R Us, and other places. You can get stories to read aloud, and you can get some where you will create the story. Perhaps your grandchild’s book will be saved for the next generation, and your great-grandchildren will also hear you reading stories to them.

When I read a recordable book for our great-grandson, my husband read portions of the story, too. Then I put a photo of us in the book so Peyton could make the association of our voices and faces. Who knows? Maybe twenty years from now he will pass the book on to his children, and our great-great-grandchildren will be the ones listening to us read a story.

Another idea is to start a collection of something that interests both of you, and keep in touch about the progress. Phone calls, smart phones with photo and texting capabilities, and social media all provide ways to share and make memories. Whether you see each other often or seldom, going on an excursion together will be stored in your grandchildren’s memories. My husband’s brother and sister-in-law took each grandchild on a camping trip the year the child was ten years-old. You might opt for an afternoon of Christmas shopping or going to a movie or play. The key is to do something enjoyable together.

Make a journal for each grandchild, and they will love reading what you’ve written. As you think of something they have done, or when something reminds you of the child, write a brief entry in that child’s journal. Maybe even develop your own signature (a funny drawing of Grandma and Grandpa, or a special way to write I love you) and use it to sign off each entry. Keep the journals where the children can find them when they come to visit, or take them with you on visits to the far-away grandchildren.