When schools closed in March, many kids probably celebrated, thinking that the “early spring break” would mean more time to hang out with friends. But when COVID-19 restrictions put a kibosh on playdates and extracurricular activities, it left them longing for social interaction.
Now, nearly six months into the pandemic, parents are scrambling to come up with fresh activity ideas, kids are going stir crazy (can you blame them?), and everyone just wants to go back to in-person interactions with others.
Looking for help? Use these 10 ideas to keep your child connected to friends and bring some form of “normal” back into their lives.
How Kids Can Stay Social During Social Distancing
- Dance: Break out the speakers and throw a socially distanced dance party or initiate a freeze dance competition. Do this via video or live outside — with neighbors and kids…everyone in their own driveways, of course.
- Become Pen Pals: Getting snail mail is exciting — especially now! Children of all ages can make things to send to friends, whether that means scribbles on a piece of paper, a letter, or a homemade card. Hopefully, they’ll get something in return and continue sending things back and forth.
- Organize a Town Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of things that will be easy for your child and their friends to find around town while staying a safe distance from others. Send it out to the other parents, set a time limit, and see who can find everything fastest — you can even put a prize on the line.
- Host Concerts: Get all of the children in the neighborhood out on their porches or in their driveways to make music. No matter their instruments of choice — pots, pans, and wooden spoons; a xylophone; empty containers that double as drums; a recorder; you name it — working together to create a symphony of noises will be entertaining for sure.
- Play Games: Just because your child can’t be with friends in person doesn’t mean games are off the table. Video games might be your obvious first thought, but educational online games exist, too! Plus, children can video chat with each other while playing charades, Pictionary, or a board game that they both have at home.
- Watch Movies: Streaming services offer ways for people in different locations to watch movies “together.” Or, your child can set up a video chat with a friend, watch the same movie, and pause to talk about their favorite parts. Cue the Friday night popcorn!
- Put Artwork in the Window: Does your child have a friend who lives across the street — or an easily drivable distance from your house? Take turns drawing pictures for each other and hang them in the window, then take family walks or drives to see the latest artwork.
- Eat: Snacking in the same location is off limits, but who’s to say you and your child can’t whip up the same food as a friend and eat it “together” on screen? With the end of summer and fall on the horizon, think of seasonal treats that aren’t too hard to put together — popsicles, watermelon slush, smoothies, fruit pizza, pumpkin muffins, or apple slices and caramel.
- Read: Book clubs aren’t just for adults. Whether your child is new to reading chapter books or has moved on to young adult fiction, sync up what they’re reading with their friends. Once everyone’s done with the book, they can meet virtually to talk about what they thought and whether they learned anything new.
- Drive By: When seeing friends on screen, talking to them on the phone, or mailing letters just won’t cut it, drive by their house. Your child can wave — and even talk — to their friends from the car window (as long as everyone keeps their distance).