Once your grandchildren get a bit older, it can be hard to find something in common, and even harder to find an activity you can all enjoy together, especially when you feel like you have to physically drag them away from their screentime in order to acknowledge your presence.
But here’s an idea: perhaps you should join ‘em, if you can’t beat ‘em. Playing computer games together is a very sociable way to spend a couple of hours and it’s an easy way to span the generation gap.
With that in mind, here are my suggestions for games you can play and activities you can discover with your grandchildren on the computer.
You’ll notice that none of them call for great agility or strength. This is deliberate; it’s your chance to prove that there is life in the old dog yet!
Can playing video games help as we age?
Consoles like the Wii and Xbox have a wide range of activity games like running, rowing and jumping that even the youngest grandchildren will love.
Games such as London 2012, the Official Video Game of the 2012 Olympics and Kinect Sports cost just a few pounds from any online retailer and will provide you with hundreds of hours of family fun.
While some of the games might favour youth, there are others like ten-pin bowling in which skill and technique are the most important attributes, opening them up to all abilities.
Video games to help with your balance
Not all computer games have a physical element to them. Games that involve an element of strategic thinking and planning are especially suitable for those grandparents who might have limited mobility and simply can’t take part in anything more physically demanding.
So you might like to look at games like Farming Simulator, Minecraft, and The Sims, all of which require long-term planning and encourage children to think about the consequences of their actions before acting.
They’re also great fun, and who knows; they might even listen to the wisdom of their grandparents!
If you don’t see as much of your grandchildren as you might like, playing computer games with them remotely can be a great way to build and maintain a long-distance relationship.
There are a huge number of games that enable you to do so and one of the best is good old-fashioned Battleships. You only need a computer at each end to play and your opponent just cuts and pastes the link (click on ‘friend’ to get your own, unique link to share with them) into their computer for you both to enjoy a game. (Or, more likely, games!)
When you are young, no one tells you that as you get older you stay 20-30 years younger mentally than you are chronologically. This means that you are way cooler than you grandchildren think you are, so why not buy a copy of Guitar Hero, wrap your tie around your head, and show them what real music sounds like?
Play a game of golf
While nothing beats taking your grandchildren to the local golf course for a round of golf, the current crop of computer games are surprisingly accurate.
The Tiger Woods series of games are getting some very good reviews and enable you to even things up a bit by showing them exactly how you gained your current handicap…
Read them a story
There are a number of websites that enable you to read your grandchildren a story, even if you are thousands of miles apart.
Some of them will charge you for the privilege, so why not just join them on Skype for free and spend time with them online by reading them their favourite story at bedtime?
Buy their own personal domain name
Why not register your grandchild’s name as a domain name? There are hundreds of websites that will register a domain name for you and now that the number of suffixes (i.e., the .com or .biz part of the website address) has been dramatically extended the cost can be as little as £10 a year to maintain it.
Once you’ve registered the domain name, you can develop the website with them. While building a website isn’t for the feint-hearted, it probably isn’t as hard as you might think because almost all of the websites that sell domain names will also offer website templates, turning the whole thing into a colour-by-numbers process.
Do you have a favourite computer game or activity that you play with your grandchildren? If so, we’d love to hear which one in the comments section below!