Keeping kids connected with friends and social even from a distance with online kids’ activities and virtual playdates is an important boost to mental health, helping them to feel less stressed and decreasing feelings of isolation and loneliness during extended times at home. Try these tips for when kids are stuck at home and can’t leave the house—online playdate ideas for digital time to reconnect kids with friends!
Virtual Activities for Socializing From Home
How To Keep Kids Connected Online When They Can’t Be Together
Keep Kids Connected Tip #1: Have a movie watching party…online!
Did you know that you can now host a playdate movie online?
You can connect with your friends and interact while watching a movie on Netflix!
“Netflix Party is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online.
Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.”
(How cool, right?)
Cue up a good kid or family movie and let your kids connect with their friends and all watch it together.
(Don’t forget the popcorn and snacks! You can even make up online playdates snack packs and drop them at the kids’ houses before your online party.)
Keep Kids Connected Tip #2: Have a virtual play date.
Virtual playdates during social distancing are now a huge thing, you just need to get creative with your online playdate!
And, you can create a virtual playdate kindergarten (or preschool) and up!
What is a virtual playdate?
A virtual playdate is allowing kids to meet up in an online environment instead of in person using apps like Zoom or FaceTime and more. During a the virtual play date, kids can talk, play game, share art, do a virtual scavenger hunt or many other fun things!
How To Have Virtual Playdate
To have a virtual playdate, you have to decide how the kids will connect online.
Video chat for kids is a great way to keep kids connected during times they’re stuck at home or they can’t leave the house and have a virtual playdate.
Here are some ways kids can video chat with family and friends:
(There are clearly more ways for your kids to connect, but we’ve included the safer versions here.)
NEED A COMPUTER UPGRADE FOR PLAYDATES AND AT HOME LEARNING?
How To Host a Virtual Playdate
What do you do in virtual playdate?
15 Virtual Kids Playdate Ideas:
- Have a virtual dance party.
- Cook or bake together.
- Play a game like charades or Pictionary Air.
- Draw together.
- Do show and tell.
- Watch YouTube.
- Read books aloud together.
- Do a magic show.
- Have a virtual Lego playdate and create together.
- Sing karaoke.
- Play online playdate games through free virtual playdate apps for kids.
- Visit a museum virtually.
- Tour each other’s houses.
- Have a pet show and tell.
- Do an online scavenger hunt (which is fun if you need Zoom playdate ideas or Zoom games for kids!).
Your kids could even create a virtual playdate invitation using a online creator like PicMonkey or Canva.
Keep Kids Connected Tip #3: Use messenger platforms.
During times of isolation, it’s good to lift (or lessen) the restrictions on your kids for using tech.
Allow then to text, Snap, or whatever is their thing to connect with their friends.
One of my favorite apps for my daughter is the Facebook kids’ messenger app (MessengerKids).
I like this free messaging app because:
- She doesn’t need a Facebook page for it,
- I have to approve all of her connections,
- She can text and video chat, and
- I can monitor who she talks to and how much time she spends using the app each week.
Keep Kids Connected Tip #4: Host a FacebookLive or Watch Party.
On Facebook, you can do a Live or a Watch Party.
- A Live allows your/your kids to go LIVE on a video on your (or their) page. Friends can then interact in comments and with emojis.
- A Watch Party allows you all to watch a video on Facebook and interact with comments and emojis.
“Watch Party is a new way for people to watch videos on Facebook together in real time. Once a Watch Party is started, participants can watch videos, live or recorded, and interact with one another around them in the same moment. We’ve been focused on building new ways to bring people together around video, create connections, and ignite conversations; Watch Party is the next step in bringing this vision to life.”
Keep Kids Connected Tip #5: Explore a virtual field trip together.
Use software like Zoom, GoToMeeting, or others to go on a virtual field trip or share your computer screen for other things the kids are working on.
They can both see the same screen and interact on what is going on or what they’re seeing!
Such a cool option for online playdate activities!
VIRTUALLY TOUR: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Keep Kids Connected Tip #6: Play an online game together.
Kids can connect if they have the same gaming console, but we seriously love Draw and Guess (now Drawize) that we play right on our phones or tablets.
It’s a free app that’s like Pictionary for online people located in different places.
Seriously addicting (and hysterical).
TRY IT or any of the other online group games available for free!
Keep Kids Connected Tip #7: Go Old School: Write letters!
It’s a lost art, but how about writing some old school letters or postcards and mailing them out?
(It’s always fun to get unexpected mail!)
Getting groans about writing?
Have your kids draw or print out some art they created online and send to a friend to keep your kids connected.
OR, Try PicMonkey.com for free and let them create some online art or graphics!
Keep Kids Connected Tip #8: Have a virtual sleepover!
Have you heard?
A virtual online sleepover is the new big thing!
Kids do all the things they do at a sleepover — dress in favorite jammies, play games, have snacks — except everyone connects online and does it from the safety and comfort of their own home.
This is one of those fun things to do while stuck indoors for kids and when they need things to do when stuck at home for kids and friends!
How do you host a virtual party for kids?