14 Online Game Ideas For Grandparents And Grandchildren To Play Together
Zoom dates with Grandma just got a lot more fun.
Erica Silverstein · 10 months ago
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If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that kids struggle to video chat with relatives without devolving into goofy monkeys who can only Zoom while hanging upside down off the couch. To all the grandparents hoping to bond with their faraway grandkids: You need some fun activities guaranteed to engage short attention spans. Get creative with these 14 online games for grandparents and grandchildren to play together over Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype.
1. Read Stories
As preschoolers, my kids loved having their grandparents read books to them over FaceTime so much that we started gifting my parents age-appropriate books they could read with their grandchildren online. Now, my 6-year-old practices reading while Grandma and Grandpa listen and help her sound out words she doesn’t know. It’s easy to hold the book up to the camera to show pictures, but sites like Caribu make it even easier for grandparents and grandkids to look at the same digital book at the same time.
2. Draw Pictures
A friend shared how her daughter and mother used to watch the Mo Willems online drawing lessons together and then share their art over Zoom. Drawing keeps little hands busy, and provides easy conversational openings. (What kind of dinosaur is that? Is that fairy surfing on a pizza?) Choose a theme to draw together, or put on some background music and create art inspired by the melody.
3. Whiteboard games
Every family Zoom we host devolves into the cousins changing backgrounds, turning their screen view upside down, and scribbling across the virtual whiteboard. Since it’s inevitable, grandparents can go with the flow and invite their grandchildren to join them in hangman, tic tac toe, and other whiteboard games. Or, just amuse yourselves by adding cartoon shades, mustaches, and cats on your heads to your video images.
4. I Spy
If you’re looking for games to play on FaceTime with grandchildren, I Spy is the junior version of scoping out coworkers’ home offices on video conferences. Kids and grandparents can take turns choosing an object they can see on screen (“I spy with my little eye...something that starts with M!”), while the other side gets to guess. (“I spy your mom checking Facebook during that business meeting…”)
5. 20 Questions
This game is so simple even Alexa can play it! Choose a person, place, or thing, and the other person has to guess what you’re thinking by asking no more than 20 yes-or-no questions. Beware of smart-aleck children, like mine, who win by choosing “air” or “quarks.”
6. Mad Libs
Grandparents can buy books of ready-made Mad Libs or write their own. Then ask the grandkids for the requested parts of speech, and read the hilarious final story to many giggles. Be prepared that all children — in my experience — think the story will be funniest if they choose words like “fart,” “poop,” and “boogery” for their nouns, verbs, and adjectives. (They’re not entirely wrong...)
7. Puppet or Stuffies Show
The other day, my daughter called me in to sit on her bed next to several stuffed animals in a row, so she could do a song-and-dance performance over FaceTime for my parents. Superstars-in-training may relish a captive audience for their harmonica riffs, ballet recitals, and impromptu singalongs. Grandparents should not be shy to entertain their loved ones with musical performances or puppet theater.
If both grandparent and grandchild own the game of Battleship, you can try to sink each other’s destroyers as easily on Zoom as in person. Don’t have the game? It’s easy to create your own grids and draw in your ships on a piece of paper, and mark hits with a colored marker.
Only one of you needs to own Boggle to play this game online. Just point your webcam at the letter cubes so both players can see, and write down all the words you can find. Bonus: It’s great spelling practice for the kids.
Another game to play on Zoom with kids is Scattergories. As with Battleship, you don’t need the actual board game. Simply brainstorm a list of categories together (e.g., animal, country, breakfast food), pick a letter, set a timer, and off you go.
11. Word Puzzles
Crossword puzzles, sudokus, word searches — all can be solved together online. Find an online version and share your screen, or discuss crossword clues out loud. I scanned an easy sudoku and emailed it to my mom, who then talked my daughter through figuring out the numbers over FaceTime.
12. Virtual Escape Rooms
Clever people under quarantine have developed themed virtual escape rooms using Google Forms. We played the Harry Potter one with family in four states over Zoom for my son’s birthday, and it was a hit. Share your screen, and work together to figure out the clues.
13. Story Chains
This Zoom idea for grandparents is more fun with a small group, but works with two people as well. Have grandma or grandpa start a story then pass along to the grandchild to tell the next part, and see how ridiculous a yarn you can spin. The five-word game is similar, but each person is limited to just five words of the story at a time.
14. Dance Party
Who says grandpa can’t get down? Play some funky music, and enjoy each other’s moves online. Or, if your dancing needs a bit of inspiration, put on GoNoodle, share your screen, and follow along with the online dancers.