It is finally summer, and parents want to make sure that their kids have the chance to spend time with friends. Although some restrictions are being lifted, many parents still feel more comfortable with the idea of virtual playdates. The question is, how do you make these playdates fun and exciting, especially after months of Facetime and Zoom calls? We have created a list of activity ideas that will keep your children engaged, even if they can’t be with their friends in person. These activities will allow you to build in some much-needed social time for your kids, while also encouraging their creativity and communication skills! They are great ideas to keep in mind for virtual family game nights and other social events taking place online!
Freeze dance is the perfect choice for a virtual playdate. One child can share their computer sound, and can be in charge of playing and pausing the music while the others dance! Alternatively, a parent could stop and start the music, allowing all of the children to dance. You could even add some extra rules to make the game more interesting! For example, maybe the children have to dance like a specific animal during each round. This game is rewarding because it gives kids the chance to move around, rather than just sitting and looking at their screen.
There are countless drawing games to try out during virtual playdates! Kids can play a simple game of pictionary, where one of them draws something and the others guess what it is! They could also play “Categories,” which is a bit more competitive. For this game, the kids select a letter and category (B and food, for example). Then, they each have to draw something that begins with that letter and fits into that category. If their ideas are different, everyone gets a point… but if they draw the same thing, nobody earns a point for that round! Zoom is one of the best platforms to use if you want to play these games, as it has a built-in whiteboard feature. When using this feature, multiple kids can draw on the screen at a time.
Charades is a game night classic, and it can be played by participants of almost any age! One child will act something out while the others guess. The children can take turns, giving everyone the chance to act and guess! Encourage your kids to narrow in on categories during each round, like animals, characters or sports. This will make the game more engaging, and might also be useful when they are trying to think of something to act out. You could also brainstorm with your child and type up a list of ideas beforehand. This could be especially helpful if your children struggle to come up with ideas on the spot.
Two Truths and One Lie
This game is geared towards older children, though it could be played by younger kids with the support of their parents. To play, the child must think of three things about themselves. Two of these things must be true and one must be a lie. For example, a child might say that they have a dog (true), they like the colour blue (true) and they play hockey (untrue). They will list these three things off to their friend(s), who will have to guess which statement is a lie. Older kids will enjoy this game because it involves an element of strategy, and it gives them the chance to get to know their friends better! If your kids are planning to play this game, you could always encourage them to make a list of facts and lies before their virtual playdate. This might allow the game to be played more smoothly and easily later on.
Guess the Tune
There are so many variations of this game, but they are all fun for kids and adults alike! The premise of the game is to play or hum a song while other people try to guess the title and/or artist. Young kids might play by thinking of a song they know and humming or singing part of it. The other kid(s) will then try to figure out which song they are singing. Older kids could play the game in the same way, or they could switch it up a bit. They might want to challenge their friends by playing the beginning of a song or a short instrumental segement. This game is perfect for virtual playdates because the rules are simple, and it doesn’t require many materials. Like with some of the other games, you could help to prepare your child by creating a list of songs or making an age-appropriate playist in advance.
Show and Tell
Kids love sharing their interests and ideas… but sometimes they draw a blank when a friend is staring back at them on their screen! Show and tell can add a bit more structure to the playdate, and it makes the sharing process less intimidating! Kids could show their friends a special object from home, like a favoutire toy or book. They could even show and tell about a special talent of theirs! For example, maybe they want to bring their device to the backyard to show their friend their awesome skipping skills! This is another fantastic way to encourage physical activity and communication during the virtual playdate! Just be sure to supervise your child if they decide to go outside, both for their own safety and to make sure their device does not get damaged!
Crafts and Science Experiments
Crafts and science experiments require more planning on the part of the parents, but these activities will keep children occupied for longer periods of time. To plan a craft or science experiment, contact the other family (or families) and settle on an idea that works for everyone. You will need to collect and/or purchase the necessary supplies prior to the virtual playdate. For example, if the kids are going to be making bracelets, you will need to find some string and beads ahead of time. On the day of the playdate, make sure your child has access to the art or science supplies. The kids can then do the craft/science experiment simultaneosly while they are on Zoom or Facetime. Older kids may be able to do this independently, but younger kids will probably require some prompts and assistance. While there is definitely some work involved for the adults, these types of activities are so beneficial; they give children the opportunity to do hands-on activities with their friends… virtually!
Virtual Field Trips
A virtual field trip is another amazing playdate idea! By using a platform like Zoom, one child could share the virtual field trip website or video on their screen. This way, multiple kids could watch, explore and learn together! We have already curated several lists of incredible virtual field trip resources! You can click on this link if you would like to browse through some spectacular science trips! We have also created blog posts about art, geography, amusement park and animal field trips! We encourage you to take a look at these before your child’s next playdate; with all of these incredible options, you are bound to find a virtual field trip that interests your child and their friends!
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