Sheltering in place? Connect with your grandkids through mail and delivery.

My husband and I (ages 68 and 69) would be “sheltering in place” even if we lived down the street from our four grandchildren. But when they are over 2,000 miles away, on the other side of the country and we’re all facing a crisis, the long distance almost causes a panic in this Gram’s heart.

So I’m staying busy with finding ways to help with the kids, ages 7 years and under, across the miles. Skype and Facetime are marvelous, and we especially like video chatting to read books.

But we grandparents can also stay connected to our grandkids just with postage stamps and an envelope! You don’t need to leave your home — all that’s needed are stamps, envelopes, and the ability to place out-going mail in your mail box. (BTW, if you need postage stamps, place an order with the post office online. Or ask a friend who has extra stamps to mail some to you.)

What can you send to your grandchild? It doesn’t have to be complicated or take a ton of creativity. Kids are an easy audience because they like getting anything in the mail with their name on it!

Here are some ideas of what you can mail and not have to leave your house:

Short letter. Kids love receiving even a short note in the mail. Let them know something about your life — without writing about the current virus crisis, of course.

Photo prints. There’s nothing kids like more than photos of themselves. Do you have some prints of photos you have taken of your grandchildren? Send a few photos with a short note, even if they are photos from when he or she was a baby!

Magazine photos. Look through magazines to find a photo that your grandchild would like. Cut a photo of a dog from a dog food ad, or find a picture of a vacation spot you’d like to visit or flowers you’d like to plant. Paste the picture to a sheet of paper and add a sentence or two.

Printable sheets. You can find dot-to-dot and other activity sheets available on many web sites. Just search “printable pages for toddlers” or another age group. Print out a couple of the sheets you think would be fun and mail them to your grandchild. (Better to send a small amount at a time!) Tell them you’d like to see their work the next time you Skype or Facetime.

Gifts are nice, too.

I’m not one to shower my grandkids with gifts but, darn it, I want to do something to help them have some fun, and give parents a break during this crisis time. I’m not leaving my house so browsing store aisles isn’t an option now. Luckily, I have Amazon Prime which allows for free shipping on many items so it’s fun for me to use and – cheap me! – select only those items that qualify for Amazon Prime free shipping. Many friends have luck with Walmart and Target shopping online.

Books are great items to order and send. It’s easy to find a good child’s softcover book for $4-$7. Yesterday, I picked out some titles and ran them by the grandkids’ mother to make sure I wasn’t duplicating books they already owned. We asked the parents to hold the boxes until the next time we Facetime with the kids so we can see them open the boxes.

A boxed book set is a special treat. This is the one I sent to Fiona, age 4, who loves The Princess in Black books. They are chapter books but with lots of colorful pictures.

Remember that you don’t have to spend big bucks to delight your grandchild. From sidewalk chalk (some with stencils!) and other outdoor fun items … to Hot Wheels cars and Polly Pocket dolls … there really are some wonderful and economical ideas.

PUZZLE or GAME: What fun for your grandchildren to get a new puzzle or game delivered to their house. And you don’t have to spend a fortune to cause real excitement. I have found that 100 piece puzzles are good for family play, like these four Animal Planet puzzles.

A “do-alone activity” is a great thing to have delivered. I have always loved the Melissa and Doug brand. For less than $5, you can send a fun item like this Make-A-Meal Sticker Pad.

How have you stayed connected to your grandchildren during sheltering in place? Please share — in the Comments section below.

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10 thoughts on “Sheltering in place? Connect with your grandkids through mail and delivery.”

  1. Great idea – thank you! (And also gives me an idea of what to do with the pile of cute animal postcards I bought once and never used….)

  2. Great ideas, Jane, thanks for sharing.
    My grandchildren are a bit older and I’ve tried to get some interest in all of us reading the same book and sharing thoughts and ideas, sort of an online book club.
    I also send articles and pictures that I know will interest them to keep a conversation going.
    All of these ideas can be adapted to staying in touch with the elderly who are shut in also.

    • Very cool ideas, Peg — which will work long after we’re over this crisis. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  3. Hi! Like you, I’m always trying to think of ways to stay connected with my grandkids. My daughter lives in Utah and I am currently in South Carolina. We each have a Facebook Portal. Since my daughter and son in law are working from home, my 9 y/o grandson with ADHD still needs to be homeschooled through this crisis which is nearly impossible. My husband and I suggested using our Portals so we could have a virtual classroom with him. It has sure given us great time to be with our grandson, and it has allowed my daughter to get her work done and maintain her sanity! We get started at 9 am Utah time and work til 11:30. Break for lunch and come back at 1. Finish up around 3-3:30. We make it fun for him too! So glad we are able to do this!

    • Nancy, I am in awe of you! Talk about loving and smart. You didn’t let the miles stop you! What you are doing for your grandson not only helps the family now but will become part of their memories of this incredible time in our lives. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I sent a Birthday box to our 2 year old granddaughter with lots of little things wrapped up separately for her to open one by one – one a day. Each one had some colorful ribbons and fancy tapes to pull off. A book about elephants with a small stuffed elephant. A small doll with some easy to pull on pull off handmade clothes (from socks or stretchy fabric). A fun tee shirt. A small squirt bottle to fill with water. A paint with water book. A little picture book made with photos of us and her and other family members and simple captions.

    • Sounds delightful, Barb! You might be starting a tradition for her birthdays now on — one present a day!


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