Social interaction is a very important part of a young child’s development?
Social interaction helps children develop boundaries, problem-solving skills, cooperation skills, and a sense of self. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 quarantine has made it extremely difficult for children to socially interact.
This lack of social interaction has many child psychologists and scientists worried that children growing up during this time will fall behind in areas of social and emotional intelligence. Luckily, all hope isn’t lost.
While children may not be able to interact with their peers face-to-face, you can still set up virtual playdates. While virtual playdates are an excellent alternative in these trying times, it can sometimes be tricky trying to keep your child engaged during a virtual playdate.
How do you do it?
Check out this guide to discover the top activities that will help keep children engaged during a virtual playdate.
1. Have a Dance Party
One of the biggest downsides to virtual playdates is that they often involve your children plopping in front of the computer and not moving. During “normal” playdates, your children typically have the opportunity to move around and exercise.
Luckily, you can make up for this lack of movement by hosting a virtual dance party. All you need to do is play some music and your kids can get moving. Perhaps each kid can choose a song, and then they can decide whether they want to dance freestyle or have a dance-off.
To take your dance party to the next level, you can buy some glowsticks for your children. Then, you can shut the lights off and have a virtual glow in the dark dance party.
2. Read Aloud
Did you know that children that are read to more often have improved listening and language skills? And, did you know that reading aloud can help forge strong emotional connections?
While a lot of parents reserve reading time for bedtime, there’s no reason that you can’t incorporate a reading aloud session into your virtual playdates. All you need to do is have each child choose one or two of their favorite books.
If the children are old enough, they can read the books aloud to one another. If your children don’t yet know how to read, then you can help with the reading process.
3. Host a Virtual Talent Show
For this virtual playdate, you’ll want to give all of the kids a little time to prepare. Tell each child that they need to come prepared with a talent to share with their friends- it can be singing, dancing, hula hooping, jump roping- the sky’s the limit!
Then, during the playdate, the children can take turns sharing their talent. To keep things organized and moving along, it’s best to have a parent MC the talent show.
4. Host a Virtual Show and Tell
Seriously, what kid doesn’t love show and tell?
Since many kids aren’t in school now, a virtual show and tell can be a great way to incorporate their favorite classroom activities into the home. You can have the show and tell be completely open-ended, or you can pick a theme.
For example, you can tell each child to select their favorite toy to share with the class, or you can tell everyone to find something cool in nature to share with the class. Whatever it is, there’s no doubt that the kids will have fun sharing their favorite items with their friends.
5. Play a Game
Whether you’re using Zoom or another video conferencing device, there are so many wonderful games you can play virtually. Mad Libs is perfect for a virtual playdate, and it’s guaranteed that there will be a lot of laughs.
Bingo is also a great option, and it’s a great game to play if you want to refresh your kids on their numbers and letters. You can print Bingo cards online, or you can even have the kids make their own custom cards. If you want to download a bingo call sheet to your computer from your phone, you can use this guide to learn about backing up iPhone to Mac.
If there are just two kids hanging in the virtual playdate, you can help them set up a virtual chess, checkers, or backgammon game.
To make the game session a little more fun, we suggest involving prizes. You can either mail these out to the winners or do a doorstep drop off.
6. Host a Netflix Party
Sometimes, a virtual playdate doesn’t need to be anything more than relaxing and watching a movie with friends.
Luckily, there’s a Chrome extension that allows you to simultaneously screen a movie on Netflix with friends. This way, if the kids want to pause the movie for a bit and chat or grab snacks, they don’t have to worry about making sure they stop the film at the exact same time.
The extension also allows you to see your friends while watching a film, so it feels like you’re in the same living room just hanging out.
7. Bake Together
While a virtual baking playdate may sound like a recipe for disaster, it’s a lot easier than you’d think.
All you need to do is find a kid-friendly recipe and the children can have fun creating a new meal at the same time. Once everything is ready, the kids can then compare their creations over Zoom and enjoy their treats as they munch and talk.
Are You Ready to Host a Virtual Playdate?
Now that you have these ideas, you’ll be better equipped for your next virtual playdate. While virtual playdates are certainly not the same as in-person playdates, they’re the best we’ve got for the time being!
For more tips on keeping your kids busy during quarantine, be sure to check back in with our blog.