Tag Archives: video call

How to have more fun at Christmas using Video Chat

With social distancing in place and travel restricted, video chat is a great way to share the Christmas spirit with family , especially kids and grandkids. As a result of the COVID 19 virus many grandparents haven’t seen their grandchildren this year and won’t see them this holiday season. You can assure that you won’t be one of those grandparents if you use video chat. Here are some ideas for holiday fun.

Holiday Decorating

Help decorate the holiday tree with a grandchild by sending ornaments and watching as kids place them on the tree. You can also watch as stockings are hung. Using a mobile device, tablet or phone, tour your home and show others your tree and decorations. Are there outdoor decorations that would be fun for you to share? Children quickly learn how to use a mobile device and are excited to show you their decorations and holiday art.

Visit with Santa

Kids are discovering how much fun a visit with Santa can be using video. In fact, parents are learning that some younger children are less apprehensive about talking to Santa when they are in their own home and on their parent’s lap. You can schedule a live, personal visit with Santa visit by using one of the apps in the Google play store or Apple store. Online check out hiresanta.com to learn more about virtual visits.

Holiday Gift Exchange

Have you ever sent a gift to a child and then wondered what they really thought about it? When we send gifts to our grandchildren for birthdays and holidays we always request that they be opened during a video call. It is especially helpful for young children to see who sent the gift. For grandparents it’s priceless to see the child’s response and share their excitement.

Be prepared, as the reaction to your gift may not always be what you expect or hoped for. I once set pajamas that I thought my two-year-old grandson would love. What I learned was that the stickers on the package were much more interesting to him than the gift. As a result of seeing his reaction, I added stickers to other packages that I mailed and, I didn’t send clothes to my other grandchildren until they were older and could enjoy the gift. It wasn’t long before dinosaur pajamas were a big hit.

As children get older they often like to pick out their own clothes. You might consider having a catalogue sent to children so they can select items that they like. I often do this with the Lands End Children’s catalogue and my school age grandchildren. The package is placed under the tree until the next video chat when we can be with them virtually to open the gift.

Fun Holiday Activities

Sing holiday songs together. Email the words to your favorite songs and enjoy singing with others. If you play an instrument join in. A family holiday concert is a fun way to celebrate. Read holiday stories such as The Night Before Christmas, Bear Stays Up for Christmas or The Christmas Star to grandchildren. We often purchase holiday poppers and open those at the end of a meal. Kids enjoy the activity and the small toys inside the popper.

Share a Holiday Meal

Add a tablet or other mobile device to your holiday table and share a meal together. Plan the time when you can join your family virtually and share favorite holiday stories. Plan the menu so you are sharing some of the same traditional foods. Demonstrate how to prepare a favorite traditional recipe or bake holiday cookies during a chat.

Lillian Tibbles PhD is the author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

Enjoy July 4th With A Video Chat

The 4th, as the holiday is sometimes referred to, is often celebrated with family events. This year, with the Corona virus present more families than ever are separated from their loved ones. Independence Day is a national holiday celebrating the date that the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence. Although the separation of the Thirteen Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776 the document providing for the legal separation wasn’t finalized until July 4th.  Although there is some debate about whether the Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th that is the date that appears on the document.

Create new traditions that connect you with your family across the miles. Wave or display a flag when you say hello when making a video call. Talk about celebrating the country’s birthday and play or listen to patriotic music. With social distancing there are fewer parades, picnics, and sporting events that the child may be participating in, or that you can share with the child. If you can capture an outdoor event like a parade, or fireworks do it from a distance and share on a tablet or phone. For older children and teens create a trivia game with facts about this period in history.

Read History for Kids: The Fourth of July for Kids by Ian Fraser, or The Fourth of July Story by Alice Dalgliesh, The Night Before the Fourth of July by Natasha Wing or F is for Flag by Trudi Strain Trueit, or any of the over 50 books written for children about this holiday.

One of my favorite video chat visits was listening to and watching my grandchildren’s excitement in describing the parade that they had just attended. They proudly displayed the beads and candy thrown from parade floats and waved small flags. Seeing the excitement on their faces was priceless. If their parade has been canceled this year, talk about what they recall about parades they have attended in the past.  If they were able to attend an outdoor event ask what they did to stay a safe distance from others and why that is important this year.

 Lillian Tibbles is a grandmother and author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

Building Strong Bonds With Kids During The Corona Virus

My grandchildren and I have been socially distancing for the past 10 years. It wasn’t because of a virus. Two of my grandchildren live 3000 miles away from me and always have. A third grandchild also lives in a different state. Today the Corona virus has separated many families and I want to let you know that developing strong bonds with children is possible when using video chat.

There are many video chat apps that will connect you to the children you love. Whether you use Skype, FaceTime, Google Duo, Facebook, or Zoom you are only seconds away from developing strong bonds. It’s easy and it’s fun. If you are not chatting with kids get started today. Children love to see a face as well as hear your voice.

Interactive chats build relationships. An interactive chat is one where there is action and communication between two people. Children become motivated to pay attention, to participate, and to learn when you interact with them. If you play an echo game and repeat a baby’s sounds, he will be draw to your voice. Toddlers love to play peek-a-boo. Using a scarf to hide behind or moving away from the camera and then popping back delights young children during a call.

Reading to a child and discussing the book, or having the child make the sounds of animals or vehicles in a story is fun and interactive. Show and tell is one of my grandchildren’s favorite interactive activities. Sometimes I do the showing, presenting an object like a shell that I have found on a walk. The children love to show me books, toys, clothes, and sports equipment. One of my grandson’s wanted to show me how well he had learned to throw a football and we were both excited as it flew across my computer screen.

Start today and have fun building strong family bonds!

Lillian Tibbles is a grandmother and author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

Share Books With Sound With Skype and FaceTime

One of the activities all my grandchildren love to share on Skype is reading books with Dinosaur350sound. It all began when I purchased Dinosaur written by Mark Radar and illustrated by Casey Sanborn. Dinosaur, whose name is Stegosaurus, is searching for his friend Frog. There is a button to make the sound of Stegosaurus, a second button to hear Stegosaurus stomp as he searches and a third button to hear Frog. What child doesn’t enjoy a game of hid and seek!

“Grammy, read Dinosaur.” All my grandchildren began to request that I read this book. When they came to visit the book was there for us to read together and it was enjoyed as an old familiar friend. Since that time I have added other books with sound. Roger Priddy has written many including Noisy Trucks. Others include Polar Bear, Polar Bear by Bill Martin and Around The Farm by Eric Carle. Consider reading books with sound as they have great appeal to children 16 months to school age.

How To Get Help With Skype For Video Chat

For those that are new to video chat consider using the Skype software. Skype, which is one of the most established video chat apps, has good access to support for users. It’s easy to find answers to your questions on the website Skype.com by selecting Get help at the top of the page, and then selecting Skype support. A page with a large search screen pops up. Just type in your question and click on the magnifying glass, or hit enter, to search for an answer. You can get Skype for your computer, without charge by selecting the link to download the software.  For tablets and phones you go to the app store for your devise and download the app. You will be instructed to create a user name and password. Skype is available for Apple and Android devices.

When you are signed in to use Skype you can also easily access this same help page. To the right of your name select the three small dots. Then select Help and feedbackA pop up box will appear where you can select Get help That also takes you to the Skype help page.

shutterstock_90272782-650If you are new to Skype select the smiley face icon to Get Started. Find the list for answers about the latest version of Skype, and below that a list for frequently asked questions – FAQ

You can find the answers on the help page about using Skype for messaging, connecting to Facebook, using different devices and much more………..

If you are a visual learner there are also short videos available on YouTube that will help you to enjoy using Skype. 

Lillian Tibbles is a grandmother and author of 3 books about Video Chat with Kids.
Her latest book How to Have Fun with Kids & Grandkids Using Video Chat is available
in both digital and print format.

Reading and Skype

Share stories with children or grandchildren on Skype no matter how far away you are. Reading to children on Skype or Face Time demonstrates your enthusiasm for reading and can encourage a child to read and love books. When reading to children during a video call shutterstock_57014594smtry using different voices for different characters or props to attract interest. Hold the book page close to the webcam after reading each page so the child can clearly see the pictures. Read poems and stories, and for older children, try newspaper or magazine articles.

Take a look at Pam Allyn’s book What to Read When for an extensive annotated list of more than three hundred book titles for children from birth to ten years. One of my grandson’s favorite books to read with me is Dinosaur. It has three sound buttons, stegosaurus’s sound, the sound of his stomping as he tries to find his friend Frog and the sound that Frog makes.

Sending a book that you have on Skype or Face Time to the child is a special gift.

If you have a favorite book to read on Skype contact me and let us know. 

Why Using Video Call Is Important for Families That Are Separated

What is the most important reason to learn to use video call apps like Skype and FaceTime? Video call can keep you connected to your family. I just returned
from Wyoming and a visit with two of my grandchildren. I am separated from my daughter and her children by 3,000 miles. My son and his family are 700+ miles from where I live in Florida. Despite the separation of those many miles, my grandchildren know me well and are comfortable being with me when we visit in person.

Upon my arrival in Wyoming my 3 year old grandson ran into my arms. I picked him up and we hugged and felt the love that we share for each other. His mom had told him that I would be arriving and he waited expectantly for the visit. Later he said “Grammy I have lots of people that love me,” it warmed my heart.

Our 6 month old greeted me with a big smile. Because our Skype visits are frequent, both children have no difficulty being with me, even when months pass between actual visits.

Another important reason to use video call is that young children are much more comfortable sharing their thoughts when they can see you face to face, rather than on a telephone call.  I know what my grandchildren like. Chatting online I learned that our 3 year old loves superheroes and he was very excited to receive some hero stickers from me.  He also loves to help bake and cook simple foods. So I made opportunities for us to prepare muffins and simple breakfast dishes together.  Video call has kept us close. If you haven’t tried it, do it today. Don’t miss out on this wonderful way to stay connected.

Contact me and share your video call ideas

Gardening with Children on Skype and Facetime

Looking for ways to engage children in a video call with Skype or FaceTime? Think about the many options available for gardening. We just celebrated Earth Day with our 3 year old by taking care of plants outdoors. One year ago in April I planted the top of pineapple Butterfly3in a small pot. Over the year my grandson watched it grow on Skype. As it outgrew the small pot we shared the fun of putting it in a larger pot and watching it grow even more. Last week when he visited us in Florida he got to water the pineapple plant along with herbs and other plants outdoors. By next April we hope to have our first pineapple to enjoy.

Children love to watch plants grow and through video call you can encourage and share the fun. For younger children you can start with a simple carrot, pineapple top or herbs. Edible gardens are fun to share during video calls and on special visits to your home. Plants that attract butterflies also attract children as they watch in awe as the butterflies appear. With older children gardening provides an opportunity to discuss weather and the environment, use of herbs, insects, water conservation and many other science topic. Here are some great resources to learn more about Gardening with kids:

 www.kidsgardening.org

www.pinterest.com/educatorsspinon/gardening-with-kids

urbanext.illinois.edu/firstgarden

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Gardening_for_children

http://www.almanac.com/content/plants-attract-butterflies

ltibbles@videocallwithkids.com

 Contact me and share your video call ideas

 

 

Video Call, Children and Music

SINGERGIRL_59431939

Using music during a video call is a wonderful way to interact with children. Singing Pat a Cake, Pat a Cake got the attention of my grandson at five months of age. As I began singing he looked directly at me on the computer screen and smiled while his mother put his hands together and clapped. Repetition of favorite songs is so much fun for children.

Itsy Bitsy Spider is another favorite.  Playing games with songs and gentle touch will pull the child’s attention to the computer screen. Children as young as five or six months can play with a little assistance. A parent holding the child can gently move her fingers up the baby’s arms to stimulate the itsy bitsy spider climbing the water spout. Clapping baby’s hands together while singing Pat a Cake helps the child participate with you in a musical game they delight in. There is no shortage of great children’s songs. If need to refresh your memory look in my book Learn to Video Call With Kids where I list over fifty favorite children’s songs. Children’s songs can also be found on the Internet.

Two and three year olds can play simple instruments and a good quality child’s xylophone is great fun for the child to play for you during a video call. Older children who are taking music lessons can share a new song they have learned during your call. If both you and the child play an instrument, play a song together during your video call. You may be miles apart but you will enjoy the activity as if you were in the same room.

 

 Contact me and share your video call ideas

 

Play Hide and Seek on Skype or FaceTime

I just love all the great video call ideas that I get from friends and family. My friend Carol recently shared her experience playing Hide and Seek with her 3 year old granddaughter Meghan. Hide and Seek is a game where one player attempts to conceal their location while other players attempt to find them.

This is a favorite game for children of all ages. Hide and seek can be played indoors or shutterstock_143948665weboutdoors, with several children or just one. With older children and multiple players outdoors would be more practical. A tree or other landmark is designated as Home Base. As the person who is It searches, all players attempt to reach the safety of Home Base.

With a young child remaining in one room that has some favorite hiding places is just fine. Setting down some rules is a good idea. For example Megan knew in advance that she would be hiding in the family room only. Grandma would be It – the person who attempts to find the child.

Meghan’s mom signed onto Skype on her mobile phone in Pennsylvania. Carol was sitting at home in Florida. Meghan was excitedly waiting to play one of her favorite games with her grandmother.

To begin the game the person who is It covers their eyes with their hands and slowly counts to ten – grandma began to count while Meghan scampered to one of her favorite hiding places. The person who is It is not allowed to peek until the count is done. Once the person who is It is finished counting they shout Ready or not here I come!  

With a little help from mom – moving the mobile phone to look behind the sofa and under a table, grandma was able to search for Meghan. Finally two little feet where spotted behind a curtain and Meghan squealed with delight. Of course, she wanted to play again and again.

Don’t let the distance stop you from enjoying playing games with the children you are far away from. Be creative – have fun with video call!

 Contact me and share your video call ideas
LTibbles@videocallwithkids.com