A kids ability to socialize with peers is key in helping them alleviate anxiety.
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Go on a neighborhood hunt
Friends within short distances of each other can coordinate I-Spy scavenger hunts—a la the recent trend of people putting rainbows in their windows. Ask a group to leave a specific message or symbol in their windows, or anywhere else that’s visible from a safe distance away. Kids can then go on individual expeditions to find these items.
Mail actual letters to each other
It’s old fashioned for sure but writing and mailing a letter to a friend is still a lovely act. It’s also a great way to practice handwriting and to teach kids how the mail system works. (Many don’t even know about envelopes and stamps.) It may also be an opportunity for intimacy—since online playdates can be overheard. And who doesn’t like to receive something personally addressed to them in the mailbox?
Teach a class on a favorite subject
Set up an online group playdate for one kid (or even a parent) to teach a lesson. Maybe it’s a magic trick, a song, a Lego tower—or another easy creative project that can be demonstrated and then imitated on the other end. Rotate amongst friends for who will teach the daily or weekly class.
Start a book or film club
Invite a group of friends to read a specific, age-appropriate book and then set a time for them to virtually gather to discuss it. (See our list of where you can get free books.) Similarly, choose a kid-friendly documentary for everyone to watch on their own and then make a date to talk to each other about the film. Friends could also watch a film together using the popular Netflix Party app (or Airtime for those without a subscription). Or choose one of these ten other ways to share videos with friends online.
Cook the same meal and dine together
Eating a meal together is a classic way to socialize so set up some lunch-time playdates—maybe even one where kids eat the same easy meal. Or start the date earlier with a simultaneous cooking experience—the kids can make the same lunch in their own kitchens while online with one another. Afterwards, they can sit down to enjoy it together.
There are many other ways kids can stay in touch. A phone call, for example, might be just the novel outreach that they’ll cherish. But remember that it often falls to the parents to encourage these exchanges—and to make sure their own kids stay virtually social, and sane.
RELATED: 7 Ways to Throw a Kid’s Birthday Party While Social Distancing
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