Everybody needs a little fun…especially now, right? In addition to my Homeschool @ the Library programs and Homeschool Book Clubs, I offer Homeschool Hangout. Usually once a month, we gather together on Zoom to play games and do different activities. Some I’ve created on my own; others are games that I adapt for this virtual environment. All in all, the hour of Homeschool Hangout flies by, and everyone leaves smiling!
Is anything original? Sometimes, I do make up my own games; other times, I borrow liberally from things I find online and create my own versions.
- I’m Thinking of a Character
- This is a game we made up to play on road trips when our daughters were little. Yes or no questions only. Characters can be from books (of course), movies, or TV shows; animals, people, or fantasy creatures all permitted.
- Dictionary Game, AKA the Game I Love to Play But My Family Doesn’t!
- Word Chooser begins with “I’m thinking of a word that starts with INSERT LETTER HERE.” (For example, E for “erudite.”)
- First person guesses an appropriate word (“elated.”)
- Word Chooser says either “Before” if the chosen word comes before the guessed word or “After” if the chosen word comes after the guessed word. (Word Chooser would say “After” since “erudite” comes after “elated” in the dictionary.)
- Next person’s guess is slightly more educated, so they might guess “endure,” as “endure” is after “elated.”
- Continue until the word is guessed. Trust me, this works! And it’s a great game to enhance vocabulary and spelling.
- Starts With, Ends With
- Think of a word, such as giraffe.
- Next person has to think of a word that starts with the letter “e” (eat). Next person might say “teal,” and so on.
- To make it more challenging, choose a category that all words have to fit. This is another great vocabulary game.
- 5-Second Rule
- Before I found out this was a free app, I just came up with my own kid-friendly categories: book characters, ice cream flavors, pizza toppings, movies, pets, famous athletes, etc. I used my phone timer to keep track of 5 seconds. It’s amazing how hard it is to come up with examples when that clock is ticking!
- My Literary Scavenger Hunts have been wildly popular with both the homeschool students and during virtual elementary school outreach.
- Other fun games include Family Feud (categories and responses can easily be found online), Zoomed In (I use stock pictures from Pixabay and create an iMovie, using the Ken Burns feature to slowly zoom out), and I Spy (I create my own Walter Wick style picture in Google Slides and have students visually hunt for a variety of things.)
- Splurt has been a very popular game with my older homeschool group. Not all of the cards are age-appropriate, but it’s easy to choose cards that are. (Players have to come up with a word that matches two criteria, such as a movie star whose name starts with W.) Quicktionary is a slightly more difficult version because it has three qualifiers. (For example, a type of food that has exactly one syllable and begins with S.)
- My family loves Bring Your Own Book, so I introduced it to the homeschool students in my programs. The only equipment needed is any book; magazines and newspapers will suffice as well. (I’ve found, though, that with children, it’s best for them to use a familiar book.) Similar to Apples to Apples, a prompt is read. I tweak the rules a bit to make it more kid-friendly, so participants simply have a few minutes to look through their book to find what they think is the best response to the prompt. Their response can be a word, phrase, sentence, or even a paragraph from their book. On Zoom, I’m always the judge and decide which response is best; in person, the role of the judge can rotate. I highly recommend this game!
These games have been home runs in my Homeschool Hangout programs. What games have you found to be successful over Zoom? With the pandemic beginning its second year, I’m all for finding ways to smile and create joy. I hope these games do that for you and your young patrons!
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group and III. Programming Skills.