10 Social Distancing Games for Kids

By Malcolm Baltar | Mar 24, 2021


The race to vaccinate has begun, but children fall pretty low on the priority list. That means you need to maintain social distancing to protect your kids and others while on playdates and public parks. 

However, children naturally want to play. Here are ten social distancing games for kids that you can enjoy without much equipment and have fun while staying safe. 

1. Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light is one of the oldest social distancing games known for kids. You don’t need anything but some open space and little bodies spread at least six feet apart. 

Have your kids line up with appropriate spacing at the same distance from the finish line. When you say “green light,” participants try to get as close to the endzone as possible. When you say “red light,” they have to freeze — and anyone who moves, trips or loses balance is out for that round. 

2. Horse

All you need for this basketball variation is a court and a ball. It helps if the area is fenced, but it doesn’t have to be. 

The player who goes first gets to shoot from anywhere on the court and do anything wacky they like before taking their shot. If they turn around five times before doing a backward “potty shot,” so be it. 

If they make it, the next player has to imitate their feat or get a letter. The last person on the court who hasn’t amassed enough letters to spell “horse” wins the game. You can make the competition shorter or longer by spelling “pig” or “elephant” instead. 

3. Simon Says

Simon Says keeps your kiddos socially distant while testing their young listening skills. To win, they must perform a series of actions — but only if Simon tells them. 

You might start by saying, “Simon says tap your head with your right hand,” and progress to, “Simon says stand on your left foot.” After a few rapid-fire Simon commands, throw in an order without the requisite intro — “spin in a circle.” Those who didn’t catch that Simon didn’t say are out for that round. 

4. Hot Potato

Ensure you have plenty of hand sanitizer nearby since you will need to touch the same ball. Other than that, all you need are the object above to toss and some music. 

Have the children stand in a circle. When the music starts playing, have them begin tossing the “hot potato” to one another. The person stuck holding the ball when you turn off the music is out for that round. Continue gameplay until only one player remains standing. 

5. Noodle Tag

You can’t play tag when you have to stay six feet apart — or can you? When you add a standard pool noodle to the average kid’s arm, you have a social distance measuring stick and a tool for a fun game variation. 

You can play noodle tag by whatever rules you use to play standard tag.  However, instead of touching each other, children tap each other with their pool noodles. It’s an ingenious way to get them up and running without having them collide. 

6. Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is the ultimate in social distancing games for kids. The game’s entire idea is to find objects first, which requires little bodies to go where others aren’t. 

You don’t need any special materials — if you are at the playground, use this activity to teach a bit of botany by asking for an acorn or an oak leaf. If you find yourself stumped for creative ideas after using your brain at work all week, you can find free printable lists online. 

7. FootGolf

Do you want to hone your kid’s soccer skills without letting them get too close to their teammates? Why not try footgolf? It’s similar to the original game, except you use a soccer ball and your feet at the clubs. 

All you’ll need for this game is a ball, some small nets or buckets to use as goals and an open field. Follow standard golf scoring, with the player who takes the fewest shots to reach the goal winning each round. 

8. Beach Ball Letter Slam

The weather isn’t always delightful — sometimes, you need to take your playdate inside. If you must, a magnetic whiteboard, some magnetic letters and a beach ball make for a fun game. 

Players take turns aiming their beach ball at the magnet board, trying to knock off as many as they can with one shot. You can even make this social distancing game for kids educational by having little learners spell out a word or two with the letters they gather. 

9. Pictionary

Pictionary is fun for nearly all ages. Kids don’t need to know how to read or write to get in on the game. 

All you need is a timer and some paper and pens. Arrange the children into two teams. One team draws while the other tries to guess what the object is. If they do so within the allotted time, they score a point — otherwise, the other team takes their turn. 

10. Scattergories 

Scattergories is another fun game for older children. If you already have the game with the multi-sided die, you can keep a small classroom entertained with this game. 

All you need to do is print off some clue sheets — if you are a teacher, you can customize lists that tie into your lesson plans. The student who gets the most acceptable answers without repeating what their classmates said wins the round. 

Entertain With These 10 Social Distancing Games for Kids

You don’t have to give up playdates while you wait for herd immunity. Try these ten social distancing games for kids at your next gathering. 

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