With remote learning and social distancing, social interactions for kids are looking a lot different these days. Even though there might be fewer opportunities for kids to be social in person, there are still ways for kids to practice and use their social skills. Many activities kids do in person can be adapted for video calls and still allow kids to practice conversation skills, being friendly, taking turns, cooperation, and being a good sport. Here are some activity ideas kids can try over a video call with friends:
Play verbal games like I-spy, the animal guessing game, and 20 questions. Many verbal games that kids already know can be played easily over video calls. In these games there are many opportunities for kids to practice taking turns, conversation skills like asking questions, and sharing the talking time.
- I-Spy: Kids take turns giving a hint about something they “spy” in another player’s background and the other players take turns guessing what it is.
- Animal guessing game: Kids take turns thinking of an animal for the other players to try to guess. The other players will take turns asking questions and guessing the animal.
- 20 questions: Kids take turns thinking of something, it can be anything or it could be a part of a theme the group agrees on, and the other players try to figure out what it is by asking 20 questions.
Do show and tell. Show and tell is a great activity for kids to get to know each other and practice being friendly. Sharing something special allows kids to have conversations and make connections about their interests.
- Each child can take turns being the speaker and picking an item in their house to show their friends and tell them about.
- The speaker gets a couple minutes to tell everyone about what they picked. This is great for practicing conversation skills like describing something and answering questions.
- After the speaker is done, the friends listening can ask questions and make comments. This is great for practicing friendship skills like giving compliments and asking questions.
Try parallel play. Even though kids might not be able to physically do activities together or share items, kids can still parallel play with many of the same toys or activities they use in person. While parallel playing together, kids can still have conversations and practice cooperation.
- Crafts: Kids could cooperate and work together to decide on a craft they will make during their video call. They could use cooperation to decide what they will make, what they will need, and how they will make it.
- Legos or blocks: Kids can build independently while they talk or they could work together to decide what they will make. For example, kids could work together to build a city, they could build different parts of a city, or make tall towers, etc.
- Dolls, dinosaurs, toy animals, puppets, etc: Even over video calls kids can do imaginative play like having their dolls or toy animals talk to each other, they could even put on puppet shows for each other.
- Playdough or other sensory activities: Kids can play independently with playdough while talking during the video call. They could also work together to decide what they will make or make different things that go together. Examples are people, animals, food items like cookies and cupcakes, etc.
Set up a scavenger hunt. Kids love scavenger hunts and they work great over video calls. Scavenger hunts could be set up as a game with a winner or as a cooperative exercise where kids have to work together to complete the scavenger hunt.
- Kids could cooperate to come up with their own ideas for items to find in their houses.
- Kids could work together on the same scavenger hunt and split up the items to find in both of their houses. Maybe not everyone has all of the items in their house? Kids can work together ahead of time to figure out who will find what.
- Use a timer and make it a challenge to see who can complete the scavenger hunt first or before the timer runs out. This will give kids a chance to practice being a good sport by handling disappointment if they lose and being happy for the winner.
- Check out these printable scavenger hunts:
Social opportunities might be looking a little different for kids right now but there are still ways for kids to be social and have fun with their friends. Try out some of these activities and see what ideas your child has. Kids are so creative, they might have some great ideas of their own!
Text: © Kids In Transition to School 2020
Image: © Anchalee Yates | Dreamstime.com