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10 FaceTime Games Grandparents Can Play With The Grandkids

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Without a doubt, one of the hardest things about quarantine is not being able to visit and spend time with family. This can feel especially hard for grandparents, who are used to those precious moments with little ones, and for the grandkids who miss their Mimi and Gaga. Fortunately, we do have FaceTime, and there are lots of simple, easy games out there grandparents can virtually play with the grandkids.

FaceTiming (or Zooming or Skyping or hologramming or whatever it if you're doing to stay in touch via technology) can of course be awkward, and it is most definitely not the same thing as climbing into Nana's lap and having her cuddle you and give you a vanilla wafer cookie and read you Clifford.

Which is probably why it can be difficult to hold a child's attention when it comes to FaceTiming grandparents. It just isn't as fun or cozy. And it can also be hard for grandparents, too. Even if they're the most tech savvy of seniors, it can still be some heavy lifting to keep a 5 -ear-old engaged in a conversation. There are only so many ways to ask, "So what did you do today?" And considering that the answer is, most likely, "I played inside," well. That just makes it trickier.

So why not jazz up those phone calls with some simple, easy games? The below games require very little in the way of supplies. All you need is grandma or grandpa, a computer or phone, and a little imagination.

1. Rock, Paper, Scissors

How about a classic game of 'ol Rock, Paper, Scissors? Nothing easier than that! Just give it a 1, 2, 3, and remember that paper covers rock, rock crushes scissors, and scissors cut paper. One way to add a dash of silliness could be that every time someone loses, they either have to do a little dance, make a silly face, or act like an animal of the other person's choosing.

2. Charades

Yes — tried and true charades, and you can make it as difficult or easy as you like. Just come up with different animals or characters or machines, or whatever the grandkid might be into and recognize, then have fun acting it out and guessing who or what the other person is. Here are some easy ideas to get you started.

3. Read My Lips

Another goofy guessing game: take turns putting each other on mute and trying to guess what the other person is saying. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but trust me that this will bring some giggles.

4. Name That Tune: Clapping Version

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Clap out songs for each other and do your best to guess what song the other is thinking of. Depending on the child's age, the songs might veer more toward "Bingo" and Itsy Bitsy Spider" and less toward Camila Cabello, but either way it's a bit of percussive fun, and who knows, maybe Grandpa can teach your kids "We Will Rock You."

5. Find Me Something

This one kind of makes me laugh, because it sort of sounds like one of those games parents come up with to keep the kids busy or out of trouble, like "The Quiet Game." But no, little kids will actually probably get a kick out of this one. You just take turns asking each other to find something yellow, or fuzzy, or sparkly — whatever you can think of — then see what the other person can scrounge up around the house.

6. I Went to the Store

Remember this memory game? One person starts off saying "I went to the store..." and then names an item, like milk or whatever, then the next person begins, "I went to the store and got milk AND eggs..." And so on and so on, with each person trying to remember the new addition to the list. Of course, nowadays I guess it should begin, "I went to the store in my mask and gloves and tried to get Clorox Wipes but there weren't any and so instead..." Kidding. Kind of.

7. Would You Rather

I tend to associate this game with boozy college parties, but of course it can totally be repurposed to play with littles ones. Just make the questions age appropriate! Stuff like, would you rather have spaghetti for fingers, or cry roly polys? Or if that's too weird: Would you rather go skiing or to a water park? Why? You get the idea.

8. Who am I?

Alright, so this one might require a few props. But it doesn't have to be complicated. You can throw a red dishtowel on your head and pretend it's red hair. Then give clues so the child can guess who you are. "I live in the ocean. I have a long, shimmery tail and I love to sing." "Are you Ariel?" "Yes!" (Here's a list if you're feeling stumped on character ideas.)

9. What If?

This is another one that's all about imagination. You just start off with questions: "What would you do if..." What would you do if your bed turned into a unicorn? Where would you ride it? What would it eat? Etc. etc. You can take turns asking each other questions, building on your tale. Maybe Grandma can even write it all down as it goes along, creating a story the child can illustrate later.

10. Pictionary

Reliably easy, reliably fun. Position some paper where the other can see it (tape it to the wall, use an easel, whatever you need to do) and then have the other person guess what you're drawing. If you need help coming up with what to draw, here's a handy Pictionary Generator.