Monday, April 13, 2020

Fun Games to Play with Kids on Zoom Video Chat

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Fun Zoom games for kids to play with friends and family during a video chat.

My favorite video chat platform as a piano teacher has been Zoom, mostly because of the whiteboard and screensharing capabilities. And it's especially great to use to add some playfulness and fun to my lessons.

But I don't just add some Zoom games to my online piano lessons.

We also like to play games over Zoom with family and friends these days.

So I thought I'd share some of our favorite Zoom games for kids. Games that kids can play with their grandparents, cousins, and/or friends.

Fun zoom games for kids to play with friends and family

Zoom Games for Kids that Require No Extra Materials

I'll start off by sharing games that require no extra equipment, meaning you can play these games on Facetime or Facebook messenger even. All you need is your voice and some creativity.

  • Charades
  • Would You Rather? - Ask silly questions like, "Would you rather have an elephant trunk for a nose or a long giraffe neck?" We usually just make them up as we go. 
  • I'm Going on a Camping Trip... - You know those road trip games you played as a kid? They work perfectly for video chats too! In this game, you take turns adding something to the list and try to remember everything in order. For example, player A could say, "I'm going on a camping trip and I'm bringing a tent." Then player B would say, "I'm going on a camping trip and I'm bringing a tent and a ball." Then player C would say, "I'm going on a camping trip and I'm bringing a tent, a ball, and my dog." Keep going until someone forgets something on the list. 
  • Geography Game - Another road trip classic from my childhood! Name a country and then the next player takes the last letter of that country name and names a country that starts with that letter. So if player A said Canada, then player B could said Australia.

Zoom Games for Kids that Use the Whiteboard Feature

My youngest is obsessed with the whiteboard feature. It's his favorite part about using Zoom. Not surprising though considering whiteboards have been a staple in our house for years (and it's a must when you have a hyperlexic child!). 

We even take whiteboards with us on road trips (see 10 fun travel whiteboard game ideas here).

Anyway, to use the whiteboard feature, simply click screenshare and then select whiteboard. Then you and the other participants in your Zoom chat can draw on the whiteboard using the pen/annotate tools. I use the whiteboard feature all the time during online piano lessons.

Here are some fun ideas to try:

  • Pictionary
  • Hangman
  • Tic Tac Toe

Play Board Games Together Over Zoom Video Chat!

We are huge into board games so bringing our love of gaming to video chat has been pretty easy for us. Here are some popular choices to try:

  • Scattergories - No actual game required. You can just pick some categories and pick a random letter. You can even use the whiteboard feature to write down all the chosen categories for all players to see.
  • Boggle - If you own the Boggle Game, you can certainly use it for this. Just point the camera towards it so that everyone can see it. You can also find online based Boggle generators that you could then screenshare (see the next section) if you wanted.
  • Taboo - Requires one of you to own the game and show cards to opponents. In this game, you give clues to describe a word, but certain words aren't allowed. 
  • Pokemon cards - Requires both people to have their own decks to play with and for you to position the camera to show the play area.
  • Battleship - Requires both people to have the game.
  • Guess Who - Requires both people to have the game.
  • Headbandz/Heads Up - You can use an app or a board game version if you own one.
There are lots of other board games and card games you can certainly play over video chat, so dig through your own collections and see if you can figure out how to adapt it for video chat.

Screenshare Zoom Games for Kids

You can literally share anything using the screenshare function, even apps on an iPad. But, personally, I like to use printable PDF board games during my piano lessons (my favorite music theory games are from Susan Paradis). Then I use the spotlight or annotate tools to create game pieces. Pro tip: once you create a shape using these tools, you can also select it and move it around just like you would a game piece.

I always have the PDFs or websites that I want to screenshare open before starting the Zoom meeting or before clicking screenshare.

Then when I am in the Zoom meeting, I simply click the screenshare button. On the next screen, it will show me all of the programs or tabs I have open. Then click the one you want to screenshare. If you don't have anything open, then you will see fewer options, likely the whiteboard feature and the option to connect an iPad or phone.

Here are some fun ideas to try using the screenshare feature.

  • Factile Jeopardy Games - A fellow piano teacher shared this in a Facebook group recently and I thought it was so cool!
  • Dots & Boxes - A classic childhood game! Just look for a printable Dot & Boxes game before your Zoom chat.
  • I Spy Games - Pull up one of these freebies and stamp and count the objects using the screenshare and annotate features.
  • Any PDF Board Games - You can find tons of fun printable board games on Pinterest or through Google, for a wide variety of topics. Simply share the PDF game board over screenshare.
  • Coloring Sheets - You can color together using the annotate tool when you are screensharing, making it the perfect way to do some collaborative coloring together.

Other Resources You'll Love

10 Whiteboard Games for Kids (that You Can Adapt for Zoom!)

Tips for Keeping Kids Engaged During Zoom Meetings

Pokemon Action Cards that You Could Act Out On Zoom

Activities and games to play with kids on Zoom video chats

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