Games with Grandma – The Power of Intergenerational Play!

I’ve been a game lover my whole life – and there’s no question where I get it from!

As a very young child, visits with Grandma meant endless games of animal dominoes, then Chutes and Ladders, progressing to Rack-O, Boggle, and finally to her favorite – Scrabble!  Once I was Scrabble-ready, I moved into a new world of game play with Grandma.  For years, she and a group of friends had been holding weekly Scrabble club meetings – she always had a copy of the game in the trunk, and the ladies had banded together to purchase the official Scrabble Dictionary to serve as definitive dispute-settler at the table!

When I graduated to Scrabble, any chance of Grandma easing up and letting me win disappeared.  Playing with my Grandma elevated my play to a new level, teaching me to use strategy and words like “Qat” and “Xi” which I have yet to use in a sentence but still rely on to rack up the big points!

On a recent visit, I introduced Grandma to the wonders of my iPhone.  After running through the features for quite some time, she held it thoughtfully and asked, “So is this what they call a Google?”  Despite the tech-divide, when I pulled up Words With Friends and showed her two games that were awaiting my move, Grandma’s  Scrabble prowess kicked into high gear, and she immediately played two 50+ point words!

Go Grandma Go!

This Sunday is National Grandparent’s Day – first declared a holiday in 1978 by Jimmy Carter, this day encourages us all to reflect on the impact grandparents have on our lives — and on society.  It’s no stretch to see how my Grandma’s game-loving nature made me the thinker I am today.  In my work at ThinkFun, my Grandma continues to support the gamer in me, eagerly playing our new games and helping to test prototypes!

Mom and Grandma test a prototype game for ThinkFun!

And as my husband learned last winter, Grandma takes *all* games quite seriously, not just board games :)

Grandma takes no prisoners at shuffleboard!

Play is a powerful tool to bring families together, and the Toy Industry Association recently shared a wonderful feature on the benefits of intergenerational play with lots of great recommendations!  For more tips, check out their free downloadable guide, Play is Forever – A Playbook for All Ages.

Did you grow up playing games with your grandparents?  Which games were your favorites?!


4 thoughts on “Games with Grandma – The Power of Intergenerational Play!

  1. Lynne Anservitz


    This was such a sweet piece. I’m sure your grandma is very happy that you feel this way about her “old school” gaming influence. I guess your mom is on her way to Harrisburg today. Hope she finds Doris doing well.

    And I hope you and Dan survived the wrath of mother nature with the earthquake and the hurricane!

  2. Charlotte Post author

    Thanks for your message Lynne!
    Working at a game company that still believes in the power of hands-on learning means “old school” play is still #1 with me :)
    Hope all is well, hugs to Alex!

  3. Kim

    Hi Charlotte,
    Have you ever heard of It’s a game site that appeals to older women who prefer playing non-competitive games that encourage positive social interaction. I thought your grandmother might be interested in it since she loves games. The average player is 50 years old and the community is what really makes this site special. Players quickly learn that the more you help each other, the faster you earn points. I just thought it would be another alternative for her to try out. ThinkFun looks like a lot of fun too!

  4. Charlotte Post author

    Thanks for sharing this link Kim –
    I’m having fun exploring this site and learning more about the gaming community you’ve created for an older audience!

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