4 Easy Ways to Host a Virtual Play Date

Are you canceling a play date due to COVID-19 quarantines? Get your kids the socialization they need from your home with one of these ways to host a virtual play date.

Woman and a child on a computer

By now, we all know in-person play dates are a no-no, but try telling the kids who are missing their friends. Luckily, there are several apps that can connect them virtually for all kinds of play date fun. These go beyond Skype calls and FaceTime.

With these apps, have them play board games, taking turns virtually on the board, read to each other from the same book, create art together (each creates half a picture and put it together on screen when done), have a scavenger hunt around each child’s house or play online parent-approved games together.

Photo via Caribu

Caribu

This video-calling app immediately offered free, unlimited access as schools began shutting down. It claims to kids from around the world using it. And for good reason: Kids can read books from the 1,000-plus titles together, play games and color during a video call.

“Everything we do is about creating more meaningful connections, and that’s what we think is most important right now — keeping families connected in the most engaging way. We’re like Zoom for kids!” says Caribu CEO and Co-Founder Max Tuchman. Available on OS, Android and tablets.

Messenger Kids

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Photo via Facebook Messenger Kids

We all worry about kids going unchecked on social media. With Facebook’s Messenger Kids, however, parents control the contacts while kids just get to have all the fun. This app allows kids 6-12 to video chat and message friends and family, with challenges, drawings and filters. Plus, they can use it to collaborate on homework with a study group or talk about group projects. Available on iOS, Android and Amazon tablet download.

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Marco Polo

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Photo via Marco Polo

Just like the game Marco Polo, with your kids calling out Marco to see who will answer “Polo,” kids can reach out to friends and family with this video chat app easily. It’s nice because you can chat and play live in a group or, if the person you are connecting with isn’t available, the app records the message for them to view later. The app is free, a premium version available $9.99/monthly $29.99/annually.

Netflix Party

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Photo via Netflix Party

Your older kids can still hang out with their friends virtually (without the need of social media apps). Netflix Party is a great option. Download the Google Chrome extension for free and now they can watch their favorite movies and shows at the same time no matter the distance. Attached to the program is a group chat window to let you message each other, too.