Over the last few months, we have been invited to more Zoom calls and Facetimes and Hangouts that we can count - all in the name of social distancing. When this new reality started to present itself a few months ago, we heard loud and clear that social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation - woo hoo! Virtual classes became the new norm almost overnight - from singalongs and storytimes to workout classes and so much more. But it can be hard to tell - are virtual events worth the screen time for kids? Let’s break it down.
First thing’s first...
We have always been the first people to advocate for limited screen time for kids. After all, all of our events are hands-on, low-tech, let’s-get-cozy affairs - and for good reason! We know that kids pick up tech skills almost innately, and teaching things like grit and collaboration are best taught in exactly the opposite of social distancing. But in this new world, we are finding that everyone is being asked to get creative and find a new balance in this topsy-turvy world. While we know the power of a story time or teamwork STEM challenge, we also know that turning things virtual can provide a lot of unexpected benefits too.
5. Try something new!
As we get used to our new schedules of Zoom classes and remote learning, the initial magic of these things and the reality of staying home can quickly set in. One way to combat this - try something new! Virtual events offer a chance to try something totally different and have something fun to look forward to during this time where days and weeks start to all feel the same.
4. Make new friends
One of the best parts of virtual events is that we are able to interact with people, no matter where they are located! In the past, birthday parties or playdates were limited to local friends and family, but with virtual events, we are able to unite people from different cities, states, time zones and even countries! Whether it’s registering for the same virtual storytime, playing one of our high-energy games like Art Gallery, or racing around your house during an interactive Scavenger Hunt, virtual experiences allow guests who arrive as strangers to leave giving virtual high-fives to their new friends.
3. Stay connected
Along the same lines as reaching more people, virtual events also give us a chance to stay connected to people that are important to us. During difficult times, having a support system is essential for kids. When being in the same physical space isn’t an option, we find a lot of the same comfort and support from a virtual setting. Being able to see each other’s faces and mannerisms provides a sense of normalcy for kids. Our family events are another great alternative to stay connected and have fun, no matter where your families are located.
2. Keep teamwork skills fresh
The very best part of live events like Wonder Hour and STEM Game Races, is seeing kids interact together to solve challenges. The teamwork skills, grit and communication that happens when kids are problem solving is seriously the best. Initially we were so bummed - and then we realized something amazing - teamwork isn’t canceled! When teams work together on puzzles or games in our virtual events, it’s absolute MAGIC to see what happens, even virtually! Kids are communicating and collaborating and working together to achieve a common goal - and having FUN while doing it!
1. Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate!
There is so much sadness and uncertainty but it’s important to remember the one thing that shouldn’t change - the opportunity to smile, take a deep exhale and say ‘that was so much fun!’ We know that kids and parents are missing the structure and routine, and it’s so hard to have no idea of when things will return to ‘normal’. But finding moments of joy is one of the best remedies for all the uncertainty. Pick up a fun craft kit and get creative. Head out for a nature walk and count the squirrels. Grab a few friends and plan the most epic virtual sleepover on the planet. Take time to find the joy, because we know that while kids might not remember the details, they will absolutely remember the fun.