One of the most important relationships in our lives is the one between grandparent and grandchild. When you live at a maintenance-free, vibrant community like Ives Hill, grandparents have the space, freedom, and lifestyle that allows them to connect with their loved ones! You can create memories and bridge the generation gap with these three fun DIY projects to do with your grandkids.

SALT DOUGH HANDPRINTS

Salt dough handprints are a great way to capture small hands and see them grow throughout the years. The recipe is enough to make three handprints, but depending on the size and how many kids you have, you may consider doubling the recipe. In a mixing bowl, gradually mix 4 cups of flour and 1 cup of salt with water until blended. Lightly grease a banking sheet with oil. Roll out the dough onto the cookie sheet and form into desired shape. Once you have your form made, use a straw to make a hole at the top. This will allow you to hang the handprint as a decoration or ornament. Keep the dough thick enough to allow a hand imprint. Then, have your grandchild emboss their handprint. Place in a 150-degree oven for 1 hour, or you can air dry for 24 hours.

CRAFT STICK DOLLS

With just craft sticks, Washi tape and markers, you can create a whole world of people, pets and other animals! Your grandchild can create their own unique characters, which is certain to spark storytelling and conversation.

PAINTED ROCK GARDEN MARKERS

Before you plant your garden this spring, create garden markers to identify herbs, vegetables and flowers with your grandchild. For this project, you will need several smooth rocks, patio paint – or outdoor craft paint – in various colors, clear outdoor sealer, a black paint marker or Sharpie and paintbrushes. You may also need a pencil or toothpick. Paint each rock and let dry before adding a second coat. Once dry, write the plant name on the rock. Decorate using the ends of a paintbrush, pencil tip or toothpick dipped in colored paint. Allow to dry for 2-3 hours, then apply the clear coat and allow to dry overnight.

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Heritage Ministries, the parent company of Ives Hill, was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations in the states of Washington, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. The Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, and lessons. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit www.heritage1886.org.