All the time churches are finding new creative ways to build friendships, combat isolation and form community, even in lockdown. Those working with children and young people are facing similar challenges as those working with older people: how can we make it fun and friendly over the phone, or over Zoom?
We are grateful to our friends at Hope Together for putting together 50 ideas for online fun days here. Many of them are tried and tested in children and youth settings, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work for older people! Here are some of our favourites from their suggestions:
- True or false: Everyone will need two pieces of paper for this game, one saying ‘true’, the other saying ‘false’. The leader will read out statements and members will need to hold up their card based on their answer. If they guess incorrectly, they must turn their screen off. Download the questions here.
- Spoons: A variation of the classic game to play virtually. Everyone will need their own pack of cards and a spoon. Everyone should shuffle their deck and deal themselves four cards. The aim of the game is to get four of a kind in your hand. When the game begins, players should take the top card from their deck and either keep it or discard it, so only four cards remain in their hand. Players continue to do this until they have four of a kind in their hand. The first person to collect four of a kind, then holds their spoon to their nose so other players can see it. As soon as someone gets four of a kind OR notices someone else holding a spoon to their nose, they should grab their spoon and hold it to their nose too. The last person to hold a spoon to their nose receives a letter in the word S-P-O-O-N. The first person to spell the word S-P-O-O-N is the loser.
- Pictionary and Hangman: On Zoom, you can share a ‘whiteboard’. When in the meeting, click the green icon above ‘Share Screen’. Choose the ‘Whiteboard’ function. This shares the screen and everyone can interact and draw on the board. Take it in turns to draw and guess the different pictures.
- Read my lips: Someone says something while on mute and others have to guess what they’re saying. Prepare phrases that can be used, you may want to theme it e.g. books / films.
- That’s right Bob: This is a memory game. Someone starts the game off by saying ‘that’s right Bob….’ Followed by a simple news story sentence e.g. ‘There was a cat up in the tree’. The next person repeats the line and adds to it, ‘that’s right Bob, there was a cat up in the tree and it was having a bad day’. Each member continues to add to the story in this way until someone cannot remember the whole story.
- Drawing on your head: This is simple and funny! Have people put a piece of paper on their heads, so that their eyes are covered, and give them step by step instructions to draw something on a piece of paper before them. At the end they show the results to everyone. For a socially distanced event, everyone needs to bring their own pen and paper – or you can provide them as giveaways in goodie bags before the date of the event.
- Charades: Take it in turns to act out different words or phrases. Everyone guesses what they are acting out, the first person to guess gets a point. You may want to prepare some words and phrases ready for this, or allow people to choose their own.
- Bake-off challenge: Choose an item for your bake-off challenge, this could be anything from bread, cakes, or a show stopper! Agree a start and end time that you have to show the finished item. Encourage people to take selfies during the baking process. Decide how you will choose the winners (if you want someone to win) – will you have a panel of judges, or will everyone get a vote? Create a scoreboard and criteria that the finished item will be judged on e.g. presentation and creativity.
- Talent show: Ask attendees to showcase their hidden talents! You’ll need to ask people before the event so that you can create a schedule. Decide how you will choose the winners (if you want someone to win) – will you have a panel of judges, or will everyone get a vote.
- Recreating artwork challenge: Choose a famous piece of artwork for your attendees to re-create. You could have a prize for the best masterpiece!
- Riddles: There are lots of riddles online. Have some fun going through some riddles, challenging attendees to answer. Get others to share riddles that they know too.
- Crafts: Think about materials and items most people would have within their homes and choose a craft to complete. Lots of craft ideas can be found on the internet. Things like origami, making an instrument out of your recycling, or painting, could easily work. Colouring activities are also enjoyable.
- Gratitude Photo Challenge: on your smartphone, take a photo of: something that makes you happy, something to give to someone else to make them smile, something you love to smell, something you enjoy looking at, something that is your favourite colour, something you like in nature, something you can use to make a gift for someone, something that is useful to you. If you don’t have a smartphone, you could take pictures with a camera, or even draw them! You can then come together on a video call to share your photos and talk about them. If you are using a smartphone, HOPE suggest posting your photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @HopeTogether with #FunDay and tag @HopeTogether. Giveaway copies of the Hope for All magazine or Mark’s Gospel from the HOPE shop. Visit the HOPE website for more ideas on making Jesus known with words and action in your community.
For lots more ideas on ‘Holiday at Home’ fun activities for older people, and ways to use these times to point people to Christ, see our resource Holidays at Home in Lockdown: ideas for churches for 2020.