One of the hardest things about the Coronavirus quarantine with kids is knowing how much the little ones miss their extended family and friends. Thankfully, there are tons of ways to keep in touch, and they’re a lot more fun than your office Zoom conference calls! Here are eight great ideas to help your toddler, preschooler, or young elementary-aged child connect with family and friends safely from afar.
Make a Craft to Send to a Loved One
Help your child with a heartfelt craft project, like this adorable DIY rainbow necklace, and send it to a friend or family member they currently miss. Younger ones can simply draw a picture or make a card to send in the mail.
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Play Guess What I’ve Drawn?
A fresh spin on the time-sensitive game of Pictionary, Guess What I’ve Drawn? is a great way to get your kiddo scribbling. Let them choose what to draw (or provide some help with ideas), then take a photo of it and message it to a friend or family member. Give them a few hours to take a guess!
Do a Build It! Challenge
Enlist grandparents, aunts, and uncles to come up with Build assignments for your children. It’s your job to provide the building materials—blocks, LEGO, toothpicks and marshmallows, etc.—and to record the finished work. Then share it with everyone to see what your kids can do while stuck at home.
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Set the Table For… A Ton!
Meals are a great time to connect with family and friends, especially since you don’t know when you’ll be able to enjoy going out to restaurants together again. Plan to make the same meal then sit down at the same time and video chat as if you’re around the same dinner table.
Host a Virtual Story Time
Record a video of your child reading a favorite book and send it to a classmate who can then read a story in return. Inspire your child to find old favorites around the house or even write an original story and illustrate a book to share.
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FaceTime Dance Party!
Do a group FaceTime with family or friends and let the kids have a dance party. Little ones love freeze dance, the hokey pokey, the electric slide, the YMCA, and head, shoulders, knees, and toes, to name a few. And older relatives and family friends will love watching the fun unfold. Turn on the music and let the active fun begin! Bonus points for breaking out the Hula-Hoops and glow sticks.
Play Online Games
There are tons of online games that your kids can play with family and friends, with or without adult help! Such pastimes include Monopoly, card games like gin rummy, The Game of Life, and Scrabble.
Watch a Movie Together
If your kids are going to be watching a movie anyway, you might as well make it a party! The Netflix Party app helps you and your friends synchronize the screening so it’s like you’re watching from the same couch. There’s also a group chat included so you can share all your thoughts on the story, favorite characters, and more.
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Whitney C. Harris is a freelance writer and NYMetroParents’ Manhattan and Westchester calendar editor. She lives in Sleepy Hollow, NY, with her husband, a toddler, a preschooler, and a dog.