I’ve had to miss two Skype dates in the past two weeks which makes my grandmotherly heart sad. Talking on the phone just isn’t the same as seeing those sweet little faces. My last post about Skyping can be found here if you missed it. I hope you’ve tried out some of the ideas. Children constantly grow and change, so you often need to adapt to their interests. It may be time to throw in some new activities.
Mother, May I? is a lot more fun as Grandma, May I? You can give commands such as “Do 5 lion roars.” “Do 3 army crawls around the chair.” “Do 8 umbrella twirls.” (That one can be exceptionally fun if they like getting dizzy, but be careful there are no objects they could bump into or hurt themselves on.)
Red Light, Green Light takes on a new turn when you add other light colors. A blue police light means they have to pull over and might get a ticket for speeding. An orange light could mean switch to rolling or somersaults. A black light might mean play dead. Children like to make up some of the actions to match new colors themselves.
Would You Rather has always been a travel game at our house. You can learn about your grandchild’s preferences with simple questions. Would you rather ride in a hot air balloon or a submarine? Would you rather eat a chocolate chip cookie or a brownie? Would you rather visit an eagle’s nest or a gopher’s tunnel?
Card games are fantastic. I buy them at yard sales and the money is never wasted. Right now Li’l Sis loves the animal flashcards. She is learning names and facts that most 5th graders don’t know. Tiger loves the questions from the Beat the Parents cards I have.
Your children will love you if you teach your kindergarten grandchildren to count to 100 and your elementary age grandchildren their addition/subtraction, multiplication/division, states/capitals and so on. But make it fun. Use visuals. Get an abacus, maps, a white board or at least flash cards. Do races together or time them. You usually have only a few minutes to get in some learning unless you have a game like Chutes and Ladders for counting or Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego.
You can play chess and checkers as you Skype with older children. The challenge is to balance their ability with yours. You can always change the rules to make it harder for yourself. For instance, the grandchild gets two moves for every one move you get.
Hangman can keep some kids busy for hours. The tough part is when they make you do the guessing, but they spelled the word wrong!
The Best for Last
You can teach even very young children important things on Skype–Bible verses, names of the books of the Bible, and how to pray together. Start out with a short verse. Use hand motions or make up a tune to go with it. Begin with the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Once your grandchild remembers that, add another book, and another and another.
Ending in prayer together is the best idea I have to offer. It’s a blessing in every way.