We hope each of you have had a safe and healthy Holiday season thus far. To stay safe and connected this January, it’s time to FaceTime! We are strongly encouraging our Bigs and Littles to refrain from in-person activities and participate in virtual activities and communication during the month of January to limit potential exposure to Covid-19.
In order to make this a smooth transition for each of you we will be providing weekly virtual game nights for Bigs and Littles each Wednesday in January at 6 pm. Each week, a $25 gift card will be up for grabs. More info to come! In addition, be sure to check out the virtual activity toolkit below. It is there for each of you to help find ways to stay connected to your Little. Also, please join our Bigs Facebook Group – Chattanooga Bigs – where we will be sharing other virtual ideas.
As we all know, our community is facing a Covid-19 surge and most likely will continue to see an increase in cases following the Holiday season. We at Big Brothers Big Sisters take the health and safety of our Bigs, Littles, and families very seriously. If you do engage in in-person activities, please participate in outdoor activities with masks and social distancing. We know everyone is experiencing a bit of Zoom fatigue but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and hope we are back to group activities and in-person connection soon. We will revisit this suggestion the last week of January and will provide an update then! Thank you for your commitment to your Little and for your help in keeping everyone safe and keeping our Littles connected.
- Rely on regular phone calls and text messages, or video chats via FaceTime or WhatsApp to stay connected with your Little. Use this conversation guide for great conversation starters for kids and check out this guide to get chatting with teens!
- Messenger Kids (from Facebook) is a great way to safely connect with your Little via a social media platform, while keeping their parent looped in. Here's more on how it works.
- Snail mail - still a thing! Write letters to your Little (become pen pals!), send postcards, a homemade card, pass along some print-at-home games (like these puzzles or these coloring pages), or send them a homemade craft (like these bracelets, or one of these quick/easy kids crafts)
- STAY CONSISTENT! However you choose to connect, your consistency is more important to your Little now more than ever. Find days, times, and methods that work best for both of you, create a plan, set a schedule, and stick to it! This will make it easier on you both, while giving you each something to look forward to and depend on.
- ASK QUESTIONS! It's no surprise that everyone's day-to-day schedule is experiencing incredible upheaval. Reaching out and chatting with your Little and their parent/guardian about when is best to reach out, what days and time are easiest, and how you can help are questions that will be enormously helpful for you (and your Little!) in staying connected.
Tips to create a fun, virtual outing:
- If you or your Little have a video game console, you can play appropriate shared games with each other (Be mindful of not choosing games rated M for Mature).
- Develop a talent, skill, or passion together! There is a ton of experts creating exceptional online content right now that can help you and your Little learn to draw or doodle, perfect an in-home workout, practice ballet, become a scientist, explore the world, become a great cook, learn a second (or third!) language, become a yogi, or learn how to dance!
- Don't hesitate to day-dream! Plan future activity ideas you two might do together once it's safer to move about in the community.
- Watch a virtual concert together! There are a ton of artists who are hopping on the bandwagon and hosting virtual and free concerts for their fans!
- Start a cooperative journal by using a platform like Story Bird or Google Docs to document the day-to-day.
- Have a virtual book club! You can read to your Little via FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype, or Zoom, or plan to read the same book and discuss with each other.
- Does your Little like to build? Purchase duplicate Lego sets or jigsaw puzzles and send one to both you and your Little. Share your progress by sending photos via text message and see who can complete their project first!
- Does your Little have virtual homework assignments they're trying to tackle? Offer to lend a helping hand! Whether it's a book report, an algebra lesson, or anything else you can be incredibly helpful in assisting your Little in transitioning to digital learning.
Apps for creating a fun and meaningful virtual experience:
- Netflix Party utilizes video synchronization and chat so you can watch a show or movie together. Make sure you guys talk about it afterwards. Netflix party works only in chrome browser as an add-on.
- Twitch is a streaming platform that has a karaoke feature.
- Houseparty is an app (and has a chrome add on) that utilizes video chat and you can play games on.
- Game Pigeon is an add-on for iPhone users that allows players to play a variety of games in the Text Message inbox.
- Steam is free to install video game platform that offers many free to play multiplayer games. See below for free Steam Games
- Multiplayer Games that can be played free using a browser:
- Visit and learn about museums around the world:
- Google Arts has a list of over 500 museums and cultural institutions to visit. The palace of Versailles is on there!
- The Lourve (Paris, France)
- The Smithsonian Natural History Museum (Washington D.C.)
- Nasa Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA)
- Nasa Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH)
- The Museu de Arte de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil)
- Schedule game time! Using app-based games like Words with Friends, Draw Something, Chess (click here for the web version), Checkers, or Bowling can be great ways to engage and connect with your Little, while enjoying some down time. Check out this website for great games you and your Little can play on laptops or desktops.