With distance learning becoming more prominent, it has become far more difficult to ensure that students get time for group play, and the benefits associated with it.
Regardless of a child’s age, games and other group activities are vital for breaking up the day, and keeping them excited and energized throughout. We’ve put together a list of the 25 best distance learning games for students and teachers.
Let’s Mingle: Kid’s Edition comes with 110 conversation-starter cards tailored just for kids. The questions are suitable and engaging for elementary students pre-K through 6th grade.
Depending on the size and demands of your group, you can ask the questions to the whole class and open it up for discussion, or break the class into smaller groups and have them discuss the questions among themselves.
Match Master is a social emotional learning memory card game. The game is similar to the classic Memory game, but with one major twist: the visual representation of emotions is the same, but they have two different synonyms for the emotion portrayed.
This one might require a bit of adapting to a remote audience. We suggest an overhead camera, or using the cards as a template to create and play an online version of the game.
Emoji Stories on the other hand, will be easier to play remotely. The game challenges players to describe an emotional event (happy, sad, shy, etc) that has happened sometime in the recent past, distant past, or even the future, all by using emojis.
You can challenge students to use a selection of emojis included in the base game, or give them free reign to use the emoji keyboard on their own devices.
20 Questions, like many other classic party games, can be easily adapted for remote classrooms. Playing the game in a group environment will provide an extra focus on cooperating and paying attention.
With all the remote options for playing Bingo, the only thing that requires creative adjustments will be prizes.
Consider scaling back the difficulty since your students won’t have the same access to the pieces they would have if solving the puzzle IRL.
Another party game classic that has been adapted for online, Scattergories (or a non-trademark-infringing alternative) is a great way to reinforce vocabulary and creative thinking.
It should come as no surprise that this classroom staple has been adapted to remote learning. With options for randomly generated quizzes, questions you create yourself, and specifically curated topics, trivia is the perfect way to gamify learning.
If you don’t already have go-to check out some of the great options here.
If your remote learning plan includes creative free time, consider encouraging your students to create chalk art to share with the class.
If you have limited time, create a schedule of sorts, allowing 4 or 5 kids to share per day.
With the help of an idea generator, charades is a game that can be quickly started and stopped, making it a perfect choice if you don’t have a lot of time for group play.
Would You Rather works well as an ice-breaker, or as an intro to writing exercises.
To adapt for Zoom, consider using questions that can be answered via emoji, like “would you rather eat 🍦 or 🎂” or “would would you rather fly like a 🐦 or swim like a 🐟.”
Again, you may want to use a free generator to help move things along. Using paint and screen share, or just pointing the camera at a notepad, you can easily play Pictionary over zoom.
In this classic party game, players take turns naming things they’ve never done. For younger students, examples could be things like “Never have I ever stayed up past midnight” or “Never have I ever gone to another state/country.”
Kid friendly adaptations usually involve switching seats, so for zoom, consider having each child get a stack of crackers, or a certain number of cereal pieces and eat one for each thing they have done.
This classic board game is another strong contender for being adapted to zoom.
If you’re not familiar, players take turn guessing the most popular answer to prompts like “things you do as part of a morning routine” or “zoo animals” hoping to get one of the answers listed.
Online versions of the game exist, but it might be helpful to have a physical copy handy.
The Jackbox Party Pack (now in its 7th incarnation) is a perennial favorite for both remote games. One player hosts, while others log into the game session with a private access code. The games (too numerous and diverse to list) are simple, zany, and usually self explanatory.
The number of participants is limited for some of the options, so if you have a group of more than 8, be sure to check the player limits before purchasing or launching a game.
Catchphrase is a word guessing game in which one player tries to get their teammates to guess a word (or occasionally a name or short phrase) before time runs out. It’s suitable for any number of players, and can be easily adapted for remote and online play.
The game works best when players are split in two separate teams.
Taboo is a slightly more complicated version of catchphrase. In addition to the word the player tries to get their teammate to guess, players are also given a list of related words they’re not allowed to say when giving clues.
It’s a great choice for students who are looking for more of a challenge, or who have exhausted catchphrase’s word bank.
Once again, technically we’re talking about a non-trademark infringing online version. This game which is sort of a word search filtered through a scrabble board is a great way to practice spelling and vocab.
Here’s an option to get your students up and moving. Create a list of 5-10 items, things that should be in every home, but may require some creative thinking to find.
Codenames is another great choice for building vocabulary and creativity. A list of 25 words are displayed on-screen, which have been secretly divided into 3 groups, blue teams words, red teams words, and duds. One player gives one-word clues that would allow their teammates to guess as many of the codewords as possible, while avoiding the opposite team’s words or the duds.
While fun and quick to learn, the game might be frustrating for younger players.
While the classic version of this kids party game relies on, you know, actual chairs, that doesn’t mean it can’t be adapted to a Zoom call.
Start playing music, and encourage your kids to show off their best dance moves. Suddenly pause it, and the last kid(s) still dancing is eliminated. Repeat the process until only one student is left standing (or dancing).
This game has elements of trivia, but is also a way for your students to exercise their creativity. Players make up fake answers to trivia questions and then all players try to guess the correct answer. Players who have successfully fooled other players into guessing their answer earn points, as do players who guess the correct answer.
You might be familiar with this game from The Ellen Show, or the earlier board game version Balderdash. It’s available as a free app for iPhone or Android.
Like the classic Rebus games, but updated for Zoom and the modern era. These riddles use emojis to create common words or phrases. Have your students to guess what they or, or challenge them to create their own.
The Zoom version of this game has more in common with two truths and a lie (another solid option, but one that may be limited by group size) than the classic board game.
Players each submit a list of facts, things like favorite food, favorite TV show, favorite color, and so on. Start by reading 3 facts from a list, awarding 5 points to anyone who correctly guesses that player its describing. If no one guesses correctly, read another fact, and award 4 points, and so on.
This is a simple game, but one that trains memory, or can feed into lessons about art or advertising. You can host a logo quiz using screen-share or feed an existing quiz template into your preferred trivia site.