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5 Old Things That May Be New to Your Grandchild

5 Old Things That May Be New to Your Grandchild


In a world where things are moving forward so quickly, it may seem like there is nothing new that you can show your grandchildren. However, the answer may be as simple as taking a small step back in time. With technology changing so quickly, we sometimes have to remind ourselves that the everyday things from when we were growing up are strange and unfamiliar to our grandkids. You will be able to impress and amaze them with these “old” items because they will be something new to them.


  • Telephones. Most of us still use land-line phones, which are of endless entertainment to grandchildren old enough to answer, but there is even more fun to be had with an old rotary phone. If you have one, either unplug it from the wall or unearth it from where it’s been stored and let your grandchild explore how it works. Playing telephone is way more fun on a big, clunky phone with a dial rather than just holding a cell phone up to their ear. You can also teach them that “hanging up” the phone used to actually mean replacing the receiver on the cradle.


  • Records. Music is such a big part of adolescence and affords a unique opportunity to bond with grandchildren. A good way to go about this is to spend some time learning about and listening to music that is special to them, and then have them learn about and listen to music that was or is special to you. If you have records in your house, get them out and let your grandchild look at the covers and touch the grooves. You will really wow them if you still have a working record player. Searching for records at garage or estate sales and then listening to them together can also be a quality bonding activity.


  • Cameras. Pre-digital, film cameras are another biggie, and most of us have one on hand. A fantastic activity is to find a store that still sells 35mm film and show your grandchild how to load the film into the camera. Then, take pictures together and go to have the film developed. (Professional camera stores will still do this.) The entire process will be eye-opening for your grandchild and will teach them that not everything has always been instant. However, if you have an old Polaroid camera and film, you and your grandchild can have a ball taking instant photos!


  • Outdated appliances. Really any electronic throwback will do—television sets with dials, a transistor radio, a typewriter, etc. When introducing one of these, take the chance to tell your grandchild a little bit about what your life was like when you used it. Your stories will be just as fascinating and memorable as the vintage item.


  • Encyclopedias. There are few homes with young children these days that also have a full set of encyclopedias. With the internet, there isn’t much use for them. However, you and an older grandchild can easily fill an afternoon by taking turns coming up with topics to look up and explore in these tomes. Children love to be able to hold something tangible, and they also love to be able to explain things to you. If your grandchild is at an age where school projects are still exciting, give them a topic to research and do a report on.


As grandparents, sometimes we can feel outdated and obsolete, but that can also be what makes us exotic and exciting. We can offer our grandchildren information and ideas from our past that will be novel to them. So, start with what you’ve got stashed around the house. The items that seem the most practical and mundane will prove to be the most fascinating!

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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