For most of us, we cherish spending time with Grandma and adore creating fond memories with her. Along with that, whether it’s a weekly dinner, family game night, a monthly get-together, or she currently lives with you, chances are really good that Grandma loves your time together even more than you do.
However, when planning the activities for the occasion, many of us have a hard time coming up with things to do that she will really enjoy. Jigsaw puzzles, baking, and making holiday cards are all great, but they do get a little “old” after a while. With that in mind, we thought we’d put together this handy guide for some ways to spend time with Grandma that she is almost certain to enjoy.
Start a New Tradition
As we mentioned above, Grandma grew up enjoying a lot of activities that just aren’t that prevalent these days. However, one of her favorite pastimes is making a hugecomeback in popularity and whether you go old school with some classics or you opt for a new one, she is liable to enjoy her time with you immensely. We’re talking about board games.
Starting a weekly game night with her is not only fun, it can actually help keep her sharp mentally as they can exercise her memory and other cognitive functions. If you’re able to be with her in person, games like Monopoly, Sorry!, Yahtzee, Chess, and Life are almost certain to be some of her childhood favorites and chances are, you enjoy them too.However, as mentioned in the previous section, these days you can get creative and play some board games on your video calls when you can’t be together. With both of you having a set of dice and pen/paper, you can play long-distance Yahtzee or Farkle (aka 1000/Zilch/and 6-dice). But if you really want to have some fun with her, try your hand at Boom Again.
This is a trivia game created for folks just like Grandma with questions on tv and film, music and literature, political movements and counterculture, school days and dating life, and MUCH more from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s. With over 2,000 questions and fun player tokens that she’ll get a kick out of, she’s almost guaranteed to have a blast as you take her hand in hand down memory lane.
Make Her Day Even When Apart
Despite what you may think, computers, texting, email, and the Internet haven’t been around all that long. Grandma grew up having to memorize important phone numbers and likely had a small notebook with mailing addresses and numbers she didn’t call often. If she wanted to connect with someone, she had to either be home, use a payphone, or write them a letter.
And chances are, she enjoyed it! Taking a few minutes once a week to be her “penpal” is almost certain to become a cherished memory for her. A handwritten note is SO much more personal than a quick text or phone call and it shows that you truly care enough to take time out of your busy week to spend a few minutes just for her.
If Granny is a Techie
If being a penpal isn’t in the cards and Grandma has a tablet or laptop, take the same idea and modernize a little bit. Sure, quick emails or text messages are nice, but a weekly Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime session with her can be just as special as a handwritten letter.
Again it shows that you care enough to not only check in with her regularly but that you plan and dedicate time just for her. Throughout the week, take a mental note of things you see or experience that you think she will enjoy hearing about and of course, be sure to actually listen to what she is saying.
Simply turning her out and uttering the occasional “uh-huh” while you text with someone else isn’t really spending time with her. Give her your undivided attention and show her how special she is to you. Ask questions too —about her fav shows, the book she is reading, her friends/neighbors, or anything else that you know is of interest to her. You can also get creative and incorporate this next idea into your video calls and really take the fun up a notch.
Combine Some Fun with a Little Education & Connection
No matter how much she knows about her ancestry and overall family history, you can safely bet that there’s a lot she doesn’t know. With DNA testing being extremely affordable as well as quick and simple to complete, you can both learn more than ever before about where your heritage really comes from.
Along with the DNA research, joining a popular genealogy service and sleuthing with Grandma to work through available public records, photos, and other member’s research can provide hours of fun. While learning a lot more about your family and their lives, she will remember old stories and share memories with you that you may not have heard otherwise.
It’s win/win/win. One last thing you may want to consider along these lines is a subscription to a yearbook site. The major ones offer the ability to include contact information and Grandma may well be able to connect with some old pals.
Do What She Likes to Do
If she’s a reader, try having your own personal “book club” and read the same book and discuss it with her. If she likes certain kinds of television shows or movies, watch them with her or catch up on the recap and reviews so you can talk about it in your letters or video calls.
If she really seems to enjoy playing board games with you, check out some other new ones every so often that you think she’ll enjoy. The point is, if she is having fun, you’re probably going to have fun too. Get creative and she will cherish every single minute.