8 Ways for Kids to Connect Online
Our normal weeks see us meeting up with friends for two whole days every week. As you can imagine, things have been quite different lately! But, we’ve managed to keep our unschool group going as much as we can online. We’ve still been able to do our regular events, plus some different ones. I wanted to share what we’ve been up to in case you too were looking for ideas that you can do online where kids still get to hang out!
8 Ways for Kids to Connect Online
1. Show and Tell
The kids are loving regular show and tell events online. They are missing seeing each other regularly and the opportunity to catch each other up on what’s been happening in their lives! This would have to be the easiest event to organise. Just connect to zoom and chat about, or show each other, whatever you’ve been doing!
The girls have shown art, books they’ve been reading, toys, stop motion, and even how to code a game.
2. Art Class/ Exhibition
One of our first online meets was an art class. Each family did the same class at home in the morning, and in the afternoon we met up to show each other what we had created.
We also recently held an art exhibition where the kids bought along anything they had created to show and talk about. The girls showed friends macrame, embroidery, drawings, and crafts.
3. Book Club
This is something we do regularly with our group in person and we’ve kept it up online while we’ve all been isolating. We choose a book and everyone reads it, or listens to the audiobook, and then we get together to discuss. This is totally run by the kids. They usually go around in a circle telling their favourite characters, scenes, etc. Often they’ll bring along pictures they’ve drawn from the story, or something they’ve crafted up to share. This is one of my kids favourite events. They love books and it’s so great to have your friends read the same one and be able to talk about it!
4. Poetry Teatime
You’ve probably heard me talk about how we do poetry teatime at home. Well, we also have it with friends once a month. You can read more about it here. We’ve continued this online too. The kids enjoy sharing poetry they have read or written and this year we’ve been having themes. Our last one coincided with Earth Day so we went with that theme!
5. Science Fair
Since being home, we’ve also held a science fair online. This was pretty easy and open-ended. We left it up to the kids to choose any experiment they wanted to share! Everyone bought something different and performed it in front of everyone.
Another way to do it would be to all choose the same ongoing experiment. Maybe one that you start at the start of the week and then meet up at the end of the week to compare results.
One of the kids favourite ways to catch up is by playing Minecraft together. They build amazing things and make up imaginary worlds and games that they play together. We have our own realm so they can play in it together, and a private channel on a program called ‘Discord’ that they use to chat to each other while they play. A great way to stay connected and still be able to play even when we’re not together.
7. Nature Treasure Hunt
This was an event we had already planned but were able to adapt to online. It got us outside more and paying close attention to all the nature around us. The kids really liked it! Here’s how it went:
Each child was given a category of things they had to hunt for, e.g. 6 things that feel bumpy, 6 things that are made by an animal/insect, 6 things that have wings, 6 things that smell. You had to keep your category a secret! Then they had to look for them in whatever nature space they had available and either collect them, take a photo, or draw them in their nature journal.
When we met up online they took turns showing each other the 6 things they had collected, and then it was the group’s job to try and guess what their category had been by figuring out what all the things had in common! Some of them were challenging to work out! They all really enjoyed this one.
8. Story Writing
We haven’t done this one yet, but it’s coming up soon. Some of the kids enjoy writing stories so we have come up with some story prompts to pick from. Everyone chooses one and writes a short story and then when we meet the kids will read out their stories. It will be interesting to see all the different stories that come from the same prompts! I found some great prompts here to pick from.
I hope that’s helpful! A few tips… We use zoom to video chat. I set up a link beforehand and people just log in at the right time. It can be chaotic with everyone trying to talk at once so we have everyone mute themselves while someone else is talking. If you’re on a computer you can hold down the space bar to unmute yourself and say something quickly. This works much better especially if there’s lots of background noise going on. We also always have it on gallery view where we can see everyone at once.
How have you been catching up with friends online?
We took the leap last Thursday… After another frustrating argument with the teacher, we told the Principal we are opting out of “distance learning”. It’s been our plan not to return to public school next year but this whole pandemic facilitated the plunge. Now I’m reading your blog every morning to calm my nerves, ha. I recognize my own childhood fears of authority creeping in as I stand up for my kids. But as a South African transplant in America, I’ve approached public schooling as an experiment with loads of skepticism. My oldest’s 3 years of it has helped us tremendously socially in a community where we knew NO ONE, but emotionally and “academically” it’s been downright destructive to our bright boy with very vast interests. I had learned enough about the system to know I didn’t want to start my younger, wilder child in it as was due this September. Thanks for sharing your experience so openly and giving others the courage and insight to make informed decisions.
We so very much need a group to connect with, online for now (maybe in person eventually, as we can travel and live in different places for extended periods of time). Our daughter is 13 and like-minded peer connection is incredibly missing for her right now.