9 Online Games For Kids & Grandparents To Play When They're Not Together
If there's anything grandparents hate, it's being far away and unable to see their grandkids. At least thanks to technology, there are plenty of online games for grandparents and grandchildren to play together no matter how far apart they are. These interactive games are a great opportunity for them to connect, and for you to get a little break!
Multi-player online games and apps can be a little tricky for parents to navigate simply because of the "stranger-danger" factor. There are a lot of platforms where kids can connect with their friends but risk a random drop-in from a stranger, so you might feel the need to supervise their use. Depending on how old your kid is, your supervision could totally cramp their style and everything might end up in an argument. If they're playing with their grandparents, though, they have real-time supervisors in the game with them, so you can give your child freedom and privacy without having to worry about potential dangers (thanks, grandma and grandpa!).
Not all online games and apps are good for everyone, though. In picking the best one for your family, you'll want to consider a game that is age-appropriate for your child and user-friendly enough for their grandparents. If nothing else, you can always give your parents a quick FaceTime tutorial on how to add a Chrome extension or download an app before they start playing with the kids.
1. Play A Classic Card Game
You probably grew up playing Uno with your parents, and now your parents can play it with your kids from anywhere. Both of you will need to download the game on your phone or tablet and connect with each other to start playing.
Safety Note: Uno will ask for permission to access your GPS to connect you with people nearby to play whether they are friends or not, so you may want to opt out.
2. Go On A Virtual Hunt
Pokemon Go is an app that has users "hunt" Pokemon characters in real life spots. Even though grandparents and their grandchildren are in different spots, they can still hunt together and compare their catches with each other to determine who wins. It's a great opportunity for kids to get outside and walk around their neighborhood to see if they "spot" any characters.
Safety Note: Today's Parent advises setting hunting parameters for kids (or going on the hunts with them), using a family email for registration, and turning off GPS whenever the game isn't in use.
3. Virtual & Interactive Story Time
Grandparents can set up an account with Readeo, a safe online platform that allows them to read a story to their grandchild over video chat. Kids can actually see the pages of the book and even turn them for their grandparents. To use it, one person has to have a paid membership (you can get a 14-day free trial) and then they can connect with a guest for free.
4. Create Your Own Trivia
Kahoot is a platform used in a lot of schools, but can be used at home as a way to connect with other people (and maybe even do some sneaky studying). Kids and grandparents can "create their own Kahoot," like a trivia game, and have a friendly competition, or you can use some of the already-created Kahoot games and play them virtually. You can access the site for free or pay for different upgrade options, and it's best for more tech savvy grandparents & kids.
Safety Note: Since the entire platform is designed for kids and education, there are a lot of safety features built-in. You can check them out here.
5. Build & Explore Online Worlds
Grandparents and grandchildren can connect with each other through Roblox. It's similar to Minecraft, in that the "world" you're gaming through is created by users. You don't need a game console to play it (you can download an app or play it on XBOX). Grandkids can create a world/game for their grandparents to get through or they can build one together and then play in it after. It's a fun game that needs intermediate technology skills to play.
Safety Note: Roblox is a free community game, so there are lots of players all over the world. You'll want to utilize the parental tools to ensure your kiddo doesn't connect or chat with any strangers. You can learn more here.
6. Watch Movies & Shows Together
If you know how to add Chrome Extensions, then you'll definitely want to use Netflix Party to connect your kids and grandparents. It allows up to four people to sync up their Netflix stream so they can watch content together in real-time. It also has a chat feature so viewers can talk about what they're watching together via chat. If your kid can't read or spell yet, you can always let them talk to grandma and grandpa on the phone while they watch.
Safety Note: This is a newer extension so be cautious of any unintended glitches. If it's working as promised, though, the "party" can only be accessed by the party host and three guests who need a link to get in.
7. Race Each Other
Mario Kart Tour is the classic game you love through an app on Apple or Android phones. There are several tracks and users can play with up to seven friends at once (so everyone can play!). You'll both need a Nintendo account to play, and there is a monthly subscription fee.
Safety Note: You'll want to set your kids up with a Child Account so you can manage everything from your end. This is a global platform so kids can play against anyone in the world, so be sure to monitor the game and utilize parental controls.
8. Test Your Art Skills
Draw Something is the app-based version of Pictionary. You can both download the app to a phone or tablet and connect with each other for 1:1 games. This is a game that's better for kids who can read simple words, or if a parent is nearby to help a smaller kid.
Safety Note: You'll want to download this app to your device, not your kid's, because strangers can request to connect with you for a game.
9. Teach The Art Of A 'Double Jump'
Grandparents or kids can initiate a game of checkers and send the other party a link to join. There is no chat feature at this time, so they can either just play or they can set up a chat on another platform to talk while they play.
There is a fun interactive game for every age and every skill-level that will allow grandparents and their grandkids the opportunity to connect. A lot of these games even allow more than two players, so cousins can join in the fun to make it a whole family event. Sure, online games aren't the same as a real-life game night, but they're still a nice consolation prize.