If you've ever tried to engage with a child over a traditional video call, you likely know how difficult it can be. You may end up going for an impromptu virtual tour of their home, looking at the ceiling, or at nothing at all, as they may run off and not want to chat.
Of course, we know they don’t mean to be rude; but kids just don’t have fully-formed attention spans yet, and can quickly lose interest if not engaged.
During the time of social distancing due to the pandemic, we have had to find new, more beneficial ways to connect with our loved ones versus simple phone calls, especially to build relationships with little ones who grow up so quickly.
Luckily, video chat can be an amazing way to connect with everyone, no matter your distance, but it can also be challenging to keep the kids in our lives excited about video calls.
Enter Kinoo. With Kinoo, you can make those ordinary video calls captivating for the whole family. Read on to learn more about how you get the most out of your interactive video calls with a little help from Kinoo. We have also listed 11 engaging virtual activities to try the next time you have a virtual get-together.
How Can You Make the Most Out of Your Video Calls?
For many families, staying connected through video chat has been essential over the last few years. It’s become clear that relatives don’t have to wait for in-person visits to build meaningful relationships and that even the youngest family members can be engaged over video calls. How?
Our very first tip is to use Kinoo, of course! Kinoo is so much more than just a video chat app. With Kinoo, you can play interactive learning games and activities together. And, the child in your life gets to use the Kinoo “magic” wand to get up and active during game play and to stay engaged in the call.
Kinoo’s patented technology is thanks to years of research from childhood-development experts passionate about bringing families together virtually through high-quality educational games and activities.
On one call, your little one can count while you connect the dots together, measure ingredients to bake cookies, or play a game of animal memory. Not only will you and your kiddo make lasting memories, but a two-minute conversation with a formerly-distracted preschooler can turn into 20 minutes of active engagement and bonding. What could be better than that?
Plan Engaging Virtual Activities
When you plan your next Kinoo call, think about it as a virtual playdate. Our junior learners get academic instruction all day at school, so video calls should be time to play and have fun.
Luckily, with Kinoo, playtime can also be learning time (though your little learner is likely to be blissfully unaware of the skills they are building!). And a key component of learning for kids is building relationships with older loved ones, who can share their wisdom and experience with the children in their lives.
However, we all know that asking questions is a critical part of building relationships. How do you ask engaging questions without the conversation becoming an interrogation?
We have the answer (and questions) from the childhood education experts at Kinoo. During a Kinoo video call, the older loved one can watch for the lightbulb icon and click when it appears. They’ll receive activity-related and age-appropriate questions, plus fun facts and tips and tricks that will delight and intrigue the child on the other side of the screen.
It’s not just young children who thrive off routine; we all do. Try planning video calls weekly, every other week, or even more often. When kids know that Grandma or Grandpa will call every night to read a bedtime story, it creates something to look forward to as they prepare for sleep. Children feel secure when adults create a sense of predictability and reliability.
Once kids (and the kids-at-heart) realize how exciting Kinoo is, your little ones will likely be Kinoo-calling to play on a regular basis. You can make mess-free art together, create gratitude cards, or try and beat your high score on Snow Match. Activities are added every month, so be sure to check back often to see what’s new!
11 Engaging Virtual Activities for Kids
Once you download Kinoo on your phone or tablet, you'll have tons of fun activities at your fingertips. One of the best things about Kinoo is the ability to move, act, and think outside the screen!
Keep reading for 11 of our favorite virtual activities and how you can make the most out of Kinoo.
1. Cooking Class
The kitchen is where many family traditions are born and passed on from one generation to the next. If you aren’t able to cook and bake together in the same kitchen, you can turn to Kinoo.
On Kinoo, you can bake cookies, make a pizza pie, or even decorate a cake together in our virtual kitchen. While you're creating your delicious creations on the screen, talk to your kiddo about your favorite meals or desserts to make.
Try having pizza night on a Kinoo video call. Order pizza, then hop on the call and create a mouth-watering pizza with Pizza Party while waiting for your dinner. You can make a dessert pizza or a savory pizza with all the toppings. Just be careful of the mystery ingredients: You may end up with chocolate chips on your pepperoni pizza!
Or you can take it up a notch and combine your cooking class with a science experiment and virtually whip up some edible playdough.
2. Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts are a wonderful way to energize screen time and get everyone up and moving.
Scavenger hunts are a fun activity, perfect for independent exploration, problem-solving, and critical thinking.
On your next Kinoo video call, come prepared with a list of common household items. These can be simple items, like something red, your favorite toy, something bigger than a loaf of bread, or an item that starts with the letter Q.
Sit back as they run to find the object and bring it back to you. You can join in on the hunting too, and see who can find each object fastest!
3. Story Time
If you love reading to your grandchild, incorporate it into your next video call. Snuggling up on the couch together isn’t always an option, but it doesn't mean you can’t share a love of reading virtually.
Children’s books are full of bright, colorful illustrations that translate well over video calls. The next time you're at the library, take a trip through the children’s section to find engaging picture books to read on your next call. When you finish reading, you can pull up the Let’s Draw activity in Kinoo and draw your favorite character from the story.
4. Go Fishing
Bring summer camp right to your sofa with this silly activity. It's time to hang out, feel the wind in your hair, and relax by the water as you catch some fish together, virtually.
Of course, the wind will be from your ceiling fan; since you can enjoy Fishing Fun in the comfort of your own home on Kinoo! With the Kinoo wand, your tiny fisher can cast a line to find and learn about all kinds of fish. They may even pull up some trash and throw it out to help keep the waters clean.
5. Play Charades
If your kiddo likes to get some wiggles out while you're chatting, plan a game of charades. Kinoo makes it easy to play this classic game. Choose between two different levels: play timed or free play. You can even bring the whole family together for a team-building game like no other.
Divide into teams or designate one person as the actor, who will receive the word to act out. Then you each can take turns acting and guessing. If you can’t guess the word, ask for a clue. If your charades partner doesn’t quite understand acting out without words or sounds, go ahead and bend the rules. The goal of charades — on Kinoo, just like IRL — is to have fun and be engaged!
6. Travel to the Moon
When you plan virtual field trips, there’s no need to keep your feet on the floor. With Moon Rocket on Kinoo, you and your adventurer can put on your spacesuits and hop into a rocket to the moon. Before you blast off, your kiddo can practice counting skills by counting backward.
You may see some silly sights on your way to the moon, but once you land, you can share a laugh when choosing some space-tastic moves for your astronaut avatar to make in your own unique moon dance. As you zoom back to Earth, you can ask your fellow astronaut about their favorite part of outer space.
No matter how far apart you are, you can always connect through music. Singing songs with your littles virtually can be a lot of fun, especially when practicing the movements for songs like “I’m a Little Teapot” or “The Wheels on the Bus.” Kids can even use the Kinoo wand as a prop!
Music helps to bring social-emotional learning to kids. Through music, kiddos can understand emotions, learn to interact with others, and learn about other cultures.
8. How To Draw Activities
If you have a little artist on the video call, pull up the Let’s Draw activity in Kinoo. You can find how to draw specific things, like How to Draw a Fish, on Kinoo and practice together on a shared screen. These tutorials are great at teaching kids basic art skills and increasing confidence.
Once you're finished drawing your fish, take a trip to the beach on the Beach Playset. You can take turns setting up an interactive beach habitat with hippos, bears, monkeys, and even more animals. (Bears on the Beach? You have to see that for yourself!)
When you don't live near your grandchildren or other young family members, it can be hard to keep up on all of their favorite things. Planning a show-and-tell in your Kinoo video call allows your young one to share with you the things that matter most. When they're showing you, ask questions about what they like about each item.
Showing interest in growing children’s hobbies is an excellent way to offer validation and support and build important bonds that will last a lifetime.
10. Create Gratitude Cards
Fostering gratitude and mindfulness in kids has positive mental health benefits and may reduce stress. Like all habits, gratitude is a concept that is best taught by grownups who can spend time around kids modeling gratitude. One way to do this is with the Gratitude Cards activity on Kinoo.
Together with your little one, you can create a gratitude card to send to anyone who deserves one. If your kiddo has trouble coming up with what they're grateful for, rely on prompting questions. Ask your thinker what makes them happy or brings joy. It may be easier for kids to connect with those feelings at first.
11. Online Games
Kids love playing fun games. If you're too far apart to share a physical board game, virtual board games bring the joy to you.
On Kinoo, you’ll find memory games, Snow Match, Sock Match, and Four In a Row. All of these games are perfect for kids of all ages to play together.
The Kinoo versions of these games have been created by experts with kids and families, life-skill lessons, and cooperation in mind. While you're playing, light bulb moments with intriguing questions and conversation tips will pop up on the grownup’s screen to keep the engagement strong.
Video chats have become commonplace for families to overcome the physical distance that separates them.
Now that you're armed with our helpful tips on making the most of your video chat with Kinoo and 11 of our favorite virtual activities, your next family video call will be even more engaging.
You can make any distance between you and your loved ones disappear with Kinoo. Our interactive activities and games will make you feel like you're sitting next to each other.