Becoming a grandparent is exactly everything “they” said it would be….am I right? My husband would jump in at this moment and ask, “Who are they?” 😂 I’ve never been able to come up with a witty answer to that question, however, “they” were right! Being a grandparent is THE BEST! The only downside is that many times they live far away…but that doesn’t have to be a problem. Read on for 12 ways to be awesome long distance grandparents!
If you have read any of my earlier posts, you know that I am a huge advocate of using the US Postal Service to communicate with your grandchildren whether you live close or far away! Yes, even if you are in the same town….use that snail mail. Kids LOVE to get mail!
12 Ways to Be Awesome Long Distance Grandparents ~
While I do love snail mail, technology has definitely helped bridge the gap with some very clever ideas! Below are a few of the ones that I have either tried or heard wonderful things about…so check them out! (If you are not technologically savvy, read on as there are many ideas for the non-techy too!
Game Apps or Technology Based ~
1 ~ Marco Polo App ~
This is a pretty cool video chat app. What I love most about it is that you can chat in real time if you and your granchild are available OR you can record a chat and send it and then they can open it when it is a good time for them. Think of it as your very own video walkie talkie…how cool is that? There is a free version and a paid version….once again, you can have tons of fun with this app in the free version!
You can even create a group to make it easier if you have several grandchildren in one family. Get in there and play around and you will see there are a lot of options for you!
2 ~ Mad Libs ~
Did you play this as a child? Maybe you played it with your children? There are still a ton of Mad Libs books out there to physically write in, however, there is also a Mad Libs app as well. There are free books as well as paid books. I can honesly say, I very rarely buy apps because I beieve there are so many free ones to take advantage of….but you do what works for you!
If you and your gradchldren are both logged into your own Game Centers through your apple devices, you can share with each other. You also can just take screenshots and text them to each other. How fun to read each other’s silly stories. You can even facetime each other and read them as well!
Another fun option is Mad Libs by Glowwordbooks.com. This site has an impressive number of books they have created for you…for free! Choose your topic and start entering words! It’s that easy! Steve and Natasha Hanson have created a fun website full of poems, riddes, books and more so be sure to check out all they have available to you!
3 ~ Online Jigsaw Puzzles ~
Jigsaw Planet is a really cool website where you can get tons of free jigsaw puzzles to solve. They allow you to create, play and share jigsaw puzzles with others. You are also given the option to compete with other users. Log onto their site at Jigsawplanet.com or use this link➡️➡️ Jigsaw Planet. Choose a puzzle and then click the “Play As” to choose the number of pieces you want to have it made in to! This feature is so wonderful because you can do easier puzzles with younger kiddos and harder ones with the older kids!
Non-Technology Related Ways to Connect ~
4 ~ Watch a Show Together ~
Ok, are you thinking right now that I am losing it? The main focus of this post is for grandparents that do NOT live close to their grandchildren, right? Soooo….don’t let this little thing called “distance” keep you from watching a show with your loved ones that are far away. The way I see it is that you have 2 options for this idea:
- Facetime or video chat at a set time that the show is on tv. This may be a little more conducive for shows that aren’t super long, but you be the one who decides that!
- Decide on a show that you both (or all) want to watch. You both watch it respectively in your own homes and then call to discuss it! Here are some topics you can discuss:
- What was your favorite part of the movie and why?
- Who was you favorite character…and why?
- What was the funniest part of the movie?
- What did you think of the ending?
- Would you watch it again
5 ~ Send a Secret Message ~
These pens are litterally the bomb! (Do people still use that term?) Send a pen to each of your grandchildren and keep one or two for yourself. The ink is all one color even though the outside of the pens are all different colors. Write a message with the pen and then mail it off. When they receive the message, they can use the light at the top of the pen to decode. Then they can send you a message back! Voila! Super fun!
6 ~ Story Game ~
Get a piece of blank paper and start a story. Mail it off to your grandchild. They will then read the story and add more lines to it. This can go back and forth as long as you would like! It will certainly create anticipation as the child gets excited to get the mail and continue on with the story.
Here are some story prompts to get your creative juices flowing:
- A conversation between two family pets
- The day I turned into a superhero
- The day I got lost in the woods and found a unicorn
- You have discovered a secret island
- How pizza was created
- The day everyone wore purple
- When my sibling got turned into a cat
- My grandpa’s secret identity
These are just some samples. Write several sentences or a couple of paragraphs to start the story. Send it out and wait for them to add some more details. This is a great way to be creative and laugh together. Who knows, if the book turns out great you can even publish it!
7 ~ Cook & Eat A Meal Together ~
Use your phone, ipad, computer or whatever gadget you prefer. Dial up the grandchildren and cook together. This takes a little prep as you will need to discuss with their parents what you all will be making in advance. This ensures that everyone has the ingredients needed on hand. If you don’t have a “kickstand” or case that allows you to set your phone down, you will need something to aid with that as well. Obviously your hands will need to be free to work on the meal prep.
A stand like this is awesome as it works on many sizes of phones and tablets and is also adustable in height.
I suggest a simple menu that can be prepared fairly quickly and easily. It will be more fun to sit and enjoy it together so that there will also be time for chatter! Love this!
8 ~ Pen Pals ~
This is an age old topic that has stood the test of time. You may have read my article I wrote some time ago about this very subject…click here to read my article about Pen Pal Fun With Grandchildren! What is awesome about this is I don’t know who gets more excited about receiving mail….the grandkids or the grandchildren!
If the kids are too young to write….draw pictures to send back and forth!
9 ~ Read A Bedtime Story ~
Set up a specified time with the parents and have them facetime you. Be prepared on your end with a favorite book that you can read to them over the phone, ipad, or computer. Be sure to use your fun different voices and turn the book so they can see the illustrations.
10 ~ This or That? ~
Make up your own list of questions to present to your grandchild. Would you rather be this or that…would you rather do this or that, etc. Do you have a hard time coming up with some ideas? Have no fear, I have also provided a couple of free printouts to get you started. Print this out and mail it.
Let the child circle one from each row and then call you to discuss it!
11 ~ Send Mystery Boxes ~
Periodically send a fun mystery box….fill it with their favorites or follow a certain theme. Let me assure you, your grandkids will be raving to their friends about just how awesome their grandparents are!
As always, there are different options. You can choose to create your own, or if you don’t feel like you are good at this sort of thing, check out these options from Etsy!
According to MysteriesInTime, “The Mysteries in Time Activity Pack is a fun award-winning pack bringing history to life for 6-11 year olds. Your child will receive a time machine envelope packed with fun activities, all linked to the history of Space. This has been developed by a primary school teacher with a passion for history.” It is super cute….you need to check this one out! It gets amazing reviews AND they have other historical fun packs too!
Boxes range from toys to crafts and ages range 3 – 10.
12 ~ Send “Open When” Letters ~
Create a package of letters to open throughout a certain period of time….monthly, special days, holidays, etc. This takes a bit of preparation on your part, but the kids will absolutely love getting this package. Below are some ideas to get you started:
- Send a large envelope with 7 letters in it for the week leading up to their birthday. Include letters, gift cards, pictures, etc.
- Create letters for the granchildren to open each weekend of a month.
- Write letters for the milestones of a school year…first field trip, first holiday party, first school vacation, first school presentation, first time class performs a musical/concert, etc.
- For older kids, write letters before the first sporting event or other important after school activity, before prom, before spring break, when receiving first grade card of the year, etc.
In Conclusion ~
So now you have 12 ways to be awesome grandparents. If you are looking up ideas and found my post, I have an idea you are already pretty awesome! Hopefully, you have found some fun new ideas! There are truly so many fun ways to keep in touch…we just need to take the time!
Hugs to all ~