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March 11, 2012 1:16 AM   Subscribe

What fun things can I do over Skype to maintain a relationship with my nephew between visits? He's 2 years old right now, but I'm also interested in things he might enjoy as he gets older.

I love my nephew to bits, but he lives on the other side of the world so I don't get to see him as often as I'd like. What are some fun things I can do with him over Skype, bearing in mind that he has a 2-year-old's attention span and doesn't quite have the words yet for a proper two-way conversation? I'm also interested in ideas that might work better as he gets older - I imagine it'll get easier as he gets more talkative?
posted by embrangled to Human Relations (12 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Puppet shows! Skype is totally made for puppet shows!
posted by Jilder at 1:54 AM on March 11, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Now: nursery rhymes with hand movements? Stuff like Incy Wincy Spider? Open Shut Them, Open Shut Them, Give a Little Clap (I have no idea of the real title.)

And, as much as I hate to suggest this, Wiggles songs. Fruit Salad. Big Red Car. With lots of elaborate hand movements to keep him interested.

In a couple of years: bad jokes. (Knock knock. Who's there? Esther. Esther who? Esther bunny!) And encourage him to tell you his favourite jokes, none of which will make any sense but that's the fun thing about little kids and their jokes.

I've got a book somewhere that I can't lay my hands on right now, but it's like Australian bush fairy tale poetry. (The best story is when native animals put out a bushfire with lemonade.) Reading a few stanzas and leaving him in suspense to see what happens next might be fun.

A year or two later: cool science stuff like putting drops of food colouring in a bowl of milk & adding dishwashing liquid.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:00 AM on March 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Seconding puppet shows, or rather Teddy-Bear soap operas. Playing together with stuffed animals, having the animals Skype eachother etc is a goldmine of entertainment for both sides.
posted by Iteki at 4:08 AM on March 11, 2012

Best answer: My folks sign songs, hold up stuffed animals, etc. to their granddaughter. Just assume the calls will be short, scattershot, and sometimes "rudely" end when the child decides to go play with blocks instead. Keep it up! It seems to have made a big difference in how quickly my folks are accepted when our daughter sees them in person.
posted by stevis23 at 5:38 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sometimes you can use the medium itself. Cover up the camera lens on your end to play peek-a-boo. Or you can give the computer hugs.
posted by wnissen at 8:18 AM on March 11, 2012

Best answer: My recurrent crowd-pleasing move on Skype: position laptop to film one of our cats. OMG we're having a Skype call with a CAT! *simulated petting* Hello kitty! (Crowd: catless niece & nephew, several years older than yours.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 8:18 AM on March 11, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My son would play peek-a-boo with my parents for an hour when he was 2. They would move around the room, in and out of the view of the camera. He would try to peer through the screen to see more of the room. Whenever my dad would pop in from the top of the screen, upside down, my son would fall out laughing.
posted by myselfasme at 8:44 AM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

My parents do weekly poetry reading with my kids (6 and 3). It's nice because there's a concrete thing to do and and concrete stopping time.

The older one gets a paper with the poem and reads it out loud, but the younger is read to.
posted by leahwrenn at 9:52 AM on March 11, 2012

Emoticons in the IM window. I have known many children who can giggle for delighted hours over exchanging emoticons.
posted by bardophile at 2:25 PM on March 11, 2012

Best answer: Whenever I video-chat with my kids, I get attacked by stuffed animals that suddenly lunge at me from off-camera. My children ignore my screams for help and just laugh at me. So sad.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:44 PM on March 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Our 2-year-old doesn't do conversations but will respond to "What noise does a dog make?" etc etc which leads to opportunities for lavish praise.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:42 PM on March 11, 2012

Response by poster: All great ideas, thank you so much! feral_goldfish, you're definitely right about cats - I brought mine in on last week's call and my nephew absolutely loved it.
posted by embrangled at 12:02 AM on March 12, 2012

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