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35 Ideas for Interaction Between Grandparents and Grandchildren

Grandparent, added to MsDora's profile of teacher and counselor after she became a senior citizen, gives her a new interest to explore.

Photo Credit: charly-k

Photo Credit: charly-k

Strengthen Family Ties

Family experts became seriously concerned throughout the 20th and early 21st centuries. They noticed that adult input into the lives of their children was steadily decreasing.

The attitude of Generation X (born 1965-1979) craving freedom and leisure in their golden years did not help. Grandparents became less available than they previously were to make up for the missing attention of parents, who were busy making a living.

There are several other reasons why grandparents were not at their traditional post, yet we are all aware of the social and emotional impact grandparents and grandchildren make on each other.

Research shows that grandchildren do not respond to the role of a grandparent but instead to each person fulfilling the role. In other words, if grandparents, no matter where they are, fulfilled the role of grandparent to any grandchild needing adult interaction, both substitute grandparents and grandchildren would benefit. Here is a challenge in which we all are encouraged to participate.

The following 35 ideas for interaction between grandparents and grandchildren are intended to trigger even more ideas for fun, teaching opportunities, social and emotional satisfaction, whether the grandparents are biological or substitute. Each section begins with ideas suitable for interaction with the younger upward to the older. Some are good for any and every age.

"First Steps."  Photo by Georgios Jakobides

"First Steps." Photo by Georgios Jakobides

If grandparents fulfilled the role of grandparent to any grandchild [whether or it is their biological grandchild] needing adult interaction, both grandchildren and substitute grandparents would benefit.


(1) Compliments on their outstanding attributes—appearance, speech, etc.
(2) Commendation for deeds well done—anything from throwing the candy wrapper into the garbage bin to scoring a touchdown in little league baseball
(3) Encouragement and assistance to improve in areas in which they seem challenged
(4) Continual assurance of love in verbal expressions and hugs


(5) Stories featuring the grandchild to demonstrate his worth and his position in the family
(6) Family stories about love and loyalty as well as fights and forgiveness
(7) Bible stories—personal favorites and lessons learned from them
(8) Historical episodes about culture and customs “back in the day”
(9)Selected biographies of people who excelled in areas of interest to the grandchildren

"Grandma's Favorite."  Painting by Georgios Jakobides (1853-1932).

"Grandma's Favorite." Painting by Georgios Jakobides (1853-1932).

Show and Tell

(10) Sightings of different colors and shapes around the house
(11) Family albums of members past and present
(12) Drawings, paintings, any kind of craft done by family members
(13)Fashion parade of outdated clothes and shoes

Nature Exercises

(14) A walk in the park or an a trail
(15) A visit to the zoo, identifying animals
(16) Identifying plants in the yard and neighborhood
(17) Sea shells or rocks or butterfly collection
(18) Admiring the sunrise, or sunset or a rainbow

Media Exercises

(19) Listening, singing along, talking about and dancing to wholesome song lyrics
(20) Not just watching television; but watching a movie, turning off the television and talking about it
(21) Reading together (newspaper or magazine) testing comprehension, and discussing the subject matter
(22)Learning from the grandchild—features on your cell phone or on his iPhone, how to send an email etc.


(23) A birthday message, gift or visit on the grandchild’s birthday
(24) Special messages for first-day and first-day-back at school
(25) Meaningful gifts after an athletic game, craft exhibition, dance or music recital
(26) Attendance at graduations—school and extra-curricular classes

Long-Term Projects

For the very young, anything that is not completed in a day is long term. So one or two days may be it all it takes to satisfy the concept for some.

(27) Jigsaw puzzles
(28) Board game competitions, for example, “Who will be the first to win three games?”
(29) Collectibles: postage stamps, hot dog coupons, small round rocks
(30) Planting seeds and waiting for them to grow

Long-Distance Interaction

(31) Telephone calls to express love and inquire about the grandchild’s welfare
(32) Video chats on Skype or FaceTime in arranged regular meetings or sharing special occasions to match faces with voices
(33) Text messages—a teenager’s favorite way to communicate
(34) Instant Messaging on popular sites like MSN and Yahoo, or Facebook (if the teenage grandchild will befriend a grandparent)
(35) Snail Mail—the old fashioned way to express love from a distance through cards and gifts, for grandparents who are unable to use other media systems

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: I've been having a tough time finding something for my dad and daughter to do together. He's 70 and she's 15. They both love to dance. How would I go about finding something in my area? I've looked and can't find tap dancing for them to learn together. Is that a weird request?

Answer: Yours is a noble endeavor to find an activity that your father and daughter can share. Since there seems to be no tap dancing in your area, try something else. They can help you find something they both like if you talk with them. There's shopping in the mall; walking in the park; board games wherever they can find space; karaoke in the community center; driving on a country road; attending church services, concerts, sporting events, and the list goes on. If they want to, as much as you want them to spend time together, they will find a way.

© 2013 Dora Weithers


Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 27, 2014:

I share your excitement. You'll figure it out and do such fine. Grandparenting brings the wisdom out of you. Congratulations, again.

Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on August 26, 2014:

We have twin grandchildren due in December and they do not live nearby. Our only other grandchild has lived in the America town and we have seen him almost daily for 14 years. It will seem strange not to be able to see these twins as much and will require some different Grandparent skills. Thanks for this article

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 31, 2013:

Jackie, you may be right. What does a twenty-something year old know about grand parenting? Some do not even want the title. Those of us from "back in the day" are blessed. Thank you for your comment.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on October 31, 2013:

A great hub, and such a shame grandparents role seems to be changing, I suppose due to the fact they are younger in the worldly sense. I cannot imagine how lacking my memories would be without my grandparents.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 24, 2013:

Marlene, thanks for your interesting comment. Thrilled to find someone else who still likes snail mail. All the best to you and your grandsons.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on October 23, 2013:

I don't know what it is about being a grandparent, but I absolutely love being a grandmother to my grandsons. Your tips are wonderful. My favorite thing to do is send messages through snail mail. The grandchildren really seem to like that a lot.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 23, 2013:

Nell, it will be wonderful. I'm experiencing it for the first time. It is worth waiting for. Thank you for sharing.

Nell Rose from England on October 23, 2013:

I loved the picture it really went well with your words, and you are so right. lovely ideas and suggestions, I am not lucky enough yet to be a grandparent but I would love to be, wonderful!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 22, 2013:

Lastheart, so good to hear from you. It says something beautiful about you that you consider other children your grandkids. They are blessed to have you in their lives. Be patient concerning your kids (smile).

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on October 22, 2013:

I love the painting you used, it reminds me of me in my dreams with a grandkid. I still haven't been blessed with them. I do have some kids around my life which I consider them like grandkids.

This is very useful, thanks for such lovely suggestions. I will share and treasure.

Hope my kids change their mines and start the fabric.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 21, 2013:

Thank you Ben. Glad you enjoyed the article, and that you're in favor of healthy grandparent/grandchildren relationships. We know the value of it, and should try our best to bless the next generation in the same way we were blessed.

Benjamin Chege on October 21, 2013:

Hi MsDora. I enjoyed reading the hub a lot. It is the high time people went back into the times when grandparents were the most important figures in people's lives. Good tips on how to improve such interactions. Voted up, useful and interesting.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 18, 2013:

Frank, you're always so kind and encouraging. Thank you. bless you, too.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on October 18, 2013:

This is such an awesome article.. makes you think and the advice is so practical you corner the hub page market with hubs like these Ms Dora bless you

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 16, 2013:

Michael, thank you very much for your input. Very well written. Thanks for the votes.

Michael-Milec on October 16, 2013:

Hi MsDora

Powerful hub , listed here, so much wisdom and practical advices to invest into grand children's open - hungry souls. Love implementations of grandparents without vocal repetition of the word, is permanent and cherished for lifetime.

I'll always bless them.

Voted up and beautiful.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 15, 2013:

Thanks, Ebonny. What grandparent cannot create his or her own story featuring a beloved grandchild? I like this one too.

Ebonny from UK on October 15, 2013:

The story telling is a great idea/reminder. I particularly like the one about featuring the child within the story, a sure fire way to grab their attention. Great hub.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 14, 2013:

Faith, thank you for your continual support. I appreciate your kind comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 14, 2013:

Denise, thank you for sharing. So then it's true that we benefit from substitute grandparenting. Thank you for your input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 14, 2013:

Thanks, Sheila. I appreciate your comment.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on October 14, 2013:

Being a grandparent is a new adventure. I have found that the concept you have discussed here is definitely applicable for me in my life. All of my grandchildren are over a days' travel away from where I live. I am able to visit with them via telephone, Skype, and e-mail, but that does not substitute for real-life interaction. I have found that when I treat other children "as if" they were my grandchildren, I can have that desired interaction and make a meaningful contribution in someone else's life.

sheilamyers on October 14, 2013:

Very cool ideas and a great hub!

Faith Reaper from southern USA on October 14, 2013:

Dear MsDora,

What a most important hub here as to the role of every grandparent, for it is such an essential role indeed! Speaking of which, I enjoyed my grandchildren this weekend and we were blessed beyond measure to celebrate the life of my grandson on his first birthday just yesterday!

Affirmations of love and encouragement from a grandparent adds much to the life of those precious little ones.

You are always spot on in your insight and I thank you for sharing here in your writing on most important issues to benefit all families.

Up and more and sharing

God bless you, Faith Reaper

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 14, 2013:

Laurie, thank you for sharing. I also have one, so far. I'd like to follow your example and do all these interactions. All the best to you and our lovely granddaughter. She is blessed to have a great grand.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 14, 2013:

Thanks for your comment, Billy. Grandparents are like precious jewels; they shouldn't be left to waste away.

Rayne123 on October 14, 2013:

I have one grandchild and she is my life as most grandchildren are to grandparents.

I do follow all of these interactions with her when I can.

Now she is 9 and she is a home body. She use to love spending weekends with me or even my mom (great grandparent) but now she loves to be at home. I guess it's a good thing. She is content.

They grow fast and not one single moment should be wasted trying to be away from them or any child that is part of your family.

They are way to precious. Thank you for the great hub



Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 14, 2013:

There has been a subtle shift away from this type of interaction in the United States. You have given great suggestions so that children may better know and learn from their grandparents. Well done Dora!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 14, 2013:

LyricWriter, looking back it is easy to see how important our grandparents were. Your children can learn from you when you become a grandparent. All the best for such times!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on October 14, 2013:

Thank you for your kind comment, DDE. thanks also for the positive vote.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on October 14, 2013:

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. These are some great ideas Ms. Dora. As children, we don't see the importance of spending time with our grandparents, I guess we're too young to know better. I wish I had more time with my grandparents, certainly something that I will teach my children. Great article, very useful!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 14, 2013:

Ideas for Interaction between Grandparents and Grandchildren great hub and I m glad to have come across this new hub, well thought of and a very helpful hub indeed,interesting, useful and I voted up.