With social distancing fully in place all over the world at this point, many of us are getting stir crazy — kids included.
This will be hard on us all in many different ways, but our children in particular will suffer from a lack of social connection outside the time.
Fortunately, there are so many ideas to keep your kids from feeling too sad or isolated during these difficult times, including virtual playdates!
What Is a Virtual Playdate?
A virtual playdate is a video call between little friends. They can feel like they’re in the same room while maintaining a safe physical distance.
How to hold a virtual playdate:
Talk to the parents of your kids’ friends to set up a time.
Set up your phone or tablet on a stand, or put your computer somewhere your kid can play in front of.
Pick an activity — or even a couple — and make sure the other parents have the same activities planned.
Gather up everything your kid(s) will need for the playdate activities, and set them up in front of the device.
At the designated time, use FaceTime, Skype, Whatsapp, or another video calling service to make the connection.
Don’t forget to take screenshots or pictures to remember these sweet little moments!
Read on for a list of activities, project ideas, and a printable checklist you can work your way through.
What Are Some Good Virtual Playdate Ideas?
There’s so much that kids can do without being in the same room together. They have the most incredible little imaginations, and they just need our help setting up the systems to let them activate those brains!
One butterfly sensory bin on each side of the phone could be a great conversation starter. Depending on kids' ages, it could just be a play-based activity. But older kids can discuss different prompts for an even more educational component.
Polymer clay is a ton of fun because it won't dry out in the air. Kids can play with it for ages, and then when they have a sculpture they love, a quick trip in the oven will make it permanent. They could make little door hangers, necklaces -- anything!
Grab a bunch of mini bird houses or even just a regular-sized one. Let kids paint them to their hearts' content. For extra fun -- and busy time -- add beads and other embellishments as long as they're only going to be decorative.
Make a little mini album that kids can add to. Don't just stick pictures in there. Go crazy with stickers, a penny you found on a walk, ticket stubs, etc. You can make this a running project that gets longer each time you add something to it.
Hand-washing is so, so important, but kids are in such a hurry that it's hard to get them to slow down long enough to wash away the germs. These itty bitty soaps are fun enough to get them to hold still. You could even make it a contest -- who can wash away their whole soap first each day?