Although social distancing and self-isolation are the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic, grandparents and their grandkids separated by long distances can still find creative ways to connect. These 20 ways grandparents can connect virtually with their grandkids are perfect for not only spending time with one another but entertaining each other through these seemingly long days.
Spending time with grandparents via a video call or phone call can give bored kids something fun and different to do, and when your little ones are distracted, you can actually get things done. Playing games, sharing special moments, and teaching one another new skills can all be done from a distance with just a little bit of creativity.
This type of interaction will prove especially crucial for kids who are used to spending time with their grandpa and grandma regularly but currently must stay away from elderly family members since they are at increased risk for coronavirus complications. During this time of uncertainty, having a bit of fun with loved ones — even from a distance — can brighten the day of everyone involved. Start with these 20 ideas, merging classic games and activities with technology to keep generations connected.
1 – Read bedtime stories
Grandparents can record themselves reading books and send their videos to your kiddos while you’re stuck at home. Your kids can also hop on a Skype or FaceTime call with grandma and grandpa before bedtime and have them read a bedtime story.
2 – Make art and send photos
If your kids are coloring masterpieces or painting glorious landscapes, snap a photo with your phone to send to grandparents in a text message or email. Bonus points if you have your kiddo hold their art in the photo. Double bonus points if grandpa or grandma sends a picture of their own artwork back to you.
3 – Create a virtual photo album
You or your child can take photos of their activities throughout the day and send them in an email to grandparents as a sort of virtual photo album. You can write a bit about what your kids are doing in the photos to give grandparents a taste of how your kids are filling their days while school is out.
4 – Teach something
Does grandma know how to crochet? Can grandpa grill a mean steak? Pick a skill that grandparents know how to do that your kids don’t and set up a time for them to teach your kids via FaceTime.
This can also work the other way, too. Ask your kid to teach their grandparents the latest TikTok dance. They can also make an instructional video to send if there’s no good time for a live call.
5 – Play games online
Playing games online together is a great way for kids and grandparents to stay connected despite being apart. Multiplayer gaming apps like Words with Friends are perfect for encouraging learning and connecting with loved ones. A variety of classic board games can also be played online. Games like Uno can be played via Facebook, and websites like Tabletopia have virtual chess games and checkers kids can play with grandparents.
6 – Ask 20 questions
A good, old-fashioned phone call might be boring for kids, but you can ramp up any conversation with a rousing game of 20 Questions. Here’s how it works: One person thinks of an object or topic and writes it down. The other person then asks questions to determine what they’re thinking of until they reach the maximum of 20 questions or until they figure out the object/topic that the other had in mind. To make it a little easier for younger kids, you can stick to a category to choose things like animals or foods.
7 – Play truth or dare
The game Truth or Dare doesn’t have to be intense, and it can be played through video chat or text. Dares like eating a bowl of ice cream for breakfast or doing jumping jacks are perfect for kids and grandparents to challenge each other. And, the truth questions can really open up conversations with questions like, “What’s the best TV show of all time?” or “What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?”
8 – Guess how many
Have your kids fill a clear jar with small items from your home. Dry beans, M&Ms, marshmallows, coins — pretty much anything that fits will work. Then, send a photo to grandma and grandpa and ask them to guess how many of the items are in the jar. Once they send back their guess, your kids can empty the jar and count the items to see how close their grandparents got. Next time, it can be the grandparents’ turn to fill up a jar, and the kids’ turn to guess.
9 – Play hide-and-seek
This fun take on hide-and-seek can work over text or phone, but it’s probably more exciting via video chat. Grandparents can let you know where to hide a treat (think candy or a coupon for extra dessert) somewhere in your home. Then, grandparents can either text clues to your child or walk them through clues on the phone or by video until your kid finds their surprise treat hidden at home.
10 – Write a story together
Kids and grandparents can take turns writing an “add-on” style story together. Basically, one will start by writing either a sentence or a paragraph (depending on your child’s abilities), email it to the other, and then they will add the next sentence or paragraph. Repeat until an entire story is written, and then video your child reading the co-written story aloud to send back to grandma and grandpa.
11 – Play charades
Charades is one of those classic party games that are perfect for playing on a video call. Kids and grandparents can take turns acting out things from specific categories like different animals, sports, or movies while the other guesses what they are acting out.
12 – Have a show-and-tell
Just like they do at school, kids can have a blast during a video show-and-tell session with their grandparents. Have your kids pick an item that is special to them and let them show it off, and tell their grandparents all about it via FaceTime. Then, grandma and grandpa can turn and show your child an item special to them.
13 – Have a dance party
If your kid loves to move and groove, a video call with grandma and grandpa is the perfect time to show off their sweet skills. Have your child turn on their favorite song and let them dance along while their grandparents watch. Then, if they’re able, invite grandparents to join in on the fun and dance it out — even if it’s just dancing in their lounge chair.
14 – Use flashcards
If grandparents feel up to the task, they can create flashcards to help kids learn numbers, colors, shapes, letters, sight words, math facts, and the like. They could also print out free flashcards online or order a pack of flashcards from Amazon. Over a video call, grandparents can quiz kids with flashcards to help them learn. This can also help parents tackle those pesky homeschool lessons.
15 – Tell ghost stories
Grandparents can tell kids spooky ghost stories (or kids can tell grandparents) via video call. This one works best at night, where kids can turn off the lights inside or head out into the backyard, grab a flashlight, and listen to their grandparents’ ghost stories. I can totally see my dad doing this with my boys over FaceTime.
16 – Have a tea party
If you have a little one who loves a good tea party, let them invite grandma and grandpa to have tea virtually. Set up a tea party with stuffed animal friends, a tea set (both imaginary tea and real tea works for this), and have kids and grandparents dress in their finest tea time attire. As long as grandparents have a cup or mug around, they can join in on the fun.
17 – Go for a walk
When you have the opportunity to get out of the house and take a walk (keeping your distance from others, of course), dial-up a video call with grandma and grandpa and have them follow along on your walk. Your kids can show their grandparents birds, squirrels, sticks they pick up, and anything else they notice on the walk. My son and I just did this yesterday with his aunt via FaceTime, and it was so much fun for all of us. I’m sure grandparents would love this type of virtual walk as well.
18 – Play simon says
Another fun game to play over a video call is Simon Says. Your kids and their grandparents can take turns being Simon and get ready to test each other’s listening skills.
19 – Sing together
This is an enjoyable thing to do with younger kids who love songs like “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or “Old MacDonald” that are easy for grandparents to sing along to. If your kids are older, ask grandparents to pick a song from their own childhood to teach. Think of it as an impromptu homeschool music class. Alternatively, older kids could introduce grandparents to new songs and learn the words together.
20 – Watch a show together
Just because grandma and grandpa can’t sit next to your child in the living room doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy watching a TV show together. Set up a video call with grandparents while you both watch the same TV show. Game shows like The Price Are Right or Wheel of Fortune are classic grandparent favorites that kids can try to guess along with. Shows on Animal Planet or PBS that are educational can also be interesting for kids and grandparents to watch together and discuss.
Source: Ashley Jones/20 Ways Grandparents Can Distract Kids Over Video Chat/Romper