A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Roger Shank’s commercial website “Grandparent Games,” which permits grandparents to have digital, interactive play with a young grandchild when both are on high-speed Internet connections and are using webcams. About a week after I shared that post, our 4 year old’s Texas granddad called and asked if Rachel could get online and play some games with him, because he had configured an account on Grandparent Games and wanted to give it a try.

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Rachel enjoyed interacting with Granddaddy on the site, and they probably played together for about twenty minutes. It is great to see a website like this which has been created for grandparent and grandchild interaction. 🙂 I’m sure they will be logging on together again soon!

To login, we simply had to enter Granddaddy’s email address. He paid the monthly subscription fee (which is quite reasonable at $10 per month, and can be cancelled anytime) so we didn’t have to pay anything. In the photo below, Granddaddy is drawing something on the whiteboard and Rachel is trying to guess what it is:

Rachel and Granddaddy playing on Grandparent Games

The program can be used for “regular” desktop videoconferencing as well as playing games together. Rachel and grandmother were quite happy to just talk to one another over the website:

Grandmother talks to Rachel on Grandparent Games

My need to interact once we got the website configured to use the iSight camera on our Macbook was minimal. Like UStream.tv, “Grandparent Games” requires that Macbook users select the USB-CAM option when choosing the iSight camera video source.

Dad and Rachel talking to Granddaddy

I sure wish I had been able to videoconference and have digital interactions with my grandparents when I was four years old. The world our children are growing up into is changing in basic ways before our very eyes. Our abilities to use digital technologies to maintain and strengthen our family relationships are only going to grow in power in the years ahead. 🙂

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