Grandparents, youth bond at learning event

Western Washington University’s Grandparents U summer program for grandparents and their grandchildren continues July 18 on Western's Bellingham campus.

The Bellingham program is just one of four being offered this year. One program just wrapped up in Poulsbo, where it was offered for the first time. Two other programs -- one for children ages 7 to 10, and the other for children 10 to 14 -- will take place next month in Anacortes.

Each two-day intergenerational summer program provides participants a chance to spend quality time together while exploring popular topics taught by Western faculty.

In Bellingham, offerings included:

  • Not Just Your Parent’s Chemistry Set: Explore the fun and fascinating world of chemistry through reactions that change color, temperature and spark colored flames. Participants will experiment with dry ice and liquid nitrogen, investigate phase changes, and make several plastics to play with. All activities will be hands-on, including some that you will be able to reproduce at home to amaze your friends and family. Instructor: Elizabeth Raymond
  • Bringing Books to Life: Write, Sculpt and Paint Your Own Stories: The greatest stories come to life through their characters. You and your grandchild will work together to write an original story, then breathe life into the pages through sculpted characters and watercolor backdrops and sets. Your story will then be shared with other members of the class through a performance of your writing, acted out with your sculpted characters on portable stages. Instructors: Gaye Green and Rosanna Porter
  • Colorful Keepsake Journals, Bookbinding and Paper Crafting: Design your own “Moleskine” style notebook or journal with a personalized touch. Participants will explore historical techniques of paper crafting and bookbinding for inspiration. We will then craft our own unique keepsakes to take home by making colorful and patterned paste papers and applying them to simple bindings. Instructor: Elsi Vassdal Ellis
  • Let’s Play in the Dirt: Formation, Collecting, and Cleaning Fossils: Fossils are amazing. Take this opportunity to play with relics from our earth’s past. You will excavate your own plant fossils from blocks of sediment and learn how to clean them. Once your fossils are cleaned, we will use laboratory techniques to investigate how these fossils were formed. At the end of class the fossils will be ready to take home and display. Instructor: Thomas Evans
  • The Secret Life of Trees: Let’s explore the wonder that is a tree. How can they grow up to 300 feet and live for 5,000 years? Can they talk to other creatures, and why do some of them shed their leaves? We will investigate these questions and more by using microscopes, conducting lab experiments, and going on campus field trips through the beautiful Sehome Arboretum. After class, you will be able to take home your tree experiment to share with friends and family. Instructor: Anu Singh-Cundy

For details, visit, email or call 360-650-3308. 

Western Today staff