Canceling birthday parties, sleepovers, and extracurricular activities mean that children are spending more time than ever away from their friends. Since local and international officials are advising against letting kids gather or play on public play structures, it's time to get creative and help your kids connect to help maintain friendships while boosting their spirits.
Using any of the video-chat platforms that you have on your mobile device or computer can accommodate a group call. There are some apps that have been created specifically for calls between kids that allow parental controls to be set up. Caribu
allows kids to make calls, but also to read books, draw, or do puzzles together in real-time. Facebook’s Messenger Kids
allows parents to control the contacts on their children’s accounts and then enables them to talk or call with those people.
For most kids, video calls will be mostly focused on saying ‘Hi’ to their friends and being happy to see their faces. However, if you have older kids who miss their friends, below are some additional suggestions to help them through this change in their lives.
If you child loves to read, create a book club for their friends. Everyone can order the hardcopy or download the text from their local libraries, read the book, and come together to talk about it.
Playing a game that requires only a dice, such as Candyland would be possible between two households. One child can move the pieces and keep score, while the other rolls their dice.
Pokémon cards, racecars, or show-and-tell all work well over a video chat. Letting kids get creative with dress-up or drawing with their friends is a great idea too.
Many video games also have multiplayer versions that can allow kids to connect from multiple locations.
Coordinate with another parent to set up a small tea-party with juice and snacks before beginning the virtual playdate. Each child can sip their tea and talk about what they have been doing.
If you have a Netflix account, installing the Netflix Party
extension on Google Chrome will allow your child to watch a show or movie in real-time with their friends. They can chat and share their reactions on the show while it plays.
Neighborhood Item Hunts
Neighborhood scavenger hunts
have become increasingly popular, with local communities coming together to create themed hunts by hiding items around the outside of their houses. Some families are putting up teddy bears in windows
, encouraging other children to go for a walk, and find all of the bears that are hiding!
Take the opportunity to get outside and use chalk to create a sidewalk obstacle course
. Draw hopscotch, jumping challenges, and zigzags on the sidewalk in front of your house. Not only will it be fun to create the project as a family, but it will be exciting for the next kids who walk that way!
The kids who are not able to celebrate their birthdays with friends are certainly feeling sad this year. Help cheer them up and remind them that their friends are thinking of them by crafting and sending fun birthday cards.