A new year and a new lockdown with our children at home. Not exactly the start to 2021 we had planned!
So we’ve updated and reshaped these ideas for a virtual playdate. Even young children will love 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.
2. Easy Zoom game: I-Spy
In this twist on the traditional game, you can only name objects or people that everyone can see on the screen. It’s a great way for reception and Year 1-aged children to practice (and show off) their phonics skills.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Quiz alternative: 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:
- Challenge everyone to come up with team names.
- Do a practice round (with no points) to get everyone into the spirit of things.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
7. 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.
- 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.
- “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.
8. 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!
9. 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.
10. 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.
12. 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?