Intergenerational Book Club: The Napping House

Giving is an integral part of Baby Toddler Book Club, so it’s a natural extension that our Intergenerational Book Club also participated in a giving project this month!

A resident read the kids, The Napping House by Audrey Wood this month. This modern classic children’s book features charismatic illustrations by Don Wood and tells the story of a napping house where inside “everyone is sleeping” and outside it’s raining and gloomy. The book makes a list of all the people and animals who are sleeping in the napping house and repeats them in reverse order on each page. Each new “sleeping” page ends with the same line, “In a napping house where everyone is sleeping.” Eventually everyone wakes up one-by-one and the sun comes outs too! This was an especially appropriate pick for our Intergenerational Book Club meeting because the book features and older adult (granny) and a young child. One of the residents at the Assisted Living center quipped, “The Napping House? Well that’s this place! Everyone around here IS usually napping!”

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The children were invited to bring along a blanket to sit on or hold while a resident read the story because in the book, the little boy carries a blanket. The blanket was the inspiration for our activity!

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The residents and the children worked together to make a blanket for Project Linus, an organization, with chapters in all 5o states, that works to provide handmade blankets for children in need. The blankets go to seriously ill or traumatized children. Check your local chapter to determine what kinds of blankets are accepted, preferred sizes, and other specifications.

We chose to make a knotted blanket. There are MANY no-sew knotted blanket tutorials online, so find one that makes sense to you. Here’s one on Thriving Home Blog with photos. We selected two pieces of fleece fabric that were each approximately 72 x 60. In advance of our meeting, I lined them up and trimmed them to make sure they were the same size. I traced a 4 x 4 square in each corner (using chalk on the size with the darker fabric). Then I measured strips that were approximately 4 inches long and 1.5 inches wide (I like the strips to be slightly thicker) all the way around the blanket marking each with chalk. I then brought the blanket to the Assisted Living Center the day of our meeting, marked and ready to be be cut and tied. We laid the blanket on a table and the residents sat around it to cut the strips along the chalk marks. They then knotted the strips from the top piece of fabric to the strips from the bottom piece of fabric to create the blanket.

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After the residents finished knotting the blanket, we turned it over so the side with the lighter fabric was facing up. The children now had the opportunity to (literally) make their mark! We painted their hands with non-toxic fabric paint (we used Momenta stencil fabric paint) and they put their hand prints on the blanket. The fabric paint (while permanent to clothing) washed right off their hands. We had the kids wear old clothes or smocks, had wipes readily available, and a sink nearby to avoid getting the paint on any un-intended fabric! The fabric paint needs at least 24 hours to dry, so if you replicate this project, just be sure you have a place to leave the blanket. We had a space to leave it at the Assisted Living Center.

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We all agreed that the blanket turned out very cute! The residents really seemed to enjoy the project and joked that they liked it so much they wanted to keep the blanket there! Since it was a hit, we’ll likely be setting up another time to make blankets that we can keep at the Assisted Living Center.

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My favorite part of this project is that it was fun for the kids, enjoyable for the residents, AND we created a gift for someone in need. Win, win, win!

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