Fun Ideas for Connecting with the Grandkids Virtually
The pandemic has kept many of us from visiting in person with family, whether we live right across town or right across the street. Even without a pandemic keeping us socially distanced, our busy lives can make it harder for families to see each other often, especially when family members all live in different states. Which means it can be that much more difficult for long-distance grandparents to stay connected to their grandkids.
But even though grandparents and their grandchildren may be separated by miles, they can still stay connected by moments. Thanks to 21st century technology, grandparents can much more easily and instantly connect with grandkids. And it doesn’t require 20th century methods like expensive long-distance telephone calls or handwritten letters that take time to deliver.
Here are 9 fun ideas both long-distance grandparents and grandparents living close by can use to connect with grandchildren — and grandkids can try these suggestions too, whenever they want to connect with their grandparents!
9 ideas to keep grandparents connected with grandchildren
Make the distance melt away with these virtual plans, projects and activities:
1. Read books together over video chat. For grandparents with young grandchildren, make one night of the week virtual story time. Decide on the right time and read a picture book to them. For older children, read chapters from a popular book to each other. In the days leading up to story time, email, text or talk together about which book to read next.
2. Have regular video chats. Video chats are a great way to stay connected with grandkids. Use the time creatively: Take the laptop into the kitchen to make brownies together, or prop the smartphone up next to the piano and listen in on piano practice.
3. Have game night over video chat. Buy two sets of the same board game — Battleship, Monopoly, Candyland, chess, Uno — and send one game to the grandkids. Then set a regular night of the week for game night between households.
4. Play games over a smartphone app. Everyone knows smartphones aren’t just for phone calls: They’re also great for playing mobile games with grandkids. The iPhone App Store, for example, has thousands of games that can be played between players, from word games to ping-pong. Or download GamePigeon, which allows users to play games like 8-ball, archery, darts, and checkers by texting the games back and forth on iMessenger.
5. Have a Teleparty. On streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and more, viewers synchronize the start times of streaming content so they can watch the same movie at the same time. Teleparties include a chat function so everyone can send on-screen text messages to the entire group. Just pick a movie, pop some popcorn, and tell everyone to get cozy on their own couches for a remote movie night!
6. Send art projects to do together. Arts and crafts stores have all kinds of art kits. Make jewelry, stained glass window art, birdhouses, stepping stones … all through easy-to-follow kits that include everything needed to complete the project. Shop online and directly ship kits to paint by numbers, color in adult coloring books, paint mugs and other pottery, make Shrinky Dinks — there are so many possibilities.
7. Study together. Grandchildren may need help with their math homework, or they may need help with an English paper. Offer to have study time at a certain time every afternoon after class.
8. Mail care packages back and forth. Care packages shouldn’t be just for birthdays and holidays. They can be for anything worth celebrating. If a grandchild got a great score on that math test, send them a celebratory box of sparkling grape juice and a card full of confetti. Or declare a certain day Spa Day, and mail a box of facial peels, foot scrub and toenail polish to enjoy a day of home-based pampering remotely, together.
9. Surprise one another with treats in the mail. Bake and ship a favorite type of cookies, or have them delivered from a nearby bakery. Or go online and order tins of popcorn, chocolates, candy, or cake and have that delivered.
Live where you can easily stay connected.
A rewarding, purposeful retirement is one where you’re among people who are as vibrant, active and engaged in life as you are. That’s what it means to live an engaging life. Living an engaging life also means staying connected to those we love most. At Freedom Pointe at The Villages, our senior living community is equipped with Wi-Fi access, and offers the latest technology to keep residents virtually connected with grandchildren, family and friends.