10 Creative Virtual Playdate Activities for Preschoolers
With many families opting out of in-person playdates, it can feel like a Herculean task to keep little ones with lots of energy engaged. While there are plenty of ideas for older kids (and lots of free games to keep them entertained), it can be a little trickier to find online playdate activities for toddlers and preschoolers.
Luckily, there are a number of ways for younger kids to have fun while playing with friends online. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 creative ideas for virtual playdates for preschoolers—some that require parent participation and other toddler activities where you can just set them up to play at-home and give yourself a much-needed break!
1. Play Blocks or Legos Together
Set up the iPad or computer on a desk or on the floor, hand your little one some blocks or Legos, and let them go town. Ideally, talk to the other parent(s) ahead of time to make sure the kids are using the same type of blocks—maybe it’s Megablocks or Lincoln Logs instead of Legos for young toddlers. You can even prompt them to create the same thing, or parts of a whole—like different rooms in a house or two houses in the same “neighborhood.”
Take a quiet moment to have a virtual storytime. Photo courtesy of Pexels
2. Have a Virtual Storytime
This works well at the start or end of any playdate: Bring out your child’s favorite book and read it to their friends. Each child can take turns having their parent read a book, or you can designate a new person each time you “meet up.” Also fun? Choose books that coincide with an upcoming holiday or the season.
3. Have a Dance Party
A fun dance party is a great way for kids to get out that extra cooped-up-inside energy. This is also an easy way to get older and younger siblings involved—and friends’ siblings too. Plus, all you have to do is cue up their favorite music.
Cosmic Kids Yoga offers free videos so that kids can get active together. Photo courtesy of Cosmic Kids Yoga
4. Get Zen with Yoga
For another energy-blaster, but one that’s admittedly a bit calmer, have kids do a yoga session. A parent can either call out or demonstrate the moves, or you can have kids watch a free yoga video online, like Cosmic Kids Yoga, which offers lots of themes kids love, like Frozen, superheroes, and nursery rhymes.
5. Show and Tell with Toys
Little kids LOVE talking about their toys, which makes this a perfect activity for the preschool set. They can each take turns talking about one of their favorite toys—you can decide how many they bring to the call—and why they love it. I pretty much guarantee that it’ll evolve into a play session.
6. Host a Tea Party
Another little kid favorite? Host a tea party! Have each child come in their fanciest clothes (or stick with old Halloween costumes if you don’t want them in their actual nice clothes), set up a play tea set—sippy cups work in a pinch—invite some stuffed animals along, and you have an instant tea party. This is also a fun one to hold during snack time. Bonus: incorporate storytime with a reading of a Fancy Nancy book.
A "sweet" way to connect is through a virtual cookie decorating date! Photo by Ally Noel
7. Do Some Cookie Decorating
This one requires a bit of parent coordination, but can make for a really interactive activity. Bake or buy sugar cookies ahead of time, and then set out icing, sprinkles, or other toppings and have kids decorate cookies “together.” This also works well when decorating gingerbread houses (or even Pop-Tart houses, like my friends and I did with our kids recently).
8. Play a Counting Game
Try this game to get preschoolers to practice their numbers: You call out a number and have each child bring that number of items back to the screen. So for example, you can say, "I need five of something," and the child can bring back five crayons. Or, "I need three of something," and the child can bring back three stuffed animals.
9. Have “Band” Practice
Ok, fair warning, this one makes lots of noise. But, if you’re up for it, have kids play their toy instruments—or just bang on pots and pans—and rock out with their fellow “bandmates.” They stay engaged and you can always close the door to their room.
Connect with a friend for an arts and crafts afternoon full of creativity and play! Photo by Julia M. Cameron/Pexels
10. Arts and Crafts Together
For this activity, talk with the other parent ahead of time and decide on an easy craft to make together, ensuring that everyone has the necessary supplies. Prefer kids do something on their own? Simply have them draw or color together—or even cut and glue, and then hold up their finished creations.