Parenting expert shares creative ideas for kids to connect with grandparents right now

With social distancing practices still commonplace, it can be difficult to find meaningful ways to connect with loved ones right now, especially grandparents, who are at a higher risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19.

“It's important to really stress to your kids how important it is to stay in touch with grandparents, especially in a time when, you know, they can be especially lonely,” Laura Clark, editorial director of Mom.com and CafeMom.com, tells Yahoo Life.

“Chatting is nice over FaceTime and seeing everyone's face is amazing, but being able to get hands-on with projects, it just makes it feel more personal,” Clark explains.

So what are some ways kids can connect with grandparents besides FaceTime?

Create travel postcards.

“Travel postcards are such a great activity for grandparents and grandkids because they can ‘travel’ by creating a scene on a postcard and then leave little clues and mail that to the grandparents,” Clark says.

Don’t be afraid to make it a bigger project than just drawing and coloring. Break out the magazines, newspapers, scissors and glue, and let your kids’ imaginations take them wherever they want to be in the world.

“Maybe it's Bermuda. Maybe it's Sweden. Maybe it's who knows where,” Clark says. “It's just something that can make for a fun keepsake for sure.”

Do a scavenger hunt.

“Create little lists, where you come up with super silly things that grandparents or grandkids can find in their homes,” Clark explains.

“It makes you really be more attentive to what you have in your house,” Clark says, which can be especially fun in a time when everyone is spending a lot of time at home. Kids can make a list of items they’ve noticed in their grandparents’ house and vice versa, and it might be interesting to see what they’ve noticed in your home that maybe you haven’t.

“It gets kids walking around and just testing out all of their senses, maybe in a way that they hadn't before,” Clark says.

Write tag team stories.

“I love this. Tag team stories, and if you love to write, this is right up your alley,” Clark says. Let either the grandparents or grandkids start the story, and then “tag” the next person to write the next part.

“It can be as silly or dramatic or hilarious as you want it to be,” Clark explains. It’s also an activity that lets kids of all ages test their story-telling skills. For younger kids, maybe they can handwrite their portions of the story to work on motor skills at the same time.

“And maybe you want to bind it at some point,” Clark says, which can make for a gift or keepsake when the story finally comes to an end.

Start a book club.

“My daughter, who is 13, is getting books from her grandmother that her grandmother has recommended and read as a teen or as a child herself,” Clark says.

“The relationship with teens and grandparents is a really special one, and it's a little bit different from the relationship with younger kids,” says Clark. A book club is a great idea for older kids and teenagers, whose maturity allows for a richer and deeper connection that can be shared with grandparents, Clark explains.

Send a surprise gift.

“If grandparents are on Amazon, you know, if they have a wishlist somewhere, it doesn’t matter where, log on and send them a gift from their wishlist,” Clark suggests.

It’s a great idea for grandparents but can also be shared with any loved ones. “Getting a package in the mail is so fun, no matter what it is,” says Clark.

For more fun kids’ tips and ideas, visit Mom.com and CafeMom.

Video Transcript

LAURA CLARK: While it might be harder to see grandparents in person these days, there are so many ideas that kids and parents can take advantage of to make them feel closer.

Travel postcards are such a great activity for grandparents and grandkids, because they can travel by creating a scene on a postcard, and then leave little clues, and mail that to the grandparents. Not only is it fun and creative, but it's really hands-on and that's something that you can keep at the end of the day.

You can also do scavenger hunts. Create little lists where you come up with super silly things that grandparents or grandkids can find in their homes. It makes you really be more attentive to what you have in your house, and it gets them walking around, it gets kids walking around, and just testing out all of their senses, maybe, in a way that they haven't.

I love this. Tag team stories. And if you love to write, this is just right up your alley. I say tag team, because either the grandparents or the grandkids can start the story. And then kids can say, tag, you're it, grandma or grandpa. But they get to add their details, and more sentences, and more-- more plots, and twists, and turns to the story. And maybe you want to bind it at some point. And maybe you want to turn it into your gift or a keepsake. And it can be as silly or dramatic or hilarious as you want it to be.

You know, grandparents can send over books. I know that my daughter, who's 13, is getting books from her grandmother that her grandmother has recommended and read as a child or as a teen herself. And my daughter can recommend books for her, so they can start kind of, like, this little book club.

Other ideas include like a wishlist surprise. So if the grandparents are on Amazon, you know if they have a wishlist somewhere, it doesn't matter where, log on and send them a gift from their wishlist. And so getting a package in the mail is so fun, no matter what it is.

It's really important for kids to connect with grandparents right now. Chatting is nice over FaceTime and seeing everyone's face is amazing, but being able to kind of get hands-on with projects and-- it just makes it feel more personal, for sure.