Every weeknight at 7 p.m. my daughters participate in game night with their grandparents. They lay in bed with a snack and log on to FaceTime as my parents — “Gaga” and “Pa” — spend a virtual hour with them, playing games like Trivial Pursuit, Bingo and Sorry! Both girls look forward to it daily and count the hours until their special activity. My husband and I love it, too, as we get a much-needed break.
Because the pandemic is disproportionately affecting older adults, families have been forced to become more creative in finding options for kids (and their parents) to safely connect with loved ones while socially distant.
Here are some of our favorite ways to have meaningful interactions with while staying safe:
Enlist grandparents as teachers
Most kids are already used to remote learning, so why not add some enrichment to their school day with a teacher they already know and love? Ask Grandma and Grandpa to give your kiddos a virtual history lesson, as they can talk about a historical event they lived through.
Mail care packages
Traditional mail is becoming a lost art. Bring back the excitement by letting kids pack up care packages for grandparents – complete with artwork and treats. They’ll also be equally as excited to get mail for themselves.
Schedule family story times
We are loving the app Caribu! The family-friendly video calling app connects families by allowing them to read on-screen books and color together. My own kids love to be the designated page turners!
Present family concerts
Kids love to perform, and there’s no more captivated audience than doting grandparents. Let your kids dress up and belt out their favorite tunes. Grandma and Grandpa can sing the chorus.
Host virtual cooking classes
If kids can’t be with Grandma to help bake her world-famous cookies, they can still do it virtually! Set up your favorite video app in the kitchen and let Grandma and Grandpa teach the kids a simple recipe (with parent supervision).
Create online artwork together
Your kids are most likely already drawing, painting and making other crafts projects. Let Grandma and Grandpa feel included and join in the fun – all they need is some construction paper and crayons!
Have a virtual family dinner
During this time of stress and uncertainty, family mealtime is more important than ever. Pick out a recipe and cook it together. Then, set your computer across the dinner table from you to create a “dinner party” feel.
Watch movies together
If both families have Netflix, choose your favorite family-friendly flick and host a movie night together by using the Netflix Party extension. This extension synchronizes playback between everyone who’s watching, adds a chat window, and allows anyone who’s watching to play and pause the video.