Socially distant games for kids?
April 10, 2020 1:05 PM   Subscribe

We’re stretching to find ways for our kids to “play” with friends from a distance or over video calls. Battleship works well and they try to practice Morse code with the kids across the street (this is adorable). Any other ideas?

My kids can sit and “play” with their friends across the street - mainly just yelling to each other and sort of watching each other bike and stuff. Sometimes my 9-yr old can sit in our back yard and talk or play with the kids in the house behind us. We discovered the board games Guess Who and battleship work well to play at a distance. Are there other games that could work? We could buy two sets of a game. For video calls, hang man seems to work and sometimes Mad Libs. The video calls are a bit easier because at least they can talk clearly to each other and just kind of show each other toys, but it would be fun to have new ideas.
Bonus: If you have any ideas for ways younger kids could play at a distance, that would really help my 4-yr old socialize with the 4 and 3 yr olds who also live behind us. So far they tried charades, but were a bit too young for it.
posted by areaperson to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Building Lego over Zoom -- either free building or same new set for all participants.
posted by zeikka at 1:11 PM on April 10, 2020

Horseshoes - we have a couple horseshoe rinks at public parks near us, and they are still in use.
posted by aniola at 1:23 PM on April 10, 2020

We played Bingo via video chat with 3 generations. Everyone printed out their own cards at home and one of us called the number using an online caller.
posted by mcgsa at 1:41 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

If everyone has five dice, you can play Yahtzee in separate households. Google “Yahtzee card” for printable scorecards.

Bring Your Own Book can work too. If you sign up for their mailing list, you get links to a bunch of print and play cards.
posted by kittydelsol at 1:47 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

My sister's 6 year old recently played Pictionary (or a version of it) over video chat with his friend and she said it worked out really well!
posted by too bad you're not me at 1:51 PM on April 10, 2020

For the little kids, what about Candyland? Each family has their own gameset and sets up markers for both kids on their set. Draw from the deck at your own house and relay the info to the other house for them to move your marker on their gameset. It could work over video, shouted across the street, or asynchronously as colored cards in the window, with a few extra cards for the special spaces. My kids are in their 30s and I can still remember them getting excited about Queen Frostine.
posted by CathyG at 1:59 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

My kid's mixed-age preschool teachers have been playing "I spy" on Zoom. The person spying (A) picks something they can see on the other person's (B's) camera, and then B looks around their physical space and finds it. They started with clothing items to get the concept established, but now anything in the scene is fair game.
posted by teremala at 2:39 PM on April 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

There is a $3 app version of Uno that my kid is playing with his buddies. (My kid is 16, but Uno is fun for all ages!)
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:04 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Roblox also kept my kid very involved with her friends yesterday. You can lock down all the ingame chat for security and have them call/facetime/zoom each other separately so that they can directly talk while they play in the same games. I heard a lot of "where are you! look for [name redacted] in the pink kitty outfit!" last night as well as shrieks of laughter.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 5:42 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

For the older kid, chess works well over a distance -- you each have your own board and you tell each other your moves ("pawn to B6" or whatever). Also nice because you can do it somewhat asynchronously and have an ongoing game.
posted by forza at 5:50 PM on April 10, 2020

For 4-year-olds, try things like “Simon Says”, imitating animals together, dancing (the Freeze Dance is a huge hit in preschool if you can find it)—group activity that’s adult-led. This age group is transitioning between playing *near* other kids and actively playing *with* other kids, and large group activities are a good way for everyone to have fun together.
posted by epj at 7:12 PM on April 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

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