13 Fun Ways for Kids to Connect with Friends During Lockdown

Being away from their friends is hard for kids, so while lockdown and school closures continue it's going to be necessary to get creative with connections.  Here are some ways for kids to be social while still social distancing, both with friends who live nearby and those who live further away.

Many introverted or sensitive children will be relishing the opportunity to cocoon at home, to spend more time on their own, or with their immediate family.  But for kids who are very reliant on their friends, only children, and the extrovert, social types, lockdown is hard work.

Loneliness is a real risk during lockdown for many people, including our children.  So take a look at these ideas of ways for kids to connect with their friends and cousins in fun, meaningful ways during isolation.  It will help to strengthen their mental health and help maintain friendships during social distancing.

Connecting with others, sharing a smile, a laugh, or a kind gesture can go a long way to relieving and lessening those big, overwhelming emotions our children are going through right now.

With all the normal ways of playing and spending time with friends off-limits right now, here are some creative ways for kids to stay connected.

Use Technology

Call, text, video chat, Skype and FaceTime friends.  Instead of just chatting, make your time together more exciting by playing games, sharing what you've been doing, or giving a tour of your house or garden.  Here are some more ideas:

1. Parallel Play

Play while you video chat, or build LEGO while you chat and give each other encouragement and ideas.  A bit more exciting than video games!  Think of it as a virtual playdate.  Older kids could bake together.

2. Play Virtual Games

Play virtual board games online with friends, they're great for reducing stress and can be great fun.  Get the laughter flowing as you try to play against each other online.

3. Online Movie Night

Watch movies together online.  Share your opinions, gasp at the action, or share a laugh at the same time.

4. Have a Webcam or Zoom Party

Decorate, push back the furniture, get out your disco lights, and put your dancing shoes on!  It's time to turn your living room into a party room.  Not your style?  Why not try a virtual picnic or bake off instead?  We have plenty of fun recipes for kids to make.

5. Hold a Book Club

I would have loved this one as a kid!  Get all your friends reading the same book, then chat about what you thought of it.  Exchange thoughts and stories with your friends, then take turns choosing the next book for everyone to read.


Screen-free Connecting

6. Send Cards and Letters

A return to good old snail mail is perfect for right now, so get the card box out and dust the writing paper off before you put pen to paper.  Your friend will love to hear what you're up to or receive a picture in the post.  You could even find some new penpals in another area, or even another country.

7. Paint Rocks

As well as painting rocks and hiding them in your neighbourhood, you can paint them and leave kind messages for your friends.  Tell them what's great about them, or what you are looking forward to doing together once this is all over.  Hide the finished rocks by their door or on a windowsill as a nice surprise.

8. Drop a Craft Round

Kids love to make crafts, so why not drop some through their friends' letter boxes or leave on their door step.  You can see some of our craft ideas here.  Younger kids could colour in some of these fun free colouring pages and send them to friends.

9. Chalk It Up

Take your chalk round to your friend's house and draw pictures on their drive or on the pavement outside their house.  Trails, obstacle courses, hopscotch or just fun messages and pictures are all a good idea.  Draw animal outlines or write names in bubble letters for your friends to colour in later.

10. Put Art in Your Window

Have you got a rainbow in your window yet?  If not, use our free rainbow poster to colour in and display.  But don't stop there, why not add special messages to your neighbours and friends who will see them as they pass by your house.  You could even develop your own secret code!

Distant But Social

Fun as all those online activities are, nothing beats hanging out with your mates in person to kick a ball around or have a laugh.  Impossible while we all have to keep our distance from those we don't live with?  Maybe not.

Try these fun activities to keep social but still keep your distance when hanging out with friends on your street or who live locally to you.*

11. Kick a Ball

Invite the other kids in the street to kick a ball about with you.  As long as you stay well away from each other and don't touch the ball with your hands.

12. Water Balloon Fight

Make up water balloons and throw them across the street, or over your neighbours' fence.  Just make sure they agree to join in first!

13. Blow Bubbles

Invite your neighbours to blow bubbles with you and see how far you can get them to travel across hedges and fences.  Make it even more serious by challenging the kids next door to a squirt gun fight!

* For all of these activities, make sure you stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people; don't touch your face; and wash your hands as soon as you finish.

More fun ideas for kids:

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