Video call games for kids
Help kids engage and connect
Zoom calls and skype sessions are fantastic for staying in touch with family, especially during social isolation and lockdown. It's crucial for our young kids to continue to interact and socialise with their families (grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) and their friends (childcare, preschool, kindy and school).
But kids can really struggle with keeping an active attention on a video call. This is a great reason to introduce some simple games to play on your video calls. Games can help keep young children focussed and give them a creative way to connect with others.
We've got a generalised list of games you can play on a zoom, skype or facetime video call but in this collection we make some recommendations specific for young kids and children.
Show and tell
Kids love "sharing their toys" with their friends This game is simply that - kids can pick toys or things they've made with the video call aprticipants.
Why not create a virtual shop for your kids to buy things on. Get your grandparents and kids' friends involved by pre-planning for them to set up a "shop". The shop could have grocery items for sale, or toys, or anything they lying around really. When the video call starts, the kids can "visit" the shop where they will be able to choose what they'd like to buy.
If you want to get really clever... you (the parent or carer) can pre-prepare (hide them) the same items the kids might buy at the virtual shop. When the kids buy then, you can quickly bring out the purchased items and the kids' should get a nice surprise.
Static Hide and Seek
Find an area of your house or back-yard (or wherever you're video calling from) that has some clever hiding spots for kids. Once the video call has started, block the camera view and put it on mute while your child finds a place to hide (behind a curtain, under some pillows etc.) Once they've hidden, unmute the call and reveal the camera view again. Now the person or people you're calling will need to look carefully to see if they can find them. You can keep playing and give the other people on the call a turn at hiding too.
Spot the Difference
A easy game for kids to play on zoom or skype, Spot the Difference requires very little preparation. All players can take it in turns setting up a simple scene with either objects or humans - a tray of random objects might be easiest, or a creative scene using toys can be fun too. First, give the other video call participants a short time (thirty seconds) to view the scene and memorise as much as they can. Then, hide the scene from view and make some adjustments. This could mean removing an object, or changing the appearance of something around. Next, the scene will need to be put back in view and the viewers can have another short time limit to try to work out what is different. Have fun!
Colour Chase is an especially fantastic game for a group of kids or children on group facetime. It may work best with an adult running the game. The adult/leader says a random colour and kids must race to find something in the room (or house) that is that colour. The first one to bring the coloured object back to the video call is the winner. You can introduce different rules to keep it interesting - like a combination of colours or like another feature to the object (small, long etc).
Read a book
While reading a book isn't quite a game, it is a great activity for friends and family to do with kids over a video call. If things are getting too chaotic and the kids have pulled out every single toy they own for Show and Tell, getting someone older on either side of the video chat can be a handy way to calm everything down.
Playing Simon Says over skype, facetime or zoom will usually require everyone to be on their own screen so they can effectively see what instructions the leader is giving, but it could also work with an adult on screen and a few people on another screen. The concept of the game is simple - one person gives instructions while the others follow. But if they follow the instructions when the leader doesn't say "Simon says..." then they're out! To keep things interesting, we've collected a few variations of Simon Says here too.
Rock Paper Scissors
The game of Rock Paper Scissors is an all-time favourite. It's universally known and easy to explain. Call your friend up on facetime and do a first to ten challenge. Use this as an opportunity to start looking into the psychology behind the game and seeing if you can outwit and outthink your opponent. Or, if you'd like to get creative and practice some debating skills, then you could try out a game of Rock Paper Anything!
The game of battleships can work really well over a facetime video call. You can use a printable battleships grid online to print and play, or alternatively if you both have a similar copy of the physical board game you can use that. Players hide various battlehips on their grid and then take turns trying to guess the location of all the opposition battleships before theirs are sunk.
If your kids love lego then this is the game for them. Connect up the video call and give all the kids a lego building challenge. This could be "build the tallest tower", "build the best race car" or "build something green" - whatever you want really. Then give them each 5-10 minutes and compare the results. This is a great video call playdate activity!