Long Distance Grandparenting

Long Distance Grandparenting can be a heartbreaking problem… Problem solving happens throughout our lives. As we get older, hopefully, we get better at it. When I became a grandma, it was an incredibly special time in my life. Then when I became a long distance grandma, I had to find a way to fix the heartbreak of being so far away from my dear little ones. I wanted more than simply saying hi, or grandma loves you. I wanted a whole relationship.

This was a big problem! How do you create a whole relationship with a toddler, or very young child? I began my quest to solve this problem and tried several different ways to interact with my grandchildren. I wanted interaction that would be fun for them, and not just fun for me, but moving toward a more fulfilling, whole relationship.

I created several games, that grew into stories, that grew into activities. The evolution of our relationship has been an incredible journey. The time I spend creating these activities has lessened the lonely heartache of missing them, and the time we do spend together, on video chat, is totally engaging, fun, and whole relationship building.

I can say now that it’s not all of what I want, but it’s so much better than I ever thought it could be, with the many miles between us.

While on this incredible journey of being a long distance grandma, I thought of other grandparents, and wondered if they wouldn’t like to engage with their grandchildren in this way too. So, I decided to chronicle some of the activities I created for my grandchildren, including how to’s, materials lists, and age appropriate suggestions for each activity. This process has become a book called The Grandparent’s Field Guide for Long Distance Grandparenting. I’m still working on the publishing end of things for the book, but I thought it might be fun to share some activities that aren’t in the book, here on my website. So, this portfolio is dedicated to that share of activities. I hope you all enjoy them, and learn how to build a whole relationship with your grandchildren. I must share one of the secrets I found on building that relationship, its playing. We have to learn all over again how to play, it’s through this play that we begin to cultivate that closeness with our grandchildren, and ease the heartache of being far away.

Things you should know are, my special names for my grandchildren are Little Moon, and Little Wolf. The activities are all laid out in story style, so the readers can use them as a sort of script or just to know how to sequence things. The activities have evolved into the grandparents having an imaginary friend named Phineas. Phineas writes letters to the grandchildren about his life, his travels, and his experiences. He’s lived a very long time and traveled all over the world. You should also know that if you decide to “play” he has to become your imaginary friend and you get to introduce him to your grandchildren. Oh, yeah, he’s missing his tail. I hope you’re all ready to have lots of fun, laughter, and a wonderful whole relationship with your grandchildren!

I’ll add new activities here as they get created, developed, and field tested.

Activity 1:

Phineas’ Souvenirs Activity

The first thing to do is check on the section, to the grandparent, so you can see what needs to be prepared for this activity. Next, it’s all about the story, you can follow the format that’s laid out or you can create your own. Figure out what works best for you and your grandchildren.

            Dad called Little Moon and Little Wolf, “Hey guys, Grandma is on video chat.”

            Little Moon and Little Wolf came running to the monitor to visit with Grandma.

            “Hello, my babies!” Grandma greeted.

            “Hi Grandma!” Little Moon and Little Wolf replied.

            “Did you get my new package?” Grandma asked.

            “Yes!” they answered.

            “I think we should start out with Phineas’ letter and see what he’s been up to,” Grandma said.

            “Okay!” Little Moon and Little Wolf giggled.

            “You get your letters and I’ll get the one Phineas left for me and I’ll read it to you,” Grandma instructed. “This is what he wrote:

(First time meeting Phineas, insert this beginning:


My name is Phineas, I’m a mouse with no tail, but many tales to tell. I do ramble on at times, but that’s just because I have so much to say.

I lost my tail, back when the first lightning bolt ever to happen struck me. Yes, it was a rear attack. I woke with no tail, a terrible headache, and the ability to communicate with people.)

Hello Little Moon and Little Wolf

I hope you’re both doing well. I’ve had a bit of a cold lately, so I’ve been staying in and sorting, and organizing my things.

I’ve been so many places over the years, I have accumulated a lot of stuff. So, I thought I’d share some of the souvenirs I’ve collected with you. That way I have less to organize and sort here in my home. Some things were gifts from friends from long ago, some are just things I picked up as I traveled through places. You’ll have to sort out and organize what’s from where or from who, as you go through the collection of souvenirs. I’ll tell you a few things in this letter to help you figure it out, and play the souvenir matching game your Grandma’s making for you.”

Grandma interjects – “Okay, get your game folders and the little luggage Phineas sent you so you’ll be ready for the clues. (After each clue stop and wait, help, or encourage your grandchildren to find the right pocket for the clue and then match the card with the souvenir it goes to.)

Clue 1.

In Japan, I made a friend named Hajime, his name meant, beginning, so I think that’s a good place to start with my clues for your guessing game. Hajime gave me something that was very valuable and useful in his country. It helps cool one down when one is not cool.

Clue 2.

I met a wonderful fellow long ago named Leonardo, he lived in Florence Italy. He was quite the inventor and artist. He gave me some special things when I went to visit him.

Clue 3.

In the way, way back we couldn’t text, we didn’t have cell phones. These are what people used to write a quick note on, then send it off through snail mail.

Clue 4.

Back in the way back, again, when there weren’t any cell phones or computers, we used these things to find out where we were going. They were on large folded pieces of paper. They were really hard to refold when you opened them.

Clue 5.

In Denmark, very long ago, I made a wonderful friend named Hans. He wrote lots of stories. He spent a lot of his time being miserable because he kept falling in love with people who wished he wouldn’t. I suppose he couldn’t help himself, but really one does have to control one’s self, sometimes. He gave me a very special gift, I’m sending you a small version of it. It is something you can travel on water with, but not very far.

Clue 6.

So many years ago, I made a dear friend in France. His name was Claude Monet. A lot of people have heard of my old friend now days. Claude was an artist, not the same as Leonardo, but he’s very good, in his own way. He also gave me some special things that artists use.

Clue 7.

I’m sending you a bit of my own work. I learned a bit from my friends, and like your Grandma, I do love to tell a good story. Very long ago, I was in a spot of trouble. A very curious cat thought I was a plaything. At least that’s what I want to tell myself. The cat hat batted me about a fair bit and was coming toward me ominously, when a very dear little girl came to my rescue. I do believe she might have saved my life. Can you guess which souvenir I’m talking about?

Clue 8.

One must always have reading material on long trips. Do you love to read, I do, I just love it!

Clue 9.

While in England, many, many years ago. I went to visit my lovely friend Bea. She was an artist, and she was also a writer. She wrote stories about a small rabbit that kept getting into trouble over at a nearby farm. The small rabbit didn’t quite understand how to stay out of trouble. His mother would give him boundaries on where he could go, and where he shouldn’t go. It never worked, I don’t know if she could have kept him in line even if she’d marked out the boundaries with a wrought iron fence. I loved reading about this small rabbit so much that I had to make sure I marked my place each time I had to stop the story. I think keeping one’s place is very important. So, I’m sending you a special way to mark your place.

Clue 10.

This next clue deals with an essential one needs for travel. Its just incase they don’t provide it or they run out of it, wherever one is traveling. An extra bit of clue – it comes on a roll.

Clue 11.

While I was packing all these things up for you guys, I seem to have lost a very nice pair of shoes. If you find them, please let me know.  

Clue 12.

Over the years, I’ve collected many of these things that keep one’s things safe. The key to solving this clue is knowing where to put the key.

I hope you enjoy the souvenirs and the game!

Toodles Phineas


For the grandparent, to help with prepping for this activity.

I’ll attach some pictures of the things I made so you’ll get a good idea of where to go with this. As with my book the Grandparent’s Field Guide for Long Distance Grandparenting, not published yet, this is a guide. You’re the ones making the project, do what you want to do with it. You can do this project in half, or in thirds, or quarter it up. Simply do some of the clues in one video chat and the other clues in other video chats. Challenge yourself, make it easy for yourself, whatever you want to do. Most of all, have fun with it! If you’re having fun, then hopefully your grandchildren will have fun to, that’s where the relationship building begins… I always include a personal letter from me to each of my grandchildren. This is a very important step in building that relationship we as grandparents want to have. Write to them about your childhood, your life experiences, your family history… You can save some time at the end of your video chat to have them read the letters and answer any questions you asked, or for you to answer any questions they may have about what you told them in the letters. The letters are very important, and can be a wonderful experience, even for the younger children who can’t read or write yet. I have to tell you there have been some very special times for my grandchildren and myself during letter time.

As with all these activities you’ll need a helper on the other side of the video chat. You’ll need to communicate with your helper and let them know what you’re planning, with all the details, so they can set things up when your package arrives.

Materials List:

Manilla folder


Mod podge glue

Glue gun

Butcher paper


Twine, jute, or some sort of thread to tie things together with

Fabric, paper, or faux leather, which ever you choose to use for the steamer trunk

Two-sided sticky tape

Needle & thread


Craft knife

Miniature glass bottles with corks

Peter Rabbit stickers


Other items that were purchased for this activity with links below:
Dollhouse artist supplies

Dollhouse Picture

Dollhouse toilet paper


Miniature suitcases


Print out or hand write the Phineas letter for each grandchild, this way they can follow along. Of course, take out the grandma notes before the clues begin. I would suggest some fun clipart or pictures and a page boarder, to make the letter visually appealing.

You’ll need to make a folder game with pockets and cards for the matching game. I used a manila folder, covered it with butcher paper. I made the pockets out of cardstock with clipart pictures to help my grandchildren figure out the clues. Inside the pockets I put cards, I made the cards out of cardstock. The cards had pictures of the souvenirs so my grandchildren could dig through the collection of souvenirs Phineas sent and find the right souvenir to match to the card.

I made a sort of small steamer trunk for the souvenirs that wouldn’t fit in the tiny suitcases. You can make one of these using cardboard, fabric, paper, faux leather, hot glue gun, mod podge glue, and whatever accessories you want to add. Or you can simply purchase a small box already made to hold the items that won’t fit in the tiny suitcases. I’ll add a couple of options for a box to use if you would prefer to purchase something rather than making a steamer trunk.


For the first clue’s souvenir, I made a couple of miniature hand fans using printouts of Japanese looking clipart, vintage looking paper, and cardboard. The cardboard is used for the sticks, I used a needle and thread to sew the ends of the cardboard together on one end, this has to be done so that the cardboard sticks will still fan out to allow the fan to extend. I used two sided sticky tape to attach the paper to the cardboard sticks. Liquid glue might make the paper crinkle and give the grandparent unneeded stress and frustration.

For clue two, I purchased some dollhouse miniature art supplies. Links listed below.

For clue three, I found some free images online of vintage postcards. I printed them out small, Phineas size, about six to a page. I printed them on cardstock, so they would be more like “real” small postcards.

For clue four, I found some free clipart of vintage maps and printed them out on vintage looking paper. I made them smallish, again, Phineas size. I used some twine to tie the maps up when they were folded, so they would stay the way I wanted them to.

For clue five, I purchased some very small glass bottles with corks. No, I did not build a ship inside the bottle, I found some free images of vintage ships and printed them out small on cardstock. I used a craft knife to cut the ships out. I curled them around just enough to fit through the mouth of the bottle, then pushed them in and they uncurled and looked like a ship in a bottle.

For clue six, I used some more of the purchased art supplies. Links below.

For clue seven, I purchased a dollhouse framed painting. Link below.

For clue eight, I made some miniature books. You can purchase some miniature books, or do what I did. I copied the book covers of some cute kids books and then found some cute clipart online to go with the covers. They don’t have to be actual book covers, or pictures of actual pages of the books. Use your imagination, be creative, and have fun with it. If you wish to purchase them, I’ll add a link below.

For clue nine, I purchased some Peter Rabbit stickers and cut out some cardstock, placing the stickers on to make cute little bookmarks.

For clue ten, I purchased some miniature toilet paper. Link below.

For clue eleven, I had some vintage doll shoes that I put in for this one. I put one shoe in for each grandchild. I’ll add a link below of something that might work for you.

For clue twelve, I purchased some small vintage looking locks with keys. Link below.


Below are some things I purchased to go along with the clues given in the Phineas letter:

Toilet paper – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08D6DR6YH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Painting of little girl, for clue seven – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08VNWJJPW/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Art supplies – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08VJ4F2WM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Miniature suite cases to hold the mini souvenirs. I used some of these – https://www.amazon.com/Monrocco-Vintage-Suitcase-Rectangular-Container/dp/B07QC24FHH/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=miniature+suitcase&qid=1623089771&sr=8-2

Peter Rabbit stickers for your bookmark – https://www.amazon.com/Stickers-Skateboard-Luggage-Computer-Notebook/dp/B089NH99N7/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=peter+rabbit+stickers&qid=1623459244&sr=8-4

Miniature books – https://www.amazon.com/Miniatures-Dollhouse-Timeless-Decoration-Accessories/dp/B08X2J4FMF/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=miniature+books&qid=1623808255&sr=8-5

Shoes – https://www.amazon.com/menolana-Mellchan-9-12inch-Stylish-Sneakers/dp/B07XM6B4Z1/ref=sr_1_42?dchild=1&keywords=10+inch+doll+shoes&qid=1623808753&sr=8-42

Locks – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0762CJYCK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Box options – https://www.amazon.com/Small-Cash-Box-Lock-Slot/dp/B072546FRL/ref=sr_1_75?dchild=1&keywords=small+box+for+kids&qid=1623810316&sr=8-75



Sidebar – As I stated above you can parse this activity out, you can even do one clue at a time for your video chat. That will keep you and your grandchildren busy and engaged. By doing one clue at a time, you have them always excitedly waiting for your next box of fun. You can also use this format and simply rewrite the clues, as many times as you, and your grandchildren, want to play the game.

For older and younger grandchildren:

For older grandchildren, the grandparent can make the game more challenging by taking the pictures for the cards in an offset fashion. Only take a picture of part of the souvenir, not the whole souvenir. That will make the game more engaging for them, as they will have to work harder to figure out what souvenir goes with what clue.

For younger grandchildren, the grandparent can use a regular size backpack and substitute the souvenirs for more age-appropriate things.

Clue 1 – fish fans – https://www.amazon.com/ArtCreativity-Inch-Handheld-Tropical-Folding/dp/B08HSJC26N/ref=sr_1_29?dchild=1&keywords=kid%27s+hand+fan&qid=1624591467&sr=8-29

Clue 2 – crayons

Clue 3 – regular size postcards

Clue 4 – kids maps – https://www.amazon.com/Pack-World-Illustrated-Poster-Laminated/dp/B08YV1PL2W/ref=sr_1_15?dchild=1&keywords=kid%27s+maps&qid=1624591936&sr=8-15

Clue 5 – toy boat – https://www.amazon.com/Munchkin-Bath-Little-Train-Count/dp/B00PHWMNYW/ref=sxin_11?asc_contentid=amzn1.osa.fda0bf97-4ca1-4d2b-a220-46135324c992.ATVPDKIKX0DER.en_US&asc_contenttype=article&ascsubtag=amzn1.osa.fda0bf97-4ca1-4d2b-a220-46135324c992.ATVPDKIKX0DER.en_US&creativeASIN=B00PHWMNYW&cv_ct_cx=toy+boat&cv_ct_id=amzn1.osa.fda0bf97-4ca1-4d2b-a220-46135324c992.ATVPDKIKX0DER.en_US&cv_ct_pg=search&cv_ct_we=asin&cv_ct_wn=osp-single-source-earns-comm&dchild=1&keywords=toy+boat&linkCode=oas&pd_rd_i=B00PHWMNYW&pd_rd_r=eedac6b2-693b-4a8f-a7cd-4c44347796bd&pd_rd_w=czs3O&pd_rd_wg=xBUqc&pf_rd_p=2a3243ce-188f-426b-9a7c-cd22d207971e&pf_rd_r=7E0XB50014SVYQ3965VF&qid=1624592038&sr=1-2-64f3a41a-73ca-403a-923c-8152c45485fe&tag=newfolks-20

Clue 6 – small sketch pad or coloring book – https://www.amazon.com/Scribble-Toddlers-Children-Scribbling-Important/dp/B08F4L6RHR/ref=sr_1_21?dchild=1&keywords=kids+drawing+pad&qid=1624592142&sr=8-21

Clue 7 – Google “little girl with mouse” or “little girl with cat” and print out a big picture for your grandchildren, you can frame it with a frame or make one from cardboard. Another option for this is to use this rewrite for clue 7 – This was a gift from a very cherished friend, she thought it was a likeness of me. This is a link to a stuffed mouse that could work as a likeness of Phineas – https://www.amazon.com/HUGMO-Stuffed-Plush-Mouse-Outfit/dp/B08PZM77D5/ref=sr_1_80?dchild=1&keywords=kid%27s%2Bmouse%2Btoy&qid=1624592771&sr=8-80&th=1

Clue 8 – for this clue find some cool board books your grandchildren will like

Clue 9 – this one will work for younger grandchildren as is, but if you want to expand it you can include some pre-cut cardstock and some of the stickers you purchased, so your grandchildren can make their own bookmarks.

Clue 10 – this one can be modified by using whatever your grandchildren are on, wet-wipes, diapers, or tp, in regular size.

Clue 11 – you can use doll shoes for this or find some fun shoes that your grandchildren will like and send those in the backpack.

Clue 12 – you can use these – https://www.amazon.com/MEROCO-Montessori-Matching-Practical-Kindergarten/dp/B085TJ323H/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=kids+toy+lock&qid=1624672526&sr=8-4 or these – https://www.amazon.com/Dinhon-Learning-Montessori-Educational-Preschool/dp/B08GJZJYP1/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=kids+toy+lock&qid=1624672642&sr=8-2


When you’re done with everything, then it’s time to pack it all up and send it out to your helper. Below is a suggested list of what should be in your package.

Box list:

Folder game

Letter from Phineas



Letter to each grandchild from the grandparent


Field test and results:

When this activity was field tested, everything went great! The first clue was where the kids really learned the game. This one gave them confidence and excitement for what was next. After the first clue my grandchildren were eager and ready for clue two. My grandchildren were very engaged at every point of the activity, working out the clues, finding the souvenirs that went to the clues, and matching them up with the card in the folder pocket.

As the grandparent, I had so much fun watching them hunt through the souvenirs as I read out the clues. We had delightful conversations during the game, and about what the clues meant all through this activity. At the end they read, or had the letters I sent them read to them, and we talked about the things I shared in the letters. All in all it was a wonderful fun time that we’ll all remember for a long time, maybe even forever.












Activity 2

Phineas’ Lilliputian Tea Party

Okay, Long Distance Grandparents, this one is simple, easy, and fun! I’m even making a kit you can purchase that will have everything you need to have your video chat with your grandchildren. Of course, you can go through the whole crafting, shopping, and gathering process if you wish. I’ll give suggestions and add links in that will help with whatever you want to do.

As always, the instructions and video chat unfolds in story style. Use whatever your grandchildren call you instead of Grandma, unless of course they call you Grandma…

Video chat start up:

            Dad called Little Moon and Little Wolf, “Hey, you guys, Grandma’s on video chat. Are you ready to do this?”

            Little Moon and Little Wolf excitedly entered the room and shouted, “Yes!”

            “Hello my babies!” Grandma greeted them. “Did you get my box? Did you get your letters from Phineas and I?”

            “Yes,” they replied. “What are we playing this time?”

            Grandma smiled mischievously, “Well, Phineas told me about a tea party he had with a certain prince and princess. He said he would write to you about the tea party, so I decided to make us a fun game to play while we read the letter from Phineas. This game has some listening, some matching, and some yummy treats. So, find your tables, and tea sets, and your stickers so we can get started. Oh yeah, there’s a prince and princess to join you in this tea party game. Do you see them?”

            Little Moon and Little Wolf looked through the box of stuff from Grandma and found two dolls.

“The girl doll is named Princess Mully, and the doll named Prince Ully,” Grandma explained. “They are for you to keep and have fun with, sort of a new special friend. Now let’s read Phineas’ letter, shall we?”

            “Yes!” Little Moon and Little Wolf said excitedly.

            “Okay, get your gameboards, and when you hear Phineas mention something that’s on your game board, put your sticker on its matching place.”

Grandma began the letter –





Phineas’ Letter:

First time meeting Phineas, insert this beginning:


My name is Phineas, I’m a mouse with no tail, but many tales to tell. I do ramble on at times, but that’s just because I have so much to say.

I lost my tail, back when the first lightning bolt ever to happen struck me. Yes, it was a rear attack. I woke with no tail, a terrible headache, and the ability to communicate with people.


Hello Little Moon and Little Wolf (Your grandchild’s name here)

I’ve been traveling again, of course I have. I’m rarely ever home, but on occasion I do like to spend some quiet time at home thinking about things. Any who, I’ve been thinking about my trip to Lilliput. Have you ever been to Lilliput? I went there several years ago, just to visit and catch up with old friends. The first time I went there it was with another old friend who was introduced to the Lilliputians by his uncle Gulliver. But, that trip was a really long time ago. The trip I was thinking about was the last one I made. I was invited to the castle to a tea party with the Prince and Princess of Lilliput.

We had a wonderful time, it was very posh. Posh, just means very fancy. There were tables filled with all sorts of foods, tiny food. Did I tell you that Lilliputians are very small people? Well, they are! I’m actually considered tall there. Which is a little odd, as I’m not a very big mouse.

Prince Ully and Princess Mully joined me at the table I was sitting at. They are both very kind and very good at conversation. I do love a good conversation, don’t you?

The waiter brought the teapot around and filled all our cups with tea as we sat and visited. Prince Ully told me that the Lilliputians were considering expanding their exports and were looking for a market for small tea sets. Princess Mully said they were producing lots of tea sets, with cups, saucers, and plates in their factories, but no spoons or forks.

I did my best to be polite, but really, what market would there be for tiny plates, cups, and saucers? I took a sip of my tea to avoid making any comments on their export plans. The tea was very strong, so I added some sugar, and cream to make it more pleasing to my tastebuds. As I placed my cup back down on the saucer and plate that was there to hold it, I did think the tiny cups, saucers, and plates were quite nice, but still didn’t see a market for them. In the end I decided that I’d change the subject and ask about their grandfather. They told me he was a bit under the weather, but that he was making a speedy recovery.

Before I left the small island, I went to see their grandfather. He too, was very excited about the export plans. It’s not easy for a small mouse to change the subject so many times. I bought some of their tea sets just so things didn’t get too awkward. I don’t know how they did with their project, but I decided to not visit again for a while, at least till, hopefully, they get over the tea set export craze. So, since I have so many tea sets, I thought I’d send you guys some. Hopefully you can find a good way to make use of them.





For the grandparent:

As you can tell, this is sort of a spin off of Gulliver’s Travels. Princess Mully and Prince Ully are the great, great, grandchildren of the emperor that was in control when Gulliver was there. That Phineas knows a lot of people.

Remember to write your personal letter for each grandchild!

To make the game and fun things for this activity you’ll need:

The Lilliputian Tea Party Kit – Coming soon!


You’ll need the tea party matching game for the kids to play, while the grandparents read Phineas’ letter. You’ll also need a tea table with tablecloth, prince and princess dolls, small tea sets, and of course the letter from Phineas and from the grandparent.

Materials List:



Mod Podge glue

Foam paint brush

Hot glue gun & glue sticks

*Printable sticker paper

Prince and Princess dolls



To make the matching game I used png artwork from Designbundles.net. You can go there, they have a smorgasbord of wonderful things, or you can find some free clipart online to use. I created a square board with 16 square spaces then placed the little tea party pictures in each space. Make sure they are dispersed to where the same thing isn’t next to itself – example – teacup, plate, saucer, tea bag. Simply said, just make sure no teacup is next to another teacup.

You’ll need images of:

4 teacups

4 saucers

4 plates

1 teapot

1 sugar dish

1 creamer dish

1 teabag

Once the gameboard is ready use the same images you used for the game board to make matching game pieces to place on the gameboard when Phineas mentions them in his letter. You can use cardstock for the gameboard and game pieces, I used printable sticker paper for the game pieces. (My grandkids thought that was awesome!)

For the table with tablecloth, I cut out a six-inch circle from cardboard and then cut a twelve by three-inch strip, scored it every three inches and folded to make a square for the six inch circle. Use a hot glue gun to glue the bottom of the table to the center of the circle you made for the top. That makes the table, of course you can use whatever size and dimensions you wish to use. For the tablecloth I cut out some small print fabric two inches larger than the circle I used, and mod podged it on the cardboard. The table with table cloth, is one part of the activity you can skip without too much of a problem, it’s totally optional.

For the prince and princess dolls you can do what I did, and make a sting doll, link to something similar below. I put a small sword on the prince doll to give him a bit more masculine look. Or you can simply purchase some small dolls or paper dolls to do the job.

String doll link – https://www.facebook.com/MetDaanTips/videos/399729321249163

Doll options from Amazon.com – https://www.amazon.com/QTFHR-Kawaii-Figurines-Playset-Decoration/dp/B07B9NSYRJ/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1XDROZB9YFJEH&dchild=1&keywords=small+boy+and+girl+figurines&qid=1630094215&sprefix=small+boy+and+girl+%2Caps%2C252&sr=8-4


Small tea sets: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Pretend-Play-Kitchen-Pieces/dp/B08G1WLHVJ/ref=sr_1_25?dchild=1&keywords=small+tea+sets+for+kids&qid=1630094649&sr=8-25




Checklist for the grandparents’ special box, before you mail:

Letter(s) from Phineas

Gameboard for the tea party game

Prince and Princess dolls

Tea sets for each grandchild – per Phineas’ promise. If you don’t want to do this part, simply skip that part of the letter.

Letter(s) from the grandparent(s)

Field test and results:

This activity was full of so much fun, giggles, and outright laughter, that we all wanted it to go on and on. The string dolls were a big hit! My grandkids loved playing the game and were very engaged in the events of Phineas’ letter. After the game was over and the letter finished, we had time to get to the grandma letters. That was a special time for me. They answered my questions and loved the stories I told them about when I was a little girl.

I hope you have a fun tea party with your grandchildren!


Activity 3

Phineas Goes Dinosaur Hunting

Set up your video chat:

Get with your helper on the other side, check their schedules and set a time to go live.

This is what happens with me and my helper, and my grandchildren:

When the video link is up and running –

Dad calls Little Moon and Little Wolf, “Hey, you guys, Grandma’s on video chat. Are you ready to do this?”

            Little Moon and Little Wolf excitedly enter the room and shout, “Yes!”

            “Hello my babies!” Grandma greets them. “Did you get my box? Did you get your letters from Phineas and I?”

            “Yes,” they replied. “What are we playing this time?”

            “Dinosaurs!” Grandma returned. “We’re going on a dinosaur hunt! Are you ready?”

            “Yes!” Little Moon and Little Wolf replied excitedly.

            “First we’ll start with Phineas’ letter, he might be able to help us out some.”

(Read Phineas’ letter to your grandchildren. If you can do a good English or Scottish accent, then put it to good use here. While you’re reading the letter, have your helper on the other side of the video chat set up the dinosaur hunt. Placing the dinosaur tracks, and the dinosaur paraphernalia at the end of the hunt. More suggestions are given in the, to the grandparent section. If you haven’t played the Phineas games and activities before, please insert the introduction part in for your grandchildren. This will catch them up on just who Phineas is.)

First time meeting Phineas insert this part into the letter:


My name is Phineas, I’m a mouse with no tail, but many tales to tell. I do ramble on at times, but that’s just because I have so much to say.

I lost my tail, back when the first lightning bolt ever to happen struck me. Yes, it was a rear attack. I woke with no tail, a terrible headache, and the ability to communicate with people.

Phineas’ Letter:

Hello Little Moon and Little Wolf

Have you ever gone dinosaur hunting? Of course, you have. I’m sure everyone needs to go on a dinosaur hunt, at least once. I’ve been too many times to count.

I must tell you about the time back in the 1800’s, when an old friend contacted me with and invitation.

My old friend’s name was Joe. He was a dinosaur hunter, otherwise known as a paleontologist. He was also a professor at a university. Well, of course he wasn’t hunting live dinosaurs, we cleared that up very quickly. He was hunting the ones whose bones were buried deep in the ground. That kind of dinosaur hunting is much safer than the kind where the dinosaurs are still alive.

He knew I’d been around for a very long time and had certain knowledge about dinosaurs, as I’d seen them in person. So, he wanted me with him on some of his hunts. Over the next several years we went to many different places in America researching the leftover dinosaurs from days gone by. We followed the dinosaur discoveries from New Jersey, of all places, to Colorado, then Utah and the West Coast.

These dinosaur hunts brought back memories of the days when I saw these enormous creatures in person. In those days I didn’t on purpose go looking for them. I spent most of my time finding ways to avoid them. Don’t get me wrong, some were kind and friendly, but even the kind and friendly ones were pretty big, and that made them dangerous to a very small mouse.

I made some friends back in those days, where there were different kinds of dinosaur hunts. These friends helped me with knowing what to do to avoid the dangerous dinosaurs, and how to keep myself safe, through the dinosaur hunts. You see the dinosaur hunts back then, were where the dinosaurs were the ones hunting, and sometimes they were hunting, me.

My friends helped me make a dinosaur field guide with notes and other things in it to help me stay safe. The field guide was very helpful, so I’ll send you a copy to help you on your dinosaur hunt. Good luck with your hunt, and stay safe out there.



P.S. If you’d like to know more about my old friend Joe, you can read about him at the link below. I’m not mentioned, but I’m used to that…


Joseph Leidy








To the Grandparent – How to prepare for this adventure:

Get ready for fun and high adventure! In this activity you have to set up a dinosaur hunt for your grandchildren, through your helper. You’ll make, purchase a dinosaur nest, I used a 10 inch natural coco plant liner for this. It worked perfect, you just have to shape it into a nest. You also get to make a dinosaur egg, which you will fill with treats for your grandchild. You can make as many eggs as you wish, I made three for each grandchild, but one would suffice. Next is the fossil rocks. I did some research and finally ended up with simply using air dry clay for this element. I found some small toys that looked like dinosaur fossils and squashed the air-dry clay around them. The air-dry clay is all natural and easy to work with. I also found some awesome stuffed dinosaurs, I used heat transfer vinyl to put my grandchildren’s names on the dinosaur tummies. (They loved that!) You can do that, or find whatever dinosaur toy you want to use. The dinosaurs, eggs, and fossil rocks are all placed in the nest for the grandchildren to find on their dinosaur hunt.

The Dinosaur Field Guide is another component that is lots of fun for this activity. The field guide should let the grandchildren know what dinosaur tracks to follow and which ones not to follow. You can use your imagination to create your own guide and dinosaur tracks. Just make it fun and keep it simple. I’ll give examples of what I did below.

I used cardstock to make the field guide and dinosaur tracks. I also used lots of stickers and other embellishments for the field guide. Just have fun with it, used your imagination. I cut the dinosaur tracks out and laminated them, so my grandkids could use and reuse them on future dinosaur hunts.

Before the video chat, have your helper place the nest, filled with dinosaur, eggs, and fossil rocks, in a secluded area then lay out the dinosaur tracks in a way that will challenge, but not be too hard for your grandchild to find. The dinosaur tracks should lead to the secluded nest. There are/should be do not follow tracks included in this activity. Place them in areas that will be noticeable, but if your child starts to follow them, remind them to re-read the field guide about what tracks to follow and what tracks not to follow.


Materials List:

The Dinosaur Hunters Kit  – Coming soon!

Dinosaur toy

Large plastic egg – like the ones used for Easter

Acrylic paint – I used the color burlap, then put brown spots on the egg. Then I sealed it with mod podge. It took three layers of paint and one of mod podge.

Mod podge

Construction paper or cardstock

Sponge brush

Decorlife 10 Inch Natural Coco Liners for Planters, Round Hanging Basket Liners – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089M74BDL?psc=1&ref=ppx_yo2_dt_b_product_details

Air dry clay – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001GAP4YA?ref=nb_sb_ss_w_as-ypp-ro-model_ypp_ro_model_k0_1_8&crid=3CGVKB6DZNUYE&sprefix=air+dry+

Treats/candy – to fill the dinosaur eggs (place the treats in small baggies before you put them in the eggs, just for safety sake.)


Check list for the grandparents’ special box, before you mail:

Letter(s) from Phineas

Dinosaur nest

Dinosaur egg

Dinosaur Field Guide

Dinosaur fossil rocks

Letter(s) from the grandparent(s) to each grandchild


Field test and results:

Wow! This one was so much fun, both to develop and to play. I even got applause! It was all fun from start to finish. My helpers on the other side of the chat got their job done and the plan was executed with much success. My grandchildren loved every moment, and were totally engaged in the letter, the hunt, and of course the toys and treats.

I always cherish the end when they read my letters and we talk about what I wrote, or they answer my questions. It was so cool when Little Wolf looked surprised about the part of my letter where it told him about an exercising lizard on the wall just outside my window. It was so special to me when he said, “Grandma, I never seen a exercising lizard before!”

I hope you have fun and enjoy the long distant grandparent journey…


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