Enjoy GRAND Magazine

for grandparents & those who love them

Ready, Action: Smartphone Movie Magic

There is plenty of controversy about how much technology is too much for our birds these days. What makes fewer headlines, though, is how many creative and constructive ways we can use new technology to educate and entertain them. For this activity, all you need is a smartphone (or other video recording device) and some willing actors. Know anyone who likes to be the center of attention?

First, take time to experiment with using your phone or device to record and playback. With most smartphones, you can simply pull up your camera app and slide the little button from the camera icon to the movie camera icon. Then, push the red button when you are ready to record and again when you are ready to stop. The recorded movie should show up wherever your pictures are kept and will have a “play” button (usually a triangle icon) for you to push. If you are having trouble figuring out how to film, ask for help or consider looking up an instructive video on YouTube.

Second, gather your actor or actors for a planning meeting about what type of movie you want to make. You may want to start with simple stories they already know from classic fairy tales, books or movies. Then, progress to writing never-before-seen originals. Figure out who will play which role(s) and go over the gist of each scene. You can also write up a quick script or draw a storyboard together, if needed.

Third, get creative! Pull out costumes, scavenge for props and designate sets for various scenes. Recruit neighborhood children, drive or bike to nearby locations and add musical numbers. This project can be as simple or as involved as desired. You can even work on your movie in several installments over days or weeks.

As you complete each scene, watch it together and decide whether to shoot a retake or “call it a wrap.“ Once the entire project is finished, plan a screening party with popcorn and lemonade. Attendees may want to dress up for the event and walk the red carpet, smiling for the cameras, of course.

There are myriad benefits to this one activity:

  1. Naturally, you get to spend quality creative time with your grandkids
  2. After your masterpiece is done, you have a ready-made video featuring your favorite stars
  3. Finally, it becomes an instant keepsake for your family to treasure in the years to come

So, quiet on the set and roll the reel because it’s time to make movie magic! Here are a few story ideas to get you started:


Fairy Tales

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Hansel and Gretel

Little Red Riding Hood

The Princess and the Pea




Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlotte’s Web

Harry Potter

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Secret Garden

Where the Wild Things Are




Beauty and the Beast


Finding Nemo

The Jungle Book

The Lion King

Toy Story

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.

Only $ 6.95

A Special eBook for New and Expecting GRANDparents

My Grand Baby ebook cover