Catherine Lewis, LSCSW, LCSW
What a stressful time this is. I am also feeling the stress of this time, and I am trying to stay calm, curious and creative. I hope some of my creativity can help with online activities with kids. Parents/grandparents have been asking for suggestions.Here are some ideas which could spark your ideas as well.
Goofiness is fun for a while and can be a way to start with getting used to being online. Draw goofy pictures of each other and then show them. You can draw random pictures and let each other guess what they are.
One person builds something with Legos and tells a story to go with it. The other person builds something and adds to the story. Or each person builds something with Legos and the other person has to guess what it is. Whoever has the most guesses wins points. Whoever loses has to do what the other person says. For example, if a parent/grandparent loses he has to do a dance in front of the camera. There could be open Lego play where you are both playing with Legos and creating a story together.
Play checkers or chess with each other!
Read a book to each other. It would be great if it had pictures that were bright and big and funny. Take turns reading and using the voices of the characters.
The kids might want to talk about the virus with you. If they do you both could draw what it might look like and make up stories. Create a story that has a positive outcome.
Draw numbers and letters in the air and guess what the person is drawing. The child could earn money with the numbers that he guesses. You might want to set a limit or you may go broke!
When You Were a Baby…
Adults can tell children about when the child was a baby. Kids love to hear stories about themselves and the funny things that they did.
Play “If I ______. It could be if I was a dog. If I lived in the jungle. If I was a Jedi master. Or what would you do if ______. What would you do if you were on a magic island? Child could answer and then the parent/grandparent could answer.
Eat a snack together and pretend to feed it to each other or see who could make the biggest crunching sound. There could be variations on this theme. Use colored snacks and guess what color each other chose. Eat long Twizzlers and see who finishes first.
Blow bubbles at each other with gum or bubbles.
Have a variety of hats ready and put them on randomly during your play time.
Laughing at Gravity
Throw a kleenex up and laugh hard as long as it is in the air. When it hits the surface you have to stop immediately. Whoever stops first wins a point. Whoever has the most points wins. You do not lose a point if you lose a game.
Throw cotton balls at each other. This is also good if the child or the adult get frustrated for some reason.
Breathe deeply together. In through the nose and out through the mouth. As you breathe, think of what you’re breathing out and think of what you’re breathing in. After each segment of in and out breathing tell each other what you breathed in and what you breathed out. This can be goofy crazy like, “I breathed out fire like a dragon and I breathed in roses.” It could be a bit therapeutic like “I breathed out bad thoughts and I breathed in happy memories.” Get creative! You can also use bubbles with this. Breathe in and then when you breathe out blow the bubbles. Talk about what you blew into the bubbles.
Just try to have fun and be wild and creative. If I think of others I’ll let you all know. I hope this helps and I hope that you can create space to have fun when you can interact with family online.