Many websites are safe and fun for kids, but ones that offer special ways for grandparents and grandchildren to connect are rarer. The following family-friendly websites are either especially designed for grandparents and grandchildren, or they are uniquely suited to the grandparent-grandchild relationship. They also are free, at least for a basic membership. Many offer ideas for fun offline as well as online. So enjoy!
Cute animated characters live in homes with interactive features that grandchildren can click and enjoy, but that's just a small part of Blogglebeans. It's especially designed for interaction between grandparents and grandchildren ages 6-12, with parents supervising the fun. There are gifts to send, games to play, a messaging function and a calendar that family members can use to keep up with family events. The site is free for one grandparent-grandchild duo, and additional grandchildren can be added for a small fee.
2. Planet Fassa
Grandparents want grandkids to improve their minds, bodies and hearts, and that is a goal that is shared by Planet Fassa. This unique website has animated characters, stories and games like many websites for kids, but it adds reward points when members complete "nuggets." That's the Planet Fassa term for activities, both online and offline, that enrich the mind, body or heart, and Planet Fassa has a lot of them, along with a unique search engine for finding one that's appropriate for your circumstances on a particular day. And, in case you're wondering, Fassa stands for fun, activities, stories, service and awards. Is there anything in that mix that grandparents aren't gung ho about? I didn't think so.
Pronounced pee-ee-kay-uh, this website offers apps for iPhone, iPad or iPod, but I've included it on this list because of all the other features included on the website. There are close to a hundred crafts included on the site. Generously sized thumbnails make the list easy to scan, and the directions are clear and easy to follow. There's also a monthly coloring contest that awards an iPod Touch to one randomly selected winner, but you do have to sign up for the site newsletter to receive the coloring pages. Also, the Pi'ikea Street apps are exceptionally kid friendly, educational and fun.
Scoot and Doodle is a website that uses Google Hangout technology to make it easy to interact with family and friends. If you have already installed Google Hangout, it's easy to get started with Scoot and Doodle. You can have a video chat and share a doodle at the same time. It's a perfect setup for long-distance grandparents to play a game of Doodles with grandchildren. Up to 10 people can "hang out," and it's easy to invite people in your Google+ circles. Scoot and Doodle is well suited for interacting with your teen grands and young adult grandchildren, but it doesn't have the filters that you may want for younger grandchildren.