Anyone who has tried to organise a Zoom call with their four year old and Grandma will know that their little one’s attention span is minimal at best.
The under fives don’t want to sit still and chat for too long. We’ve got to grab their attention, and a great way to do this is by setting up games to play.
A game will engage little ones, even if only for a short time, which is enough to make any grandparent or pal happy.
Now they don’t have to be difficult games, and in fact the easier the better for this. You don’t want games with lots of rules or you’ll lose your audience - fast.
What’s even better is to play a game that your child already knows, and that you can easily explain to their friend/grandparent/aunt/uncle/cousin or whoever you’re video calling.
1) What am I?
A bit like the old ‘20 questions’ game, but the children just keep going until someone guesses what they are. Your child can pick a person or animal and give lots of clues as to their identity. For instance, they might give clues such as: I am brown, I live in the forest, I love honey, I hibernate in the winter. That’s right, a bear!
Or they might say ‘I live in Sydney, I have blonde hair, I don’t like pumpkin, I have a dog called Bruce.’ That’s right, I’m Uncle Alex!
2) Guess the word
If your child is able to spell a few words, grab some paper and pen for some good old fashioned hangman. Since the idea of the little man getting ‘hanged’ is a little scary, try playing ‘snowman’ instead.
Your child writes a dash for each letter of the word they’re thinking of, and holds it up for the other person to look at. The other person takes turns guessing letters.
When they guess a letter that isn’t in the word, you start drawing a snowman. There’s the big circle for the bottom of the snowman, another circle for his middle, another circle for his head, then a hat, two arms, eyes, nose and mouth.
The other player has to guess the word before you complete the snowman drawing.
3) Animal charades
The child chooses an animal and has to act it out to the other person on the call. Remember with charades, no sounds are allowed so the child has to find a way to ‘show’ who they are rather than mooing or oinking!
Show the child the best area to act out their animal, so that everyone on the call can see them.
4) Paper, scissors, rock
Sometimes the old games are the best! If your child knows this simple hand game they’ll have great fun playing on the Zoom call. It’s sure to create a few laughs.
Each person says ‘paper, scissors, rock’ and chooses to make one option with their hands. Paper beats rock as it can wrap it up, rock beats scissors as it can break them, and scissors beats paper as it can cut it.
5) Ten things
Give everyone a topic and they have to think of ten examples. Depending on the age of the children playing you can make it as hard or simple as you like.
Some ideas might include: girl’s names, colours, fruits, vegetables, countries, people in my family, flowers.
Each person has to write down ten examples from the topic and then share them with the other person. But there’s a catch! You only get a point if your answer isn’t on the other person’s list. You’ve got to be original to get the highest score.
Which of these ideas are you going to try on your next Zoom call with little ones? You can also read our ideas for virtual playdates that you can try with children here.
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