Saturday, November 24, 2012

4 Ideas for Playing with Grandchildren Ages 2-5

In the year of 2012 I posted what have become some of my favorite blogs posts about my grandchildren. This post is about what you can expect of your grandchildren at play. It should help you understand what your grandchild will find interesting and fun. I focused on ages 2-5 for a starter.  I hope you like it.

Here is the list...keeping it simple just for you today!
The backyard toys all gathered as pieces
of a very big pretend train! Who knew?
  1. A 2 year old loves to explore and play independently. Bubbles, balls and outdoor exploration will thrill them. Grandparents are the safety officers in this case. Watching, creating new explorations experience for the child or simply cleaning up the mess of toys may be the role a grandparent plays. I have watched my grandchild drag out every toy in the house and never settle into any one thing. BUT on other occasions when I allowed the play to evolve naturally, I have seen sorting, creative pretend and so much more. It is a waiting game and the less interference the better. 
  2. At 3 the child may be ready to play at a tea party or dress up so they can be a "Buzz Lightyear". A box of dress up clothes is perfect at this age. My grandchildren love books and will listen to several simple stories to delay bedtime or nap time. I take advantage of this time...grandmothers can do that. (Remember that a book with too many words will bore them and they will not stay with you.) A trip to the park is alway fun thing to do. 
  3. A 4 year old will love to visit a friend and play with their toys. They may still want to play in a parallel way but they can enjoy the other child's company. I think sharing is a hard concept for children and this is good practice for what is to come next year. Many children are still at the parallel play level at this age. Taking grandchildren to the park or a children's museum can be a appropriate adventure at this age. 
  4. At 5 children can begin kindergarten in most of the United States. Grandparents can play a big role at this time in a child's life. They love a visit at school or a party on a holiday with the Grandmother playing the part of "room Grandmother". Schools do need volunteers so this may be a way to be around and watch your grandchildren grow. Note: children of 5 have a fuzzy concept about those things that will bother their conscience later on. They might lie and will take things home from school that belong to the school. Do not be alarmed but help them understand that these behaviors are not acceptable. Grandparents can reinforce honesty concepts.
In my experience children are very physical and base their self image on how fast they can run or jump. Being willing to create little games and be the cheer leader is always a winner.

Our grandchildren love my husband. He is willing to hold a toy or stack books. He just sits and watches. I think he has it figured out when it come to small children at play. They run to his arms and revel in his attention. He never has a plan for them and does not direct their play. They love it!

I hope some of this has been helpful. I was a preschool and kindergarten teacher and have a degree in elementary education. I worked in a "developmentally appropriate" classroom. If you are interested in more details I encourage you to do some additional reading. It will be very helpful for you. We forget what a baby acts like by the time grandchildren come along. A good review is in order sometimes.

Related articles
A family that plays together really does stay together (
Grandparent Craft Ideas for Preschool (
Grandparenting in the Digital Age (
How To Have Fun With Your Grandchildren (Child Development Institute)


  1. I’ve been reading to my grandkids over the Internet. It’s great to be able to share story time even when we’re not together. It has enhanced my relationship with my grandkids. I went to and used the code readtome92 and got a 1-month free trial! They have a library of books for you to choose from.

  2. Your grandkids seem to be having lots a fun with all those toys. You surely know how to play with them. I hope I can do the same thing with my future grand children. I want to retire in style too!


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