10 games to play on video calls with children

Virtual playdates

Video calls have become an important part of staying in touch with family and friends, but quizzes are tricky for children to get involved with and toddlers just don't like to sit still! Try creating a virtual playdate even young children will love with these easy activities and games you can play on FaceTime, Zoom or Skype. They're perfect for spending time with friends, cousins and grandparents when you can't see them in person.
  • 5-10 minutes
  • 2+

1. Good for class groups: show and tell

You’ll need: a toy, drawing or craft your child wants to show to their friends.

How to do it:

Children take it in turns to show and describe the thing they want to tell everyone about. 

It helps to have one parent in charge of choosing who’s next. And try muting everyone except the speaker for groups of young children.

2. Bug under the rug: a fun guessing game​

You’ll need: a blanket

1. Each child takes it in turns to hide a person (or an object) under the rug.

2. The children chant: “Bug, bug, under the rug. Who’s the bug under the rug?” And then start guessing. The hider can give clues – is it a person, a toy or something else? What colour is it? What else can they describe about it?

Great for sneaking in educational questions and for encouraging kids to take turns.

3. Perfect for playdates: group craft session

Choose a simple craft to do on a video call together, like this pipe cleaner rainbow.

What you’ll need: pipe cleaners, paper, cotton wool and glue.

What to do:

1. Bend the pipe cleaners into a rainbow shape and glue them to the paper. Add the cotton wool balls.

Show each other your progress as you go along.  

4. Instead of a quiz: team scavenger hunt​

Perfect if you want to include younger children in a family quiz. It’s a great way to get family members old and young to interact together.

Prepare: The organiser is the quizmaster and prepares a list of items for everyone to look for. We’ve included suggestions below.

On the call: 

  1. Challenge everyone to come up with team names.
  2. Do a practice round (with no points) to get everyone into the spirit of things.
  3. Call out each challenge – award 5 points for the first team back, 3 points to the second team, and extra points to any teams who show some creativity. 
  4. If you see a team flagging, freestyle a question that brings them back into the game. No-one wants your scaveneger hunt to be the last time Auntie Betty came onto a video call!

A few ideas

Find…

  • something that begins with a letter
  • an object that is spotty, stripy or flowery
  • something that is a certain colour
  • a pair of things
  • some pants and wear them for everyone to see
  • a drinking vessel
  • a potato-based product
  • a fruit
  • an item with a specific number on it
  • something with a picture of the Queen
  • a photo of someone in the game as a baby
  • an item that keeps you warm
  • something to make your hair nice 

5. One-on-one playdates: hide and seek

How to do it:

The kids said they wanted to play Hide and Seek, so we parents put our heads together and came up with a way to play it on a video call.

  1. The hider names three rooms they might be hiding in before running off to hide. Their parent (or an older sibling) holds the phone while the finders count. 
  2. “Coming, ready or not!” The finders  choose which of the three rooms to start looking in and tell the person holding the phone where to look. 

Simple!

6. Great with grandparents: virtual bedtime story

You’ll need: a good book

How to do it:

Just decide if you want the camera to show the reader or the book.

This idea is also brilliant for bringing together grandchildren in different locations – they can join for the same book. But keep the reader on the screen. You want it to be calming, not a pre-sleeptime riot!

7. Rainbow hunt

How to play:

All the kids on the call run off to find rainbow coloured objects and compete to build the biggest floor rainbow that they can.

8. Colour in together

You’ll need: some colouring in sheets, like these free printables 

Did you know colouring in is calming? And sometimes colouring pens and paper are all you need to keep kids sitting still when calling friends and family. 

9. Group yoga

Chilled and active at the same time – yoga is perfect for a video call. Children can take it in turns to show and copy these moves.

10. Puppet show: good for two siblings groups

You’ll need: puppets – but if you don’t have some, they’re easy to make. Just add googly eyes to a sock.

How to do it:

Challenge the children to prepare a show before the call and then perform them for each other. 

Why not bring popcorn?