There’s nothing worse than being away from your grandchildren. Whether it’s long distance or other circumstances keeping you apart, it can be difficult to build a close relationship with them and keep in touch – especially younger grandkids – without any form of physical contact or communication.
Thankfully, with the ever-growing presence of technology, keeping in close contact with grandchildren has never been easier. Even if you’re on the other side of the world, you can still connect and chat to them over FaceTime and play a host of fun and engaging games together.
These games and activities can also work on other video chat platforms such as Skype, Zoom, or Facebook Messenger, so find the right platform for you, and the opportunities are endless.
To help provide some inspiration, I’ve scoured the internet and compiled a list of 23 of the best games and activities you can play with your grandchildren over video chat to fully engage them and have lots of fun together. Keep reading below to find out more!
Note: Before I get started, something important to remember. It’s always a good idea to make sure your phone, desktop, or tablet has the latest update installed before you video chat. Not only will this ensure everything runs smoothly and securely, the last thing you want is to have to sit through a lengthy update minutes before a scheduled call.
1). Sing Together
Perhaps the easiest activity to do with your grandchildren over video chat is sing along with them to their favorite songs. These may be songs they’ve learned in school, rhymes they’ve picked up at home, or modern songs from their favorite artist in the charts.
Everyone when they’re growing up has a few go-to tunes. Even if you’re not entirely sure of the lyrics, singing along with your grandchildren will be sure to give them a giggle and make you feel somewhat connected to each other – even if it’s over FaceTime!
2). ABC Game
This one is super straightforward and a great game for interaction. Just like the ABC game many parents and grandparents play in the car to keep a little one’s mind occupied, have your grandchild virtually take you around their house so they can find objects starting with a letter of the alphabet.
Once they find something beginning with “A”, then it’s your turn to find something beginning with “A” in your own house. Not only is this fun and interactive, it’s also beneficial for strengthening the grasp of letters for younger children.
3). Dress Up
Playing dress up is a fun game for grandchildren. Let them dress up, model for you, pose, and maybe even put on a little show for you. Whether they’re into superhero capes, princess dresses, or their local soccer team’s kit, this game makes for a fun and engaging activity.
4). Card Games
I used to play card games with my grandparents over video chat when I was growing up and it’s a lot simpler than you might think. Several games can easily be played if you both have your own deck of cards, while it’s also fun to be creative and imaginative with some cool card tricks (if you have any up your sleeve)!
5). Play Simon Says
An absolute classic, and one which never fails to amuse younger children. This traditional motion game is great for playing over FaceTime as it’ll get your grandchildren up moving, laughing, and generally being silly. All in all, the perfect activity for building a fun and close relationship with them.
Turn up the music to some of their favorite tunes and have a virtual dance party over video chat. Don’t hold back, they’ll love seeing you let loose and copying some of their go-to moves.
If you’re feeling super adventurous, you can even teach them a little dance from your childhood. After all, which child doesn’t love seeing their grandparents have a good time?
7). Board Games
As with card games, there are a wide selection of board games that are suitable for playing over FaceTime with your grandchildren. A personal favorite of mine is Battleship. This works brilliantly as you each have your own setup, your opponent can’t see your board, and the game flows back and forth just like you’re in the same location.
Other board games that work well over video chat include Checkers, Monopoly and Candyland.
8). Instrument Practice
If your grandchild plays a musical instrument, listening to them practice can be a lovely way to spend your video call. Sometimes learning to play a new instrument can be frustrating and boring, but with an audience they may feel more engaged, confident and encouraged. Also, it would be thoroughly rewarding for you to keep seeing improvements in their playing ability each time you FaceTime.
Reading to your grandchildren is one of the best and most valuable ways to interact with them over video chat. For babies and toddlers, it’s always a good idea to choose a book with bright colors and pictures to keep them as engaged as possible. Also, using an excited and expressive reading voice can make it fun.
If your grandchildren are slightly older, it may be more productive and enjoyable to take turns reading from a chapter book that you can continue next time you call.
10). Guess The Animal
This is a game that younger kids love and one which proved particularly popular when looking for options online. It’s also incredibly simple, as all you’ll need to do is ask your grandchildren to pretend to be a certain animal, and then guess.
Needless to say, sometimes guessing correctly can be quite a challenge with many animals looking and sounding alike, but there’ll be plenty of guaranteed laughs!
This classic party game can work just as well over video chat, just make sure you keep it nice and simple for young grandchildren. For example, you could pick “movies” as your category, hold out one finger signifying it’s a one-word title, and then pretend you’re driving with a steering wheel. Give them time to guess, and in this case, hopefully they’ll come up with Cars!
FaceTime charades has the potential to go on for hours so to give the game a little bit of competitive edge and make it even more fun, using a scoring system such as “first to ten points wins” is a good idea.
12). Tell Jokes
All kids love jokes and love to laugh, so prepare some easy-to-understand, cute jokes for your grandchildren to share with their friends in school. Often, the cheesier the joke, the funnier they’ll find it. Knock-knock jokes are always a good place to start – so below are five of my favorites!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Who. Who who? I didn’t know you were an owl!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Boo. Boo who? Erm, why are you crying?
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce in, it’s cold out here!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Ice cream. Ice cream who? Ice cream if you don’t let me in!
Knock, knock. Who’s there? Cargo. Cargo who? No, the car goes BEEP BEEP!
13). Play Peek-A-Boo
If your grandchild is only a baby and hasn’t progressed to the talking stage yet, you can play peek-a-boo with them by moving the camera away from you and back. Alternatively, you can mimic the sound of an animal and use a stuffed toy to play peek-a-boo with.
While this may seem like a pretty basic game, speaking and reading are the best way for a baby to get to know you and your voice. This way, when you’re finally able to see each other in person, they’ll already recognize you.
14). Ask Simple Questions
For toddlers and young children, ask them plenty of simple questions to keep them engaged and the conversation interesting. If you’re just having a chat, you could ask questions like, “where is your nose” or give an instruction like “point to where your heart is”. If you’re reading a book with animals in it, you could ask “what animal is this” or “what noise does a cow make”, and so on.
15). Tell A Story
When telling your grandchildren a story over video chat, using props such as stuffed animals, photo albums, and toys is a good idea. You can either make up a story while using the props or get your grandchild to think of a story about the objects you’re holding.
If you don’t have anything suitable on hand, you can always tell them an interesting story about your childhood in a playful and fun manner. This will allow them to learn about your family stories and history.
16). Work On A Lego Project
This was something I used to love doing and would spend hours invested in when I was younger. So, why not work on a project together with your grandchildren?
Many of the big lego projects have loads of different sections, so one of you could build a race car and the other could build a garage. You can also encourage each other on the video call to keep motivation levels high. Then, the next time you’re able to see each other in person, you can combine your creations!
17). Play I Spy
Just as this game works perfectly on long car journeys, I Spy is a good game to have lots of fun with your grandchildren on FaceTime. Simply move your camera slowly around the room, let them “spy” something, then it’s up to you to try and guess what they spotted. Reverse the roles so it’s the other way around, and they’re moving their camera around for you to spot something.
18). Have Lunch Together
You both like a ham and cheese sandwich with cheese and onion crisps, right? Then why not arrange a video call when it’s lunchtime, make the sandwiches together, and then sit down to the table to eat together and have a catch-up.
It doesn’t have to be a particular occasion, you can just speak about your day, what you’ve been up to recently, and discuss what you both fancy doing when you’re able to see each other again.
19). Learn A Video Game
If you’ve got older grandchildren, it’s more than likely that they’ll be into their video games. You could ask them which ones they play and how easily you’d be able to have a go yourself (technology makes this a lot easier than it used to be)!
You may well surprise yourself and have quite a skill at driving a car around a racetrack or scoring loads of goals in a FIFA match. One thing’s for sure, your grandchild will be sure to enjoy it.
You can also play games on your iPhone. My 5-year-old grandson and I play Game Pigeon every week. This is a free app that attaches below your texts. After installing it, you just tap on it and pick from 1 of TONS of games, from Crazy 8 to pool. Below is a 2-minute how-to video to get started.
20). Make Dinner Together
As explained with my lunch suggestion earlier, having dinner with your grandchildren over video chat is a nice thing to do, especially on special occasions when you’re unable to be together. Older kids could probably achieve this on their own, but if you’ve got younger grandchildren, they may need the assistance of their parents.
Decide on an easy menu and then cook, sit down, and eat together as if you were there. Mealtimes can still be special, even if you’re unable to be together in person.
Whether your family tradition is freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies or a hearty apple pie, baking together is a super fun and interactive activity to do with your grandchildren over FaceTime. Both of you can get the same ingredients, pick a time, and then bake together!
22). Help With Homework
This may not sound like a particularly fun activity for your grandchildren, but offering to help with any schoolwork that they’re struggling with is always a good way to spend some time with them – even if it’s in a virtual sense.
It could be a mathematical formula, a piece of challenging literature, or even just a different pair of ears to bounce some ideas off. They may not need any help, but it’s always a good idea to offer, and I’m sure there’s something new you could teach them.
23). Dress Up Dolls
American Girl Dolls are incredibly popular, with just about every young girl owning one. So if you’ve got a young granddaughter, organizing a video call to play dress up dolls would certainly go down well. You could help her choose the clothes, bag, and shoes, as well as asking questions about where the doll is planning to go and who her best friends are. You could even read the doll a bedtime story and discuss what she may be dreaming about.