Virtual Interactions and Playdates
While our kids are home from school, it is really important to their emotional health to keep them connected to their extended family and friends. There are many apps and websites that allow this to happen - for this to work well, I recommend spending time teaching your kids how to make these calls properly from their own devices, or be prepared to part with yours! Write up a list of who uses each video chat service so they know how to contact each friend or family member.
I also recommend setting aside time in their homeschooling schedule for free choice/virtual playdates, and letting their friends' parents know when they will be free. One creative way to fit socializing into your child's schedule is to have them call up a friend to do their homework together - this experience can be quite similar to how they work together at school.
Below are two lists - a list of all the virtual interaction sites/apps I know, and then a list of fun activities to do together virtually.
Video Chat Sites/Apps:
Facebook Messenger (and Messenger Kids, which has tons of fun games and silly tools built into it)
Zoom - usually more for business type meetings, schools and teachers are likely using this
Google Duo (Android)
HouseParty - targeted at teens and older
Google Classroom, Schoology, Seesaw - many of the school sites that are primarily used for teacher/student assignment discussions are turning into places for students to simply chat with one another
Creative ideas for video chats:
(Here is an article full of creative ideas!)
Sometimes kids don't know how to just talk without playing at the same time. Here are some ideas for ways kids can play together virtually.
iMessage - GamePigeon allows kids to send games to one another directly in a text thread
Eat lunch together
Storytime - better or adults interacting with kids
Board games - many 2 player games could be set up to play across virtual chat. Some examples - Battleship, Tenzi, Guess Who. The Game of Life, Candyland, Checkers and Chess could be played virtually by simply moving your opponent for them when they make a move.
Have a Tea Party
Mad Libs - for an extra challenge, kids can write their own for their friends
Would You Rather
Video Games - some can be played together from a distance, or kids could simply play the same game separately and talk while they play
Do homework together