Grandparents, grandchildren celebrate with art party

The second Wacky Wednesday of the summer brought airplanes, beads and a lot of art to many senior citizens and their grandchildren at the Coon Rapids Senior Center June 20.

Volunteer Arvilla Fischer (right) helps grandparents and grandchildren select supplies to make bracelets. Photo by Bethany Kemming
Volunteer Arvilla Fischer (right) helps grandparents and grandchildren select supplies to make bracelets. Photo by Bethany Kemming

Senior Center Program Specialist Kris Niebler started the event with a game where grandparents and grandchildren would raise their hands or stand up when she said activities they had done or what they preferred.

The game highlighted several generational differences with questions such as “Have you ever milked a cow?” and “Would you rather go fishing or play video games?”

Grandparents and grandchildren then joined together for an art party, visiting three different stations to get the supplies for paper airplanes, bracelets, cards, bookmarks and more.

“Be creative! There’s not a lot of direction, you can do whatever you want,” Niebler told grandparents and grandchildren.

Arvilla Fischer volunteered at the event and helped children select the right beads, pipe cleaners and yarn to make bracelets.

She also instructed them on how to make several different types of bracelets.

“I like to do crafts myself and it’s fun to instill that in other children so they’ll do it,” Fischer said.

In previous years, college students or high school students that needed volunteer hours would help at Wacky Wednesdays, according to Niebler.

This year there haven’t been any students volunteering so many seniors like Fischer are stepping up to help with the events.

With a widespread age range of those attending, Niebler said it is sometimes difficult to come up with activities that suit everyone. She tests out different themes every year.

“It’s from four to 84 I guess… that is tricky, you need to find crafts, games and activities for everyone to work on,” Niebler said.

Many parents plan for the grandparents to be the “day care” each Wednesday so their children can attend, she said.

The majority of grandparents and grandchildren coming to Wacky Wednesdays are returning attendees, some for the third or fourth year.

Coon Rapids resident Phil Knutson has been coming for many years, first with his grandson and now with his fourth-grade granddaughter Sophie.

“I like coming here because it’s fun and we get to do a lot of different things,” she said. “I really like bingo.”

Wacky Wednesdays take place twice a month this summer at the Coon Rapids Senior Center, with events including bingo July 11, silly Olympic games July 18, a party Aug. 1 and a volunteering event Aug. 8 at Feed My Starving Children (FMSC).

Niebler said they have never volunteered at FMSC before, but decided to make it an option when they found out children are allowed to come.

The Coon Rapids Senior Center has been hosting Wacky Wednesdays for around 15 years, according to Niebler.

Children must be between four and 14 years old. Adults must register at least two days in advance by calling 763-767-6473 but can pay upon arrival.

Children may attend for $2 each and adults may attend for free.

Bethany Kemming is at [email protected]