As the situation around COVID-19 continues to evolve, we want to make sure our NAN families and volunteers stay safe and practice social distancing. We also know that the weekly visit from a Nanny Angel can make all the difference to a mom with cancer and to her children and so we encourage our volunteers and families to continue their visits during COVID-19 by meeting virtually, either by phone or video conferencing.
This time is yours! Please use it however you feel is best, but if you’re a little stumped on how to have a virtual visit, our Child Life Specialist has come up with a few suggestions to get you started. Keep checking back for new Skypetivities!
1. Story Time
Want to test the waters with a virtual visit? Consider reading a book together! This is great for all ages and can be done over the phone or through any video conferencing app. You can take it a step further by creating your own stories together or pre-recording yourself reading a story for the kids to access offline. Reading aloud to children has been shown to improve reading, writing, communication skills, logical thinking, concentration, and general academic aptitude, as well as inspire a lifelong love of reading. You can access free online books for children of all ages by visiting Oxford Owl, Amazon Kindle, and Scholastic Online.
2. Guessing Games
Try playing a guessing game together. This is an amazing interactive way to virtually occupy the kids and provide our moms with a chance to rest and recover. You could do this by acting out or drawing an animal or action over a video call. You could also describe a person, place, or thing over a phone call. Want to make it even more fun? Get creative by using props from around the house or trying out different voice accents.
3. Play I Spy
I SPY with my little eye is an entertaining and interactive activity to enjoy with your NAN families virtually through video conferencing. Put on your binoculars and begin this mystery game to beat the boredom blues. Your background is your playing field. Try moving into different rooms to change the background and keep it entertaining. Use colours, shapes, or riddles as clues. If you don’t have video, encourage the children to describe what they ‘spy’ around them and guess what they see or where they are in the house.
4. Virtual Jam Session
Do you and your NAN kids love music? Think about hosting a virtual jam session with your NAN family. This is an innovative way to engage the kids and continue to provide support to your NAN family as we practice social distancing. Try these tips to make the most of your jam session:
- Use the instruments you have, or items found around the house to make music together
- Try different rhythms and beats. Play fast, and then slow. Play something that makes you want to dance, or something to keep you calm
- Don’t have access to any instruments? Use your voice and have a sing-a-long to your favourite songs
- Prefer to move to the music rather than make it? Why not have a dance party!
- Are your NAN kids a little bit shy? Talk about your favourite music, bands or concerts you’ve been to. Play your favourite songs for each other. Or simply stay on the line, listen and enjoy the sounds of music together, yet apart
5. Virtual Tea Party
Feeling a bit parched? Have a virtual tea party! It’s a fun and engaging way to interact with the kids while practicing social distancing. It is time to get this par-TEA started! Right?
- Think about who will be invited to your tea party? For young children, encourage them to bring their favourite dolls or stuffies
- Where is your tea party happening? Are you in a café in Paris or in Alice’s Wonderland? Let your imagination run wild
- Have your NAN kids grown out of the imaginative play stage? Turn your tea date into a game. Play two truths and a lie. Tell two things about yourself that are true, and one that is a lie. Guess which one is the lie. If you get it right, you take a sip of your tea. If you get it wrong, the other person takes a sip. The goal is to try to finish your tea/hot chocolate/warm milk before it gets cold!
- Not into playing games? Your tea date is an awesome time to connect. Use this time to check-in, see how they are doing, and learn about their week. It can be helpful to have a few things to share too. Make it a re-occurring date to keep in touch with your NAN kids from a distance
6. At Home Scavenger Hunt
Want a fun activity to entertain the kids with on your virtual visits? Try hosting a scavenger hunt! This is an amazing way to beat the boredom blues and add an interesting twist to their day. To make your quest a bit easier, pick a theme for your hunt like the ABCs or “things you use on a rainy day.” Go around the house together searching for those items. If you are working on the Letter B, maybe you’ll go into the kitchen to find the Bread or go into the bathroom to find the bathtub. See how many things you can find! The scavenger hunt activity will work better on a tablet or a phone rather than a computer so keep this in mind when planning your activities with your NAN kids.
7. Virtual Zoo Visit
Stay in touch with nature and your environment by going on virtual visits to the zoo. Experience a look behind the scenes at their human, animal, and conservation programs. Enjoy educational and exciting sights with ‘Zoolympics from the Memphis Zoo, ‘The Daily Dose at Home’ from the Calgary Zoo, and the Home Safari with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical gardens. Visit https://bit.ly/3ddo9x1, https://bit.ly/3fk3UPZ, and https://bit.ly/2W4ezqJ to observe the wild from the comfort of your home.
8. Virtual Museum Tour
Do you or your NAN kids have an appreciation for the arts? Consider taking a virtual field trip and experience exquisite exhibits in various cities across the world all from the comfort of your couch. It’s a great learning experience for the kids and it certainly is an adventure. @Travel + Leisure has curated a list of 12 Famous Museums that offer virtual tours. Visit https://bit.ly/3aZbJqX to select your first stop.
9. Practice Mindfulness
Right now our daily lives are not the same and kids are equally vulnerable to the emotional impacts. Practicing mindfulness exercises can help reduce anxiety and improve everyone’s emotional well-being. These mindful exercises collected by Healthy Mind Space can be done with your own family, or between Nanny Angels and NAN kids during your virtual visit! https://bit.ly/2yVJZGx
10. Homemade Slime
Looking for a new science project to occupy the kids with? You can’t go wrong with homemade slime. With as little as three ingredients you can create a quick, easy, and affordable activity to engage the kids with at home. This activity allows children to utilize their five senses and build their creativity through exploration. Plus making it and playing with is twice the fun. For a recipe and instructions visit https://bit.ly/2zXTtS4. #kidscrafts
11. Online Drawing Games
Trying to get creative with your NAN kids? Consider a game of Pictionary! Whip out your pencils and crayons and become Picassos’ in your own right. Explore their creative sides by bringing their imaginations to life. Scrribli and Drawzise are great collaborative platforms for you and the kids to have some fun healthy competitions. Another great app for collaborative drawing is Caribu. There are various exciting projects for you to draw and paint together. Jumpstart your designs today!
12. The Alphabet Game
Expand your NAN kids’ vocabulary while having fun by engaging in The Alphabet Game. Choose a topic (animals, places, food, etc.) and think of something that starts with an A and fits in your desired category. Repeat this process for all the letters of the alphabet and see how many words they know. Kick it up a notch by turning those words into sentences by beginning each sentence with the next sequential letter of the alphabet.
13. Rainbow Race
Splash some colour into your virtual visits with a little game of Rainbow Race. Improvise your game by sending your NAN kids to find objects with your predetermined colour. You can take it a step further by creating rules like “ the object must be as small as your hand” for that extra thrill. This a fun way to improve their listening skills and visual skills.
14. Play Simon Says
A tried and true favourite, ‘Simon Says’ is an entertaining activity to address a variety of skills in your NAN kids. The best part, it is completely free and doesn’t require any materials! Simon Says is a great tool to develop body awareness, sportsmanship, and motor development. You can begin by playing the role of Simon and as the game progresses switch it up so everyone gets to play Simon. For some great ideas to get you started, visit https://playtivities.com/30-funniest-simon-says-ideas/
15. Watch a Show Together
Missing watching your favourite shows with your NAN kids? Well, you can still do it! With video conferencing, you can watch your favourite shows by sharing your screen with them on the app. Its completely free and it feels like you are watching it together. You get to share your comments and swap ideas while enjoying the show together.
16. Host a Pet Talent Show
Calling on all Nanny Angels and NAN kids with their best buds for a virtual pet talent show! Showcase the talents and tricks that make your beloved pet so special. You get to make up the rules where everyone is a winner and humour is highly encouraged. Pets positively affect children in reducing stress and discomfort whilst enhancing their cognitive abilities. Bring in a fun new element to your virtual visits today!
17. Online Board Games
Looking for a stimulating activity to engage your NAN kids with? Hop on the internet plane and enjoy some fun virtual board games together. From Scrabble Go to Uno to Jigsaw puzzles let off some steam and enjoy some cooperative gameplay. Playing board games is a great way to build motor and cognitive skills in kids as well. Start off with seven virtual board games curated by Elite Daily.
Do you have some great ideas that Nanny Angels can do during a virtual visit? Please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org