How to Be the Greatest Grandparent Ever
Catch a Firefly
Derek Jeter, shortstop, New York Yankees
Catching fireflies isn't a whole lot different from catching
baseballs. "The basics are the same, except you use a jar instead of a
glove, and there's more of them to catch," says Jeter. In fact, there
are over 170 species of fireflies in the United States and 1,900
worldwide. So pick a night when the sparkling critters are bountiful
and follow these simple steps:
Hold the lid of the jar in your dominant hand. You'll need to have a bit more control of the lid than of the jar.
Keep your body controlled but flexible. Bend a little at the knees.
Your eyes should never leave your target. The easiest firefly
viewing will be at twilight, when you can see the firefly light up but
still keep track of it between flashes.
Once you have the lid and the jar lined up on either side of the
firefly, don't hesitate. Snap them together as quickly as you can.
(Careful, though, not to crush your prey.)
"You may miss a few, but, hey, I don't catch every ball. I don't let that shake my confidence," says Jeter.
Explain to your grandkids that the thrill is all in the catch. After
a few minutes you should let your illuminating little friend out of the
jar and watch it flutter away.
Skip a Stone
Jerdone Coleman-McGhee, holder of the Guinness World Record for stone skipping (38 skips)
Skipping a stone across a clear morning lake allows you to defy gravity, and just how cool is that? Your plan:
First you have to become a rock expert. "To get a good skip, you
need the right stone," says Coleman-McGhee. These are smooth and
uniformly thick or thin. Contrary to popular belief, they are not
necessarily round. One of the best shapes is triangular ("like the
Stealth Bomber," he says). The triangle shape provides stability. The
stone should be about as big as your palm.
Hold the stone gently between your thumb and middle finger, with
your index finger curled around the edge. A common mistake is to also
curl the thumb around the edge. No. Rest the thumb on top.
Prepare to throw by cocking your wrist way back and aiming the stone
so that it will contact the water with a nearly parallel trajectory.
Snap your wrist so the stone leaves your hand with maximum spin. You
don't need a lot of force, but spin speed is key. "Throw quicker, not
harder," he says.
Tell a Joke
Phyllis Diller, comedian
Diller knows something about telling jokes to kids. She raised her
own five children before launching her show biz career at age 37.
"There are rules for telling a joke just like there are rules for
baking bread," Diller says. Here are the essentials:
Keep it simple
"First off, use short words and simple language," she says. "Always
go for one syllable over three. A joke about a car full of 'people'
works better than a joke about a car full of 'passengers.' If there's a
number in the joke, unless for some reason it has to be 11, make it 10."
Get to the point
Don't take detours along the way to your punch line. "Sure, you need
to set up a joke properly, but don't flump around—flump, flump,
flump—like some people do. A common reason that joke tellers flump
around is that they like the attention, so they start to draw their
stories out," says Diller. "But the minute you start elongating, you
lose your audience. So keep your ego out of it. Be brief. Don't flump."
End with a bang
The final word of the joke is your meaning word, your operative
word, so make sure it's a good one. "The best words end with explosive
consonants. Go for something like 'top,' 'dog,' or 'spit,'" says
Diller. "Never end your story with a word like 'aura.'"
Make a fallback plan
If your joke falls flat, make a funny face. With little kids, that's
a sure-fire laugh. "Just stick your tongue out and cross your eyes,"