BY: Margery Atkinson
An intruder was spoiling my weekly Wednesday visits with my grandson, Brenden. Here we were, the only time we had together, and he sat in the recliner, watching TV, uncommunicative and sullen. His pro-grams were mindless, a waste of time.
At last, I made a decision. One Wednesday, as we drove home, I said, “We’re going to dream up a ‘mystery project.’” Sitting at the dining room table, I helped Brenden finish his spelling homework. Then, I asked what he was studying in history and science, and we talked about what we might make—our “mystery project”—related to his school-work: a model of a Native American village, a colonial scene, a log cabin, a battle-ground, a covered wagon, map.
We chose to make a model of a California mission, a required subject for the state’s fourth graders. We agreed that we would keep the project a secret between the two of us—keeping the “mystery.” Our first step was to research the Inter-net. After looking at the photographs and reading about what we discovered, Brenden chose to create a replica of the mission at Santa Barbara.
On another afternoon, we scoured the garage for cardboard and visited a local crafts store. In our research we discovered a site that sold the necessary pieces, precut from Styrofoam (add only scissors, paint and glue). With only a bit of help, Brenden was able to build the replica of the mission on his own (he focused with enthusi-asm as soon as he started to glue the walls together). To be original, we cut card-board into steps, doors and fences; renden painted the mission and landscaped the grounds. (We searched the yard for rocks, grass, plants and “trees.”)
All through the week, I think of ideas; on Wednesday, renden greets me with, “Grandma, what are we going to do today?”
The intruder was vanquished.