7 Social Distancing Activities for Kids, Including How to Set Up Virtual Playdates
We also include a checklist of things to do before starting a playdate online.
Singapore, among many other countries globally, are not yet in the clear of the coronavirus. As such, social distancing measures and the practising of good personal hygiene still needs to be taken seriously.
For parents who continue to spend more time with their children at home, there are still many ways to liven up the atmosphere and help engage little ones.
From helping kids remain connected with their friends through virtual playdates alongside other social distancing activities for kids, here’s how you can better utilise the time during the pandemic.
Social Distancing Activities for Kids
How to Organise:
Virtual playdates is popular among social distancing activities for kids, and will offer them an opportunity to interact with other children of their age group. They can play and learn together while remaining in isolation. However, ensuring the success of virtual playdates depend on how well it is organised.
Here is a checklist of things to do before starting a playdate online.
- Decide a date and time for the playdate and agree upon who is going to call whom.
- Decide the app on which the video calling is to be initiated.
- Settle on a few activity options for the kids; in fact, you can involve them while choosing what to do during the virtual playdate.
- Gather all the toys and supplies needed for the playdate.
- There should also be some previously-agreed rules and the consequences if they are broken. Remember that children respond better to conditions and rules that they have already been made aware of, so include them in the planning process of virtual playdates.
- Agree on the duration of the playdate and make sure your kids are also aware of this fact.
How to Play:
Virtual playdates should be a time of having fun with friends and should not descend into a time of meltdowns and tantrums. As parents, you should enforce some ground rules and make sure that your kids always play fair. Make sure that activities are interesting and involve all the children. Here are some ideas for virtual playdates that you can use:
- Parent-led learning games using blocks or toys where the kids can learn their numbers, colours or letters.
- Show and tell (make sure there is a set time limit for each kid)
- Card games
- Parent-supervised art time
- Story time
Family Drives and Picnic-in-cars
Organising a family-drive around the neighbourhood is one of the many social distancing activities that you can arrange for your kids. Pile everyone into the car and drive along tree-lined streets or beside a tranquil lake. You can even drive around the empty city streets and give everyone a glimpse of the city in lockdown (just make sure you do not drive into containment zones). Take a picnic hamper with you and munch on some delicious goodies as you drive along, making it a novel kind of picnic.
This is the perfect time to get your children interested in gardening. Assign a small plot of the backyard to each of your children and ask them to grow their own garden. You can guide them in trenching and planting and the little ones will certainly enjoy playing in the dirt. If you live in an apartment, you can use your balcony and teach your kids to grow plants in grow-bags. Encourage your children to grow vegetables and use them later in cooking, showing off their efforts to the whole family.
No school means no field day; but this need not mean your child is missing out on his favourite activities. If you have a backyard, you can organise some interesting activities like water balloon toss, three-legged race, crab walk, lemon-and-spoon races and relay races. Parents can also join in, forming teams with the kids, making it into a competition. If you do not have a backyard, you can organise similar activities indoor as well.
Older children, especially teenagers, will be feeling the stress of remaining at home all the time. In order to liven up their day, you can organise some social distancing activities for them like online dance-offs. Using apps like Zoom, broadcast a dance competition for your children and their friends. It can be a serious competition with specified rules or something fun for all the children to do with no particular rules.
Just because you are confined to your house does not mean you cannot enjoy a fun activity like camping. Build your children a tent using bed sheets and rope, and help them make camping meals and eat it inside the tent. You can also let the kids sleep in the tent at night for an authentic ‘camping’ experience.
Young children are always interested in what their parents are doing in the kitchen. Utilise this curiosity to keep them occupied during this lockdown. Cover a large table with a piece of old cloth or newspapers and help your children stand on some chairs around it, after making sure they are properly dressed for a messy time with flour and cake batter. Help them to bake their first cake or a batch of cookies, and let the whole family enjoy their sweet efforts.