Connecting with our children: Virtual games and activities to play during COVID-19
May 06, 2020
Many of our 'normal' day-to-day activities and social interactions have come to a halt as we practise social distancing at home. We're no longer able to go to the gym, enjoy a coffee with friends or visit with family, and our children are no longer able to play with their friends or attend school.
For some of us, this new reality might present as a welcome reprieve from the hectic pace of day-to-day life, but for the younger ones in our lives, this can be a time filled with anxiety and boredom. For strategies about how to talk to your child about COVID-19, click here.
As a Family Support Counsellor at Wood's Homes Family Support Network, I have had many parents/caregivers reach out to me regarding ways to connect with children during COVID-19. Below you will find a list that I have pulled together of games and activities you can play with children over the phone or via video.
Let’s have some fun:
21 questions (video or phone call): Ask 21 questions about the other person that you don’t know the answers to.
Last letter (video or phone call): Begin by saying a word like walking, and then ask the next person to say a word that begins with the last letter of the previous word, for example giraffe – encyclopedia – act – tree.
I have never (video or phone call): One person states three things that they have ‘never’ done, with two of them being true and one of them not being true. The other person has to guess which one is not true.
Guess the object (video or phone call): One person thinks of an object and writes it down, but doesn’t show or tell the other person. The other person has 20 chances to ask questions that would help them guess the object. For example, if the object is a balloon, questions could include: Is it big? Is it alive? Is it edible?
Charades (video): The player thinks of someone or something they want to be (an animal, a famous person, an object, doing a sport, etc.) and then attempts to act it out. The other player(s) make guesses as to what it is and when they guess correct the actor tells them. The actor can’t talk to the people guessing what they are acting out.
Rhymes (video or phone call): The first person begins by saying a word and asking the other person something that rhymes with it. They continue to take turns rhyming with the previous word until they run out of words to rhyme with (e.g. Bat, hat, pat, cat, sat, fat, rat…).
Tell a story (video or phone call): The first person starts telling a story with only using five words at a time, for example (e.g. once upon a time there…) and the next person continues to the story with five words (e.g. was a cat in a).
Scavenger hunt (video call): One person asks the other person to find certain things that would be in their area (be mindful of where they are and what they may be able to access). For example, a book, pencil, animal, plant, pillow or food item.
Hangman (video or phone call): One person thinks of a word or phrase, and then tells/shows the other person how many letters and spaces are in the word or phrase. The other person guesses letters for the word. When the guess is incorrect, the player draws body parts of the hang man. If the player gets a letter correct, it is written in the appropriate space. If the hangman gets completed as a full person – start over.
Read my lips (video call): One person mouths a word or phrase but does not say it out loud. The other person has to guess what was said. Take turns with each person saying something and the other person guessing.
Read a story (video or phone call): One person reads to the other person. It could for a bedtime story or for older children to practise their reading skills!
What if? (video or phone call): Take turns answering the question “what if…”. For example, what if we owned a zoo? What if you were a millionaire? What if you were a famous singer?
I spy (video call): Play “I spy” with my little eye, items in the background of a video call.
- Take screen shots together making funny faces while on video
- Have a theme during video calls (e.g. safari, fancy dinner, luau, a colour theme)
- Colour/draw pictures at the same time and then show the other person on video
- Sing songs to the other person or sing together
- Pray together