Finding games to play with grandparents is a lot easier than you might think
Spending time with grandparents is often full of laughter, love, and a little too much sugar. But even a spry and creative nana or papa could use a few ideas now and again. From card games to photo book exploration, here are some games to play with grandparents that span ages and offer mellow afternoon fun.
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1. Dealer’s choice. Your little card shark will love cleaning up at Go Fish, but she might also enjoy learning some other old-school games. Grandparents can choose from their favorites: Spoons, Crazy Eights, War, and Rummy are all winners!
2. On the record. Kids of all ages love to ask questions, so let them satisfy their curiosity by interviewing Gram and Pops. Questions might range from, “What is your favorite dinosaur?” to “Tell me about your first date.” This list is a great start!
3. Strike a chord. If either grandparent has a talent for a particular instrument, encourage them to share that skill with the kids! Whether it’s a formal piano lesson or a chance to simply explore and bang on the drums (or strum a guitar or toot a horn), they’re sure to make a joyful noise.
4. Crack open a book. A pile of picture books (or one riveting chapter book) and a comfy couch are the makings of a perfect day. Make a trip out of it by going to the library, or let the kids show off their collection and pick out books they think their grandparents will enjoy, too.
Related: Why It’s So Important for Kids to Spend Time with Their Grandparents
5. Freeze time. To memorialize special or long visits with grandparents, collect mementos of your time together to make a time capsule—think photographs, ticket stubs, drawings, and puzzle pieces.
6. (Grand)mother, May I? While running around outside might be a bit too exhausting for a few grandparents, several classic yard games need at least one participant who needs to stand relatively still. Some of our favorites include Mother May I; Red Light, Green Light; Simon Says; and all kinds of hand clap games.
7. Put the pieces together. Take over the dining room table, and clock in a few hours of peaceful silence (or happy chatter) by putting together a jigsaw puzzle. You can dust off something you have on hand, or grandpa and the kids can go out and choose something together.
8. Get cookin’. If both your tykes and their elders like to cook, let them team up in the kitchen and whip up a favorite family recipe. They can even read Baking Day at Grandma’s together for extra fun! We even have cooking games that are perfect games to play with grandparents.
9. Tea for two (or three or five). Raid grandma’s closet, break out the good plates, and cut sandwiches into triangles—voilà! Grandparents will love being served a cuppa and will likely appreciate the opportunity to reinforce gracious table manners.
10. Go for a walk. Even if there’s no summer sun calling your name, nature walks are fun during any season. Have the kids put on some comfortable shoes and a hat, and they can hold grandma’s hand while exploring a new trail or give her a “tour” of the neighborhood.
11. Hunt for treasure. One part riddle, one part hide and seek, an indoor treasure or scavenger hunt will delight grandkids (and grandparents) of all ages.
12. Plant memories—in a terrarium! With a simple glass bowl, soil, rocks, a few plants, and (our favorite part) a few of those tiny plastic dinosaurs that inhabit every corner of your home, grandparents will love helping their grandkids create a habitat for their most fearsome friends.
Related: The Most Popular Nicknames for Grandparents in Every State
13. Play "Guess Who?" Bust out the photo albums and play a round of "guess who?" where the grandchildren try to guess who family members are from older pictures. This is a great way to connect kids with people they haven't met and remind them we were all young once!
14. Plan an imaginary trip. Research a place you would like to go, even if it's a place like Hogwarts or a faraway country like Antarctica. Use a globe or even google maps to find the country; find books about the place or look it up together; create a packing list; plan an itinerary; and write postcards. This can be an ongoing project.
15. Speaking of scenarios... This one is great because it requires nothing other than two or more imaginations. You can sit on the couch, and if a grandparent is less mobile, they can 100% participate. All you do is create a "scenario": We're all on a baking show, the theme is [blank] and there are three rounds: cupcake, candy, and cake. What will you make? Another example: We're all on a rocketship heading to [planet name]. Talk about your astronaut names, where you went to school, how long it takes to get there, what your jobs are on the spaceship, and what you see out the window. What happens when you land? Do you discover a species? Is it cold?