Twenty Ways to Be an Amazing Grandfather



by Giovanni Livera and Ken Preuss

1. Convert yourself into an antigravity machine

Hold your grandchild securely by the waist so she can bounce like an astronaut. Support her as she walks up the walls and across the ceiling


2. Become the “Granddaddy Mummy” during your next beach trip

Lie flat on your back with your arms folded across your chest. Close your eyes, keep perfectly still, and let your grandkids pile sand over your body. When you are nearly covered, surprise the kids by awakening suddenly in your tomb. Rise from the earth and chase them around “mummy” style.


3. Construct an autumn leaf-pile lodge

Reward your grandkids for raking up leaves by converting the pile into a private hideaway with the help of a single large box. Cut a wide three-sided flap, then prop the flap up with some sticks. Let it serve as both a front door and an awning. Pile leaves and debris around the box until the entire structure is covered. When the fun ends, push everything into the box and cart it off to the trash.


4. Create a picture in a picture in a picture

Create an amazing photographic image of your grandkid holding a picture of himself holding a picture of himself holding a picture of himself holding a picture. Take picture #1: A close-up of your grandson. Develop it. Take picture #2: A close-up of your grandson holding picture #1. Develop it. Take picture #3: A close-up of your grandson holding picture #2. Develop it. Follow the pattern until you run out of patience (or film).


5. Order a customized birthday pizza

Next time you order pizza for your grandkid’s birthday party, ask the chef to place the pepperonis in the shape of your grandchild’s age.


6. Make a “crazy challenge” list for your next family vacation

Create a list of five to ten crazy challenges that you and your grandchild must accomplish before reaching your destination. For example:

·       We must each try one new soft drink and one new candy bar.

·       We must visit a place with a sign that says World’s Best, World’s Biggest or World’s Only.

·       We must stand in a spot where our feet touch two different states.


7. Washing the car? Set up a squirting gallery

Set a few sponges at strategic points atop the car. Stand a few feet back, squeeze the handle of the hose, and see who can squirt them down in the fastest time. For additional fun, have the grandkids put on swimming goggles so they can play defense. Let them run back and forth in front of the targets trying to distract the squirter and deflect the water.


8. Make a coin magically (and comically) appear

Conceal a coin in your fist. Turn your hand palm down and playfully pinch your grandchild’s nose between your thumb and index finger. Drop the coin from your fist so it appears to fall from the nose. Catch the coin in the other hand.


9. Perform a feat of  “moron magic”

Display a clear glass of water in one hand and a dish towel in the other. Place the towel over the glass, then wave your free hand as if to make the water disappear. Turn your back, pull off the towel, chug the contents, replace the towel, and turn back. Resume waving your free hand, then pull the towel away to reveal an empty glass. (Yes, your grandkids will know what really happened, but it’s so silly its bound to make them laugh!)


10. Play the grass flute

Find a tall, thick blade of grass. Bring the palms of your hands together (as if praying that this trick will work) holding the blade of grass between the thumb knuckles and the balls of the hand. Blow a gentle, steady stream of air through the opening created by the two thumbs and a whistle sound will emerge.


11. Take a trip on the couch escalator

To ride down, stand on your toes behind one end of the couch, keep your back straight, and walk forward, slowly bending your knees. To ride up, begin in a squatting position, and walk the opposite way, slowly straightening your legs. Have the escalator shift speeds, bring you in the wrong direction, then stop and throw you off.


12. Send your swimming grandchild on a “rocket launch”

Bend your knees slightly, place your elbows against your waist, and hold your palms upward. Have your grandchild sit on your open hands with his feet on your knees. Thrust your child into the air by straightening your legs and extending your arms in one swift motion. Standby to help with recovery after splashdown.


13. Help your grandkid master classic pillow fight maneuvers

·       The Ol’ Switcheroo—She holds a pillow in her right hand, waves it flamboyantly, then sneaks in a quick shot with a pillow held in her left hand.

·       The Cymbal Crash—He takes pillows into both his hands, gets your head in between, then brings the pillows together.

·       Look Behind You!—She says the words, then whacks you when you look.


14. Astound your grandchild with symphonic “dinner bells”

Knot a spoon at the center of a long piece of string or yarn. Wrap the ends of the string around each of your child’s index fingers, then place the tip of the index fingers into her ears. Have your child swing the spoon so it strikes the edge of a table or chair. She will hear a beautiful sound like the distant chimes of a church bell.


15. Turn your face into a peanut gallery

Squeeze the upper half of a peanut shell and a tiny gap will open at the top. Let the gap close and pinch your earlobe so the entire peanut hangs like a dangling earring. Add an earring to the other ear, then continue hanging peanuts on any part of your face you choose. Clip them to your chin, your eyebrows, and your nose until you look like a complete nut.


16. Team up with your grandchild to create a “Granddaddy Long Legs”

Lie on your back and cover your waist and head with a sheet. Have your grandson face your feet, sit on your stomach, and straddle your body. When he finds a natural kneeling position, cover his legs with your sheet. From the front view, his little body looks like it has your long legs, especially if you wear similar-colored pants. Have Grandma take pictures!


17. Create new moments for making wishes

Next time your grandchild gets a piece of pie, have him cut off the tip of the slice and set it aside. Explain that by eating the “first bite” last, he will create a shift in the time-space continuum creating a magical vortex that will allow him to make a single wish.


18. At bath time, send your grandkid a magical mirror message

Dampen the corner of a bar of soap, then write on the bathroom mirror. As steam fills the bathroom during your grandchild’s hot bath, your message will appear in the glass.


19. Tell an ad-lib story

Create original tales by stopping mid-sentence so your grandkid can fill in the blanks. With a little practice she’ll begin to anticipate the stops, and you’ll see patterns in her thought process and alter plots accordingly. You’ll never know exactly what to expect with an ad-lib story, but you can usually expect something wonderful.


20. Share an “I Love You” in a special way

·       Squeeze It Out—Squeeze your grandchild’s hand three times (one squeeze for each word). Your grandchild can return the thought with four squeezes. (I love you, too!).

·       Sound It Out—Share the three words with any noise in a series of three. (Three honks of the horn, three pounds of the glove, three taps of the spoon as you stir your morning coffee.)

·       Get It Out—The words are in your heart. Get them out so your grandchild gets the message. Go with the strongest method of all: look in your grandchild’s eyes and simply say, “I love you.”


From The Amazing Dad by Giovanni Livera and Ken Preuss. Copyright © 2001 by Giovanni Livera and Ken Preuss. Excerpted by arrangement with Perigee Books. $12.95. Available in local bookstores or call 877-969-3237 or click here.