10 Activities for Long Distance (and Virtual) Grandparenting

a special feature from Leslie & Kay, Founders of GrandparentsLink

So many of us are missing our grandchildren during this Covid period, and are always looking for ways to connect with them. Here are a few ideas that just might spark your grandchild’s interest and imagination…

1. Play hide and seek virtually! Send treats/souvenirs to the parents of your grandchildren. Ask the parents to hide the treats in certain locations that you are familiar with. Then, go online and watch the kids look for the hidden treats. You can give hints while online, or say “You’re getting warm,” or “You’re getting cold.”

2. Send a bag of Hershey kisses to your grandchild’s parents, and ask them to give the kids a kiss from you each day or every other day, saying, “Grandma and Grandpa are thinking of you and are giving you a special kiss today.”

3. Create stories with your grandchildren through email or snail mail. Write a paragraph, send it to them. Then, have them write the next paragraph, and send it back to you. Go back and forth with the story.

4. Send the kids a Flat Stanley doll. Ask them to put Flat Stanley in all different locations in and around their house and photograph Stanley; then send you the pics. Once they have shared their Flat Stanley pics with you, they then may want to send Stanley to one of their friends, and start a whole chain of pictures with them.

5. Cut out heart-shaped pieces of paper and write notes on the hearts, and then send the “heart paper kisses” to the grandkids. The hearts can be filled with jokes, or ways that you appreciate the child, or funny pictures that you draw, or word games, whatever you like.

6. Have a star named after your grandchild. Go to Star Name Registry, or call 1-800-282-3333.

7. Send a giant homemade hug from you to the grandkids. Cut a piece of paper 1 yard long and 3-4” wide, or use a thick piece of yarn. Then, trace your hands onto two pieces of paper and cut them out. Glue the hands to the ends of the yard-long paper; if you are using yarn, punch holes into the hands and thread the yarn through the holes and tie in a knot. You may even want to decorate the yard-long piece and the hands. Once completed, send the hug, with this note: “Sending you a paper hug, until I/we can give you a real one.”

8. Bake cookies, brownies, or cake-pops. Wrap each one separately and place a note with each individually wrapped treat. Then mail the treats to your grandkids.

9. Play virtual games with your grandchildren, like “Wheel of Fortune” or “Jeopardy” at sony.com Get the Houseparty app and play games like Trivia, Quick Draw, and Heads Up; both you and your grandchildren need to download the app. There are other apps like “Roblox” and “Together”. There is also Let’s Play Bingo on Zoom (good for all ages, and easy for big groups) and Sketchparty (Pictionary) on Apple TV (good for families to do in teams).

10. And, if you are fortunate enough to have a visit planned to see the grandkids, send a jar or basket with the EXACT number of M&M’s (or gummy bears or their favorite candy) so that they can mark the days until you get to be with them. Tell them to eat only one a day until you see each other!