When you’re stuck at home, these crafty and creative FaceTime activities to do with kids will keep them connected with friends & relatives and happily occupied!
I was talking with a friend the other day about what it would be like if this sort of thing (large scale shelter-in-place) had happened 20 years ago? Or what about before the internet even existed at all? Can you imagine?
In our house, at least, FaceTime has been an absolute sanity saver. Both my husband and I still need to work. My parents live in another state and because of that, and because they’re in a high risk category, we won’t be able to see them for a while. So we miss them, they miss us and they want to help out but can’t physically be here. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat with loved ones. My kids are also really really missing their family & friends.
To cope lately we’ve been doing a TON of FaceTime with friends and family and it is helping the kids and the relatives!
So today I’m sharing a big list of FaceTime activities you can do with kids. Video calls do NOT have to just be chit chat, you guys, you can do some fun and crafty and creative activities with kids even when you’re not in the same room with someone you love!
This list is for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, or anyone else who is looking to entertain and interact with kids over FaceTime or video calls!
FaceTime Activities To Do With Kids
1. Storytime! My parents read Baby V 3-4 children’s books every morning so O can do his school work, it’s amazing. They read the page and then hold the picture up so she can see! For older kids, read them a chapter of a longer book like Harry Potter or Ramona the Pest. If your family member or friend doesn’t have children’s books at their house, have them either check out an ebook from the library or your child can hold up a book on your end and the grownup can read it!
2. Sing songs together! It’s even more fun if the songs have hand motions you can do together like “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”!
3. Play board games! If you have any 2 player board games that both people own, you can play them together over the phone! For games like Battleship, Tenzi or Guess Who, you each take one board or set and play like normal. For games like Chess, you might both set up the board and both make all of the moves so you each have the same game board.If you both have Jenga, set it up at both houses and then, instead of taking turns, remove one block at the same time for each turn and see who can stay standing the longest. For games like Candy Land or the game of Life, you can have the child set up the board game and then just do the moves for both players!
4. Stickers! I know this one sounds weird, but my mom happened to have some sticker sets with background scenes like this or this and she held it up and let Baby V choose a sticker and tell her where to put it and then they made up a little story together about what the animals or characters were doing in the scene.
5. Draw! Kids love to share their drawings and Baby V will happily draw a picture while my parents watch. She narrates each thing she’s drawing as she goes and they both love it!
6. Have a dance party! One person plays the music and you can dance together.
7. Cook or bake together! If your child is a little older, a grandparent can watch them cook or bake over FaceTime. The grownup can pull up the recipe on their own device and then help them make sure they’re measuring and following the directions correctly!
8. Have a tea party! Kids pretend to pour the tea anyway, why not do it over the internet?
9. Have a meal together! Put your loved one a screen at the table with you and you can all eat together.
10. Play Pictionary! This one is perfect for video calls! Set up a notepad in front of the camera and have one person draw while the other guesses.
11. Play Hangman! Same as Pictionary but guessing words!
12. Do a craft kit! Here are some of my favorite craft kits for kids. Set up your device and a grandparent can supervise craft time remotely.
13. Mad Libs! This would be a great activity to do with older kids over FaceTime!
14. Play Charades! This is a great totally visual game!
15. Play Simon Says! Have the relative be Simon and play with your kids.
16. Help with homework! This is a great way for mom & dad to get a break. It’s also awesome if you have a relative who’s particularly good at one subject like math, for example.
17. Do PlayDoh or clay together! You can each get your own container and make things together! Make sure to hold up your creations to share or position the camera far enough back that you can see.
18. Use wax sticks like wikki stix to make pictures or tell a story! You can take turns doing this or do it at the same time. If you have a whiteboard to stick them to so the other person can see your creations, even better!
19. Help kids write a letter or draw a picture to send to another relative! Grandparents can help your little kids write a letter via FaceTime to send to an Aunt or Uncle. The child can either dictate while the grownup writes, or if they’re older, the grownup can help with spelling. If you’re worried about sending things through the mail, scan or take a picture and deliver it digitally to the recipient!
20. Practice a language! If there’s a language your child is learning at school and you have a friend or relative that speaks it, they can practice together on a video call. You could also take this opportunity to learn some sign language signs together!
21. Play Minute to Win It games together! You know, those crazy games where you use regular household supplies to complete a task like stacking Cheerios on a spoon or eating an Oreo off your forehead? There’s no reason you need to be in the same room to do that together as long as both people have the supplies!
22. Do flashcards! If your little one is learning sight words or multiplication, have a grandparent or loved one hold up cards while your child answers.
23. Draw self portraits or portraits of each other! This is a perfect activity for FaceTime, you can either take turns drawing or draw each other at the same time!
24. Interview your loved one! For grandparents especially, this is a perfect time for your grandkids to pretend they’re reporters and interview you. Questions can be as simple as “what’s your favorite color?” or for older kids things like, ” how was life different when you were my age?” Parents can even pre-write questions for their kids that they know will have interesting answers and then watch the kids be surprised as they learn more about their loved one. Then have your kid share what they learn with the rest of the family!
25. Play dress up! When kids dress up, the best part is always showing off their costume to someone else, so set up FaceTime near the dress up area and let your kids go to town showing grandma or a friend what they dress up as. If you have a virtual playdate with a friend, you can both dress up!
26. Pretend! You can play pretend restaurant or pretend school or pretend family all over FaceTime. Since you’re pretending anyway, there’s no reason you need to be in the same room, we all fake-eat the play food anyway, right?
27. Play I Spy! Set up your FaceTime camera with a wide view of each person’s room and then play I Spy where each person chooses an object they can see in the other person’s house.
28. Write a story together! Start with one sentence and then take turns imagining what happens next while the grownup types/writes the whole thing down.
29. Invent something together! Have your child come up with a new invention and have them draw it as you imagine together all the things it can do (ex. draw a car that has wings like a plane and floating boat tires and a rocket launcher etc. )
30. Design your dream house together! Brainstorm all the rooms your dream house would have and either one of you can draw a house plan full of details while you go. For example, my dream house would have a yarn room and O’s would have a room completely full of Legos with Lego walls and Lego floors (ouch!).
31. Have a cooking competition! If you have older kids, you can have a Chopped or Iron Chef style cooking competition via video chat using ingredients that you both have. For example, “make something using avocados and cheddar cheese.” You can either continue the video call and chat while you cook, or hang up, cook and then call each other back and share what you made when you’re finished!
32. Make a Memoji of your relative! If you have another Apple device to use while you’re FaceTime-ing, let your kids make a memoji of their friend or relative. This one killed a good half hour for us today and my Aunt loved seeing herself as a Memoji!
33. Play the alphabet game! Take turns looking around your house and finding something that starts with each letter of the alphabet, for example, apple, catalog, dog, etc.
34. Play “Would you rather?” Kids love to come up with ridiculous scenarios like, “would you rather eat worms or walk barefoot across a floor covered in Legos?” The facial expressions involved in playing this game via video are totally worth it.
35. Play 20 Questions! This is a great game for FaceTime, you can even play it over the phone if video calls aren’t an option.
36. Do yoga together! If the grownup knows some simple yoga moves, you can do them together.
37. Make music together! If you both play an instrument, play together!
38. Find Waldo! Get two copies of the same Where’s Waldo book (or hold one up to the camera so you can both see it) and see who can find Waldo fastest.
39. Have a virtual spa day/night! Paint your nails or do face masks together and let anyone who wants to join in!
40. Look at old photos! Have Grandma or Grandpa show off an old photo album via FaceTime. Kids will love to see mom or dad as kids or remember fun family get togethers from when they were younger.
41. Have a talent show! Let your kids come up with a talent or other performance and then stream it to your virtual “audience” (aka Grandma and Grandpa or other relatives).
42. Have a staring contest! Kids love staring contests. It’s universal.
43. Play peekaboo! This one’s for babies but it totally works over FaceTime!
44. Make paper airplanes! Have a competition and see whose flies the best.
45. Tell jokes! Either take turns telling your favorite kid jokes or have the grownup get a joke book and read jokes to your little ones.
46. Do a puppet show! If you, the grownup, have any finger puppets or action figures at your house, hold them up in front of the camera (while you hide out of sight) and put on a little puppet show for the kids. Or for older kids, have them put on a puppet show for you, it’s sure to be hilarious!
47. Make a stuffed animal dance to music! When my kids were toddlers, this was a favorite, it’s easy as it sounds to hold a stuffed animal up to the camera and make it dance and tiny kids LOVE it.
48. Help others! Work together to each make cards to donate and cheer up those in need (you may want to wait until things have calmed down in the world germ-wise to send them to the charity).
49. Ask them questions about what THEY like! If your kid is into Minecraft, google some basic Minecraft questions to ask about, if they’re super into baseball, or gymnastics, bone up on those subjects a little. All you need to do is ask a couple short questions about something they’re passionate about and then just sit back and listen attentively!
50. Have a book club! My mom checked out a copy of O’s favorite book before the libraries closed and now they have FaceTime and she tells him what’s happened in the parts she’s read so far and they compare what they did/didn’t like or what they think might or might not happen. He LOVES to say, “you are NOT going to believe what happens next!”
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