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Savor time with grandchildren before the start of school year

AGING MATTERS

The new school year is just around the corner, which means it’s time to savor those last few moments of grandparent-grandchild time before getting back into the school routine. Consider some of the following or brainstorm your own to take advantage of the last few weeks:

• Have a picnic. Whether you keep it simple or make it a grand occasion, always keep food safety in mind. Wash all produce well. Use coolers to keep foods out of the temperature danger zone (40-140 degrees Fahrenheit) to reduce risk of food-borne illness. And choose a location which everyone can enjoy. Check five tips for a perfect picnic at extension.usu.edu/news_sections/home_family_and_food/perfect-picnic.

• Go bird watching (virtual or in person). The Symphony of The Hawaiian Birds website has great resources about local birds, audio and video tracks of their songs, slideshows of award winning keiki art representing local birds, and much more. Visit and explore at www.symphonyofhawaiianbirds.com.

• Plan a family game night. There are so many types of games to play — card, board, interactive team building, team video games and so much more. Choose games that can be enjoyed by different ages and personalities. And, of course, don’t forget the snacks!

• Make dinner. Find a new recipe or choose a family favorite and work together on preparation and cleanup. For food prep ideas, healthy eating guidelines, simple local recipes and ideas for incorporating more fruits and veggies into meals, visit www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/new/resources.htm.

• Fly a kite. With the wonderful trade winds flying a kite on Maui can take place most of the year. Make, purchase or find a kite that is already in your home and choose a spot with good wind and plenty of space to run.

• Read a book. Reading out loud is a great way to get the school year off to the right start. Check out the American Library Association’s 2019 Summer Reading List at www.ala.org/alsc/publications-resources/book-lists/2019-summer-reading-list.

• Have a paper airplane contest. This can include grandparents and grandchildren or become a family or neighborhood affair. Winning planes may be those that travel the longest distance, stay in the air longest, perform the most loops, land closest to a target, or anything else you decide. Just have fun with a little competition!

• Plant and care for a container garden. The Grow Your Own lessons guide you step by step from planting to harvesting. Your garden may be as simple as a single herb that grows in your kitchen window or a large container on your lanai with a couple different vegetables. Learn more at www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/NEW/GYO/lessons.htm.

• Recycle bottles and donate to a charity. If you have a bin full of HI-5 bottles and cans, bring them to a nearby redemption center and decide together which local charity to donate your proceeds. Find the closest redemption center by visitinghealth.hawaii.gov/hi5/redemption-centers/.

• Make a time capsule. Choose items that tell a story about your summer, seal them in a container and decide when you will open the container. There are a lot of resources and ideas online to help with this activity.

Have fun and be safe!

* Heather Greenwood-Junkermeier is with the University of Hawaii Manoa Cooperative Extension, Maui Aging and Intergenerational Programs. Today’s column was written jointly with Nancy Ooki, 4-H and Youth Development Extension Agent with UH Manoa Cooperative Extension. “Aging Matters” covers topics of interest to the aging Maui community and appears on the third Sunday of each month.