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Let's start a list of books and games to send to grandkids

Since our grandchildren will be at home for the next six weeks ( at least) and we cannot visit, I would like to circulate ideas for good books, boardgames, and puzzles that can be ordered online and sent.

I am looking for ideas for a 6-year-old girl, and several 8-year-old boys, who read and game at the level of a 10-12 year-old. They have finished all the Harry Potter books. And several editions of the board game Ticket to Ride ( which we all love to play)

I gave one of them the board game Scotland Yard for Christmas and it was a big hit. Lots of fun to play with him. The players co-operate in finding a mysterious criminal in London.

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457 posts

I haven't read the books, may be a little too old for your boys, but a 13 year old nephew loved the Alex Rider series written by Anthony Horowitz.

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505 posts

Let's see...for the 6-year-old: Anything by Mo Willems (The Pigeon, Elephant and Piggie, etc.); Kate DiCamillo's "Mercy Watson" and "Tales from Deckawoo Drive"; math books by Greg Tang; "Toys Go Out" by Emily Jenkins; "My Dog is as Smelly as Dirty Socks" by Hanoch Piven (you could order fun art supplies to go with it); "You Read to Me, I'll Read to You" series by Mary Ann Hoberman (fun to read on phone or FaceTime/Skype), Esther Averill's "Jenny and the Cat Club", the "Babymouse" series; nature books by Steve Jenkins. I could go on and on...yes, I'm a recently retired primary teacher and these are some of the favorites. I know there are a lot of great series for independent readers, too.

When my son was 8 and a strong reader (OK, so 20 years ago!), he enjoyed the humor in the "Hank the Cowdog" books. Maybe the Inkheart series? If they are budding travelers, scientists, or historians this could be a great opportunity for them to really delve in to a topic (topics!) of interest. The website should have some great suggestions for your grandsons.

So glad to hear another family plays Scotland Yard! My sister introduced us to this game about 35 years ago. Now our 20-and 30-somethings look forward to playing it at every family gathering. Can't wait until the next time we can gather together to play!

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113 posts

After my son finished the Harry Potter books (he was at the time 8 too!), he enjoyed reading the Wings of Fire series by Tui Sutherland, the first Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer, and the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini. He and his schoolmates also devoured the Warriors series by Erin Hunter.

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15981 posts

...that can be ordered online and sent.

But doesn't that mean that some folks have to go to work to take the orders, others have to locate the toy in the warehouse and send it to shipping. Still others have to prepare it for shipping, and then someone else has to load the toy onto a truck for transport to an airport, from which a crew has to fly it to the location X. Or maybe someone drives it cross- country to location X. When it reaches location X, someone unloads it....and on it goes until reaching beloved grandchild's home.

How many hands have to clock in daily - some of them with their own little folks at home - to get the ordered toys from Point A to B?

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16694 posts

I believe there are lots of people who want to keep working. Transport and warehouse people cannot work from home.

It is retail,stores that are shutting down to protect their employees. Any store with an online presence would welcome some orders they can fill and ship. The post office and UPS are not stopping work; their employees have little contact with the public and can continue their work in safety.

Amazon is working full bore, and hiring more workers and drivers. They are temporarily suspending deliveries to their warehouses of non-essential items so they can stock more sanitizer, TP, diapers, medicine, etc. to fill the demand. But don't think ordering a few things to cheer up a child will interfere with their workforce activity; they are prioritizing things as they should.

An alternative to Amazon would be smaller vendors with an online presence; for some an "etail" business may be the only way they can survive.

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2212 posts

So, I bought two copies of books for each of my grandchildren. I sent them 1 and I kept the other. They are out of school, so we schedule FaceTime, which gives mom & dad a few minutes break. The older one and I take turns reading a page out of Harry Potter, the 6 year-Old (science & history) and I are looking at/reading Nat.Geo for kids Almanac 202O and Scholastic Books, Who Would Win series (Tyrannosaurus vs Velociraptor is today’s) and then I’ll read the 4 yr.old an I Can Read book and she can follow along. The 9 yr.old girl is reading Guts & Glory: The Revolutionary War, but check it out first. It’s a series, but it is a little flippant for my taste. It does hold her interest and gives good contextual information.

How well does the 6 yr.old read? Mine doesn’t, but I remember Eloise, Fancy Nancy appealing to my older one.

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9768 posts

Lola, what a wonderful, affirming idea for a thread!

For the 8-year-olds, how about the book The Westing Game? It was the favorite of both me and my (boy) cousin, and we loved the kind of “puzzle” that was built into the book, and the crazy characters. We still talk all these years later about how much we loved that book — and how the sequels didn’t quite hold up.

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3931 posts

My grandsons are obsessed with Harry Potter. I got them a few of the LEGO sets and they spend time building them then playing along with the books.

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135 posts

I agree with Lane’s recommendations and would add the Charlie Bone series. I used to teach fourth grade in Wisconsin. We read Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, as part of our study of Wisconsin. I know some people think that that is a girl series, but I had several boys that loved the first book so much, they read the entire series! I would also add that any of the Dear America books, the girls series or the boys series are great and a wonderful study of history.If the six-year-old is a fair reader the magic tree house series is amazing!

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521 posts

As a teacher, I also recommend the Percy Jackson Chronicles by Rick Riordan (mentioned previously). For younger, newer readers, the Junie B. Jones series is fun. Patty, I love your idea of ordering two books and reading online with your grandkids!😊😊 has some great learning games!

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16694 posts

Thank you all! Two boys (twins) have already read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (with which their fathers were very well acquainted, thanks to me) and also everything written by Rick Riordan. And all the Kate DiCamillio books were read to them, by me. (I love the one about the little cowboy and his horse). I will forward the other suggestions to their parents.

The other boy, and his younger sister, have some Chinese heritage and have really enjoyed the Grace Lin books, “Where the Mountain Meets the Moon” and 2 others. They have me read them as well, and then we talk. I mention this in case others are looking for ideas. These are wonderful books, with beautiful illustrations.

The 6-year-old girl is not reading yet and is totally into princesses and unicorns, but that could change any minute. She is also very athletic (we did an 11-mile bike ride as a family when I was there 5 weeks ago) and very creative. But she has all the art supplies she needs, even for a long home confinement. I did find some 3-D puzzles that might be fun for her.

We plan on lots of FaceTime, but it is really hard for me to be so removed from them, as I previously saw them often. We have been to Europe together, the two families separately—-one family to London, the other to Switzerland. And lots of other good time together closer to home, skiing, hiking, hanging out. I miss them.

I am sure I am not the only grandparent in this situation. Let us help one another get through this.

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729 posts

The Secret Garden and Mary Poppins- your 6 year old is a little young but might enjoy them.
When I was first divorced and my very young son was with his dad, I told him I would blow a kiss at the moon every night and when he looked at the moon he would get it. Made me feel better

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23 posts

If they enjoy mysteries, puzzles, codebreaking:
Book Scavanger series by Jennifer Chamblss Bertman
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett ( Bk 1 of series)
Almost forgot the best -
39 Clues - Maze of Bones - Bk 1 of 11 in this brilliant series.
Books to read aloud for all:
Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe bk 1 of 7 (C.S. Lewis)
Half Magic by Edward Eager (bk 1 of 7)

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106 posts

For the 8 year old boys who read at the level of 10-12 year olds, I would recommend the Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This is the first book in a series of 5 or 6. I think they would really enjoy the "peculiar" children and their various abilities. Also, the main character is a young boy.

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5697 posts

Wind in the Willows -- if they don't mind reading the book which inspired the cartoon.

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1420 posts

Thanks Theresa for adding the Chronicle of Narnia...
I'd add Madeline lengell young adult stuff
... first book I read was Wrinkle in Time, but I think the chronology started before that.....add the DVD and they can have a family movie night

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9429 posts
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5 posts

As a retired teacher, I love this thread!

What about Pippy Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren, any of Beatrix Potter's books, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Little Women and Little Men by Louisa May Alcott, and any of the Classic Literature Books for kids (Treasure Island, Robinson Crusoe, Tarzan, etc.)

On our independent 2-month rail trip around England 2 years ago, we spent a week in the Lake District, and visited Beatrix Potter's farm and a museum along Lake Windemere (can't remember which town it was in now).
We have also visited Lucy Maud Montgomery's house of green Gables when we were in Prince Edward Island as we took a trip through eastern Canada. Her life is just as interesting as her character, Anne. She, Ms. Alcott, and Laura I. Wilder all used their own personal life experiences as the basis for their books. This past fall, we traveled to New England and visited "The Orchard", Ms. Alcott's home where she wrote Little Women. We also visited Sleepy Hallow Cemetery in Concord, Mass. where she is buried. I had not realized what a pilgrimage her grave was for young college women wanting to be authors---pens, pencils, stories, poems, manuscripts, coins, letters---all covering her grave. My eyes teared up reading some of those notes to her. Near her grave was Thoreau, Emerson, and Hawthorne.

I would like to put forth the idea of e-books from the library. That's what I'm doing now. Not only is our library physically closed but working on-line here in Riverside (southern California), I have been quarantined to my home for 2 weeks. My husband and I are over 65--he is diabetic and asthmatic. We both had various doctor, medical, and pharmaceutical appointments at Kaiser Medical Offices last week. This week we were notified by phone from Kaiser that "someone in your household" has recently been exposed to the coronavirus. Because of confidentiality they would NOT say who, where or how. We don't know if was a medical worker (including the assistant who put several drops in my eye) or another patient. We don't know which one of us was exposed. We were told to stay in our house and if we start having symptoms to NOT go to Kaiser, but to call a number they gave us. Luckily, I had just cooked up a HUGE pot of homemade soup which will last us a week. Our pantry of canned goods should last us through the next week.

So we are spending time reading e-books on our Kindles. Watching TV is just too depressing. I hope you will enjoy spending internet time with your grandkids and the multitude of stories you will share!!!

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771 posts

To answer Diane's question upthread a bit, no Clue is not outdated, and there is a version of Clue Jr. We got that for our 5 year old granddaughter last fall and enjoy playing that along with her 8 year old brother. As an adult, it takes a while to get your mind around the simplified rules, but she got it and could play along. When they came to visit at Christmas, we played the regular Clue with the 8 year old.
Lots of great ideas here, thanks for the thread, Lola!

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16694 posts

Tinkafriend, thank you for mentioning e-books from the library. I just "borrowed" a book I wanted ("The Naming of Names", by Anna Pavord, a book about plant nomenclature) from a local library instead of ordering it from Amazon. Very easy, and free.

I truly hope you and your husband stay healthy.

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648 posts

You are an awesome Grandma...and what fun for them to receive something in the mail. Here are a few suggestions.
Books: Our 9 year old grandson loves non-fiction books. He can spend hours reading the "Guinness Book of World Records (hardcover edition).
Another one is "What If" by Randall Munroe. Has lots of extraneous facts about various subjects.
I even found him reading my copy of "1000 Places to See" which someone had given me as a gift.
Game: Wits and Wagers is a multi-generational family favorite.
Puzzles: Of course, jigsaw puzzles of places they've visited.

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5258 posts


The San Diego Zoo has videos and live cams of your grandchildren’s favorite animals. Here’s their website: SanDiego

I just shared this link with my nieces & nephews who have young children at home now.

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2144 posts

There’s a dice game called Tenzi that is really fun and easy for all ages. The rules are very simple & games last just minutes.

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303 posts

Our grandkids love to play Sorry and Hedbanz and Connect 4. Hedbanz requires some reading, but I alter the game somewhat by eliminating more difficult pictures and writing out easy questions to ask for problem solving. For kids who need more activity, treasure hunts can be organized. I have hid a small box with cookies in it and made readable clues that make the kids run all over the house basement and garage finding one clue after another until the last clue takes them to the box of cookies. They love it.

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1420 posts

Oh barb, my big brother did that for me before I could read, drew a picture of the clock, then the TV.... thanks for pulling up that sweet memory

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303 posts

How wonderful! When our 1st grandson was too little to read, I would cut out pictures in a magazine or newspaper of things in a house like a chair or sofa or bed or oven, etc. That would take him to the next place where a clue was hidden. He would get so excited as he ran from one hidden clue to another. I actually have a small chest with a key, so the key was the next to the last clue. I found chocolate discs that were in gold wrapping so they resembled gold pieces. I had as much fun with this and through 4 little boys as they did going on "Grandma's Treasure Hunts."

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16694 posts

I just bought the game Tokaido for both families. It is a board game based on travel from Kyoto to Tokyo. No probablynshould have bought one for myself, but I hope it won't be too long before I can play it with the grandchildren.

Or maybe if I got one now, we could play it together on FaceTime?