For many of us, we've been spending a lot of time at home practicing social distancing to help limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). It's been a transition for everyone, but especially our children. They're missing out on school, their friends, and all of their usual activities – and they may not quite understand why.
We understand you want to keep to your kids' daily routine as normal as possible. We also understand that you might be relying on technology now more than ever – not just for education, but also for entertainment. And that's okay! The battle over screen time parameters for kids that mattered before doesn't seem to hold quite the same weight in the time of coronavirus and social distancing.
At Asurion, we know that technology is an essential part of your life, and we want to help you get the most out of it. Our experts compiled this list of online games and activities for kids to try that can be both fun and educational.
5 best online activities for kids
Virtual tours and virtual safaris
Do your children love going to the zoo? How about visiting museums? If so, this is a great option. Since these places are closed due to the coronavirus, they're creating opportunities for the zoo or museum to come to you! For example, The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden created a Facebook event called Home Safari Facebook Lives that offers daily live videos featuring different animals. If you miss the live showing, you can go back and watch it on their YouTube channel here. Of course, they featured Fiona the Hippo first!
Visit Fiona the Hippo live at The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Other places offering virtual tours: The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C., The Louvre in Paris, France, The National Aquarium in Baltimore, M.D. Also, if your family needs to take a break and visit the happiest place on earth — you can virtually experience Disney World rides and attractions here.
Use Netflix Party to schedule a virtual movie night
Are you missing going out to the movies? Schedule a virtual movie night with your extended family with Netflix Party Chrome Extension. Only available through the Chrome web browser, the downloadable extension allows you to stream the same movie or TV show at the same time as everyone you invite to your Netflix party. So, when your children want to watch Incredibles 2 for the hundredth time this week, invite their grandparents to the Netflix Party so they can laugh at the same funny moments. Everyone must have a Netflix account to join – you can learn more about the extension here.
Free online books for kids – read by your favorite celebrities
In partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, actresses Jennifer Garner and Amy Adams started Save with Stories. It's a fun and educational way to learn while at home through free online books for kids – read by some of your and their favorite celebrities. Head on over to the Save with Stories Instagram or Facebook pages and give your child the chance to pick who they want to hear a story from! Watch as HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines read “We are the Gardeners" or actress Kerry Washington reads “Mae Among the Stars" or how about Captain Marvel star Brie Larson reading “Giraffes Can't Dance" – there's someone to watch that everyone can love and new stories are added almost daily.
Have a virtual game night with these online games — for kids and adults alike
Thanks to video chat apps and the latest online games for kids, you don't all have to be in the same room to enjoy a fun game night. As long as all participants have a strong internet connection (here's our tips for finding out if your WiFi connection is strong enough and how to boost it if not), you can create a virtual game party. Here's how: start an online game, hop on a video conference tool like Zoom or Google Hangouts, choose the screen sharing option, and share your screen with everyone on the call so they can join in the fun too. Some of our favorite online game picks:
- Jackbox: Players can join in on a variety of games, from trivia to rap battles. Up to 10 players can play at a time, using their own mobile devices as controllers.
- Let's Play Bingo: Bingo is a simple game that everyone can easily play. Just start up a game and share your screen over your video conference. Send players to this site to download individual bingo boards onto their mobile device so they can play along (there's also printable bingo boards available).
Play a game through your smart speaker
Whether you're looking for educational games or fun for the whole family, there are plenty of game options through smart speakers like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. Bamboo Math, Kids Quiz and Sesame Street are the most popular kids games you can play with Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa. When it comes to family fun, you can't go wrong with trivia. Jeopardy! is popular with both Alexa and Google Home assistant. You can find Animal Trivia and Mad Libs through your Google Home assistant as well. If any of these games catch your interest, just ask your smart speaker to play. “Hey Alexa, play Jeopardy!" or “Hey Google, play Animal Trivia."
Share a virtual playdate with friends and family
As our children adjust to their new routine of staying home, they're likely missing their friends. With the parents of your kid's friends, try setting up a virtual playdate! Check out these 4 best video chat apps to see which one works best for your group. All you have to do is pick a time, set up the call, place the device in front of your child and watch their face light up with happiness. This is also a great solution for setting up birthday parties and other gatherings that your kids may be missing out on due to coronavirus.
Also try this: Set up a family video call. Your grandparents will appreciate it!
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