Grand Playtime

My newest blogging brain child is featuring Grand Ideas for my fellow empty-nesters who are also grandparents. Funny, as I researched this idea on FB, Twitter and Google+, one of my daughter’s friends immediately messaged me asking if I was going to be a grandmother. NOOO, not anytime in the near future, but, since many of my friends are, I thought it would be grand fun to feature their babies. So, voila! Here is the very first post, with lots more fun to come!

I’ve turned a post about my babies’ playtime into one that might give a few ideas for play with the grand babies. Here are a few things that my babies loved to do that did not include television, video games or computers.


  1. We took cereal and other size boxes, wrapped them in brown craft paper and then drew windows and doors on them.  They would then take their matchbox cars, army men or Fisher Price Little People and create towns to drive around in.  My son would do this for hours.
  2. Empty 2 liter coke bottles were filled with dried beans or rice and set up as bowling pins.  They would use small rubber balls inside to avoid breaking things. This was when they were NOT toddlers and could swallow the beans or rice.
  3. Designate one drawer and cabinet (if you have the space) as theirs in your kitchen.  They have their own toys to play with while you are cooking.
  4. Lay on the floor, have one child lay their head on your tummy and then start laughing.  We’d get tickled at how each other’s head would bob up and down and this would sometimes turn into crazy laughter.
  5. Do the opposite.  Lay on the floor with one of your children’s head on your tummy and tell them they cannot laugh.  Trying not to laugh is just as much fun.
  6. Bounce a balloon around the room without letting it hit the floor.
  7. Storytelling chains.  One person starts the beginning of a story and each family member had to add to the story until we had an ending.  Time limits may need to be enforced if it’s near bedtime.
Bedtime Story Chains
Bedtime Story Chains


  1. An old-fashioned coloring book and crayons.
  2. Easel with finger paints.
  3. Age Appropriate Board Games.
  4. Go Fish and Old Maid Card Games.
  5. As my daughter was tucked in at night, she loved to make shapes out of the shadows on her walls created by her night light.  It was amazing how many different shapes we could come up with, night after night.
  6. Line up stuffed animals and “teach” them something new.
  7. My daughter loved to play with her hands.  Two fingers of one hand would be one person, and two fingers of the other hand another.  These two “people” would dance, talk, look out the window in the car and tell each other secrets.  She was so sweet about entertaining herself.
  8. Playing Dress-Up
A little southern belle in the making.
A little southern belle in the making.


  1. Indoor Camping.  We’d set up two chairs in the living room and drape them with a quilt.  They’d put pillows, stuffed animals and blankets in there and play for hours.
  2. “Painting” the house.  I would fill a cup with water and hand them a paint brush on the deck or porch.  They loved doing such a “big boy/girl” job.
  3. Scavenger hunts on rainy days.  We would hide the toys and just give hints to find them. This proved to be a huge hit on one Easter when we were living away from family. Hunting Easter eggs in the house was just not as much fun with your parents, so we turned it into a scavenger hunt, with the basket being the grand prize.
  4. Flashlight Tag once they were older.
  5. Hide and Seek
  6. Mother May I?
  7. Redlight/Greenlight
  8. Simon Says
  9. Sidewalk Chalk


An artist at work.
An artist at work.


  1. One family member starts by saying any word.  The next person has to say a word that starts with the last letter of the word the previous person said.  This can go on forever.
  2. I Spy.
  3. Gossip.  Whisper a sentence in one’s ear only once and see how the sentence changes as it’s whispered around the room.


  1. Tic-tac-toe
  2. Dot to dot
  3. Hangman


  1. License Plate – where we’d guess how many states we’d see as we traveled and write down each persons guess.  The person who got the closest to their number once we reached our destination, won the game.
  2. Billboard Alphabet.  Try to work our way through the alphabet before reaching our destination on billboards we pass.
  3. Dog and Horse Game.  First person to see a dog gets one point, 3 points for a horse.  First person to 21 wins.

What games do you play with your grandchildren?

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12 thoughts on “Grand Playtime

  1. Thank you so much for sharing these. I’ve been looking for simple, yet creative ways to entertain my daughter during this cold, cold winter we’re having, and your ideas have saved me! I love the idea of a designated kitchen drawer, and even the soda bottles as bowling pins. So simple, but so effective!

    1. Maria, it’s such a pleasure to hear from you. What a lovely thought, that some of my playtime ideas from years ago could possibly bring fun to a blogging friend and her precious daughter. Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed this. I will soon visit your site, too.

  2. I’m a mom, not a grandma, but I strongly believe in play that doesn’t involve electronics. One of our driving games is to pick a shape and compete to be the one to see some target number of them.

    Thanks for linking up at HDYDI!

  3. What good suggestions. No wonder both of my grandchildren are so creative. It was instilled at a very young age. Thanks for the wonderful pictures. It brought back memories of — spooky stories, socks with ruffles, hair bows (matched to each outfit!) and so many other blessings that brightened this life.

  4. After diner at night one of my friends and I would walk for exercise. While we were walking my daughters and hers would set up a pretend stage and when we returned they had a show for us with songs they had made up. We would sit down and and enjoy their performance. To this day when they get together they can still sing those songs that they made up and we get a good laugh. This was more fun than any IPad or cell phone.

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