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Tried and tested: online social activities for young people

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

If you work with young people, you will know the challenges that the covid-19 pandemic has had on how you engage young people and get them to remain engaged through this unprecedented time.

Conference video calls are either a pandemonium of chaos or a silent frosty room with no one wanting to say a thing. That’s why online socials are such crucial elements in working with young people and we have tried and tested all the below so that you can see which activity might appeal to your group of young people and get them to log on for your sessions.

They also work particularly well with friends and family, if you have any ideas for socials, we’d love to hear from you and we are always on the lookout for online activities.

  • Online Scavenger Hunt

Get your group of young people into teams by either randomly assigning them into breakout rooms on zoom or get them to put their own teams together ahead of your call.

Each team should have a team name and points are awarded for the item or task that are listed on the scavenger hunt list. You can allocate different points depending on the task and level of difficulty. For example, a screenshot of everyone pulling silly faces may only be worth 1 point but a screenshot of team members doing the YMCA pose may be worth 3 points as it will take the team longer to get themselves in the right order on screen.

The team with the most items or completed task in the allotted time, wins. Teams should send all photographic evidence to a dedicated staff member for scoring using the platform of your choice - Whatsapp, email or google drive folder and the winning team is announced at the end of your meeting. See below an example - your list can be as long or as short as you like.

  • Online Escape Rooms

There are many types of online escape rooms on offer, a quick search online will reveal dozens. We have trialled a number of them and the ones requiring a printer to print clues, or instructing a live games master doesn’t work well in youth group settings. The activity should be as convenient as possible and that is why bewilderbox, makers of the B.R.U.C.E project 1 and 2 come up tops.

Participants will need a laptop/desktop (devices aren’t compatible - the only drawback) and stable internet connection. They join as a team of up to 6 people and the interactive click and point/move game is addictive as it is fun. Unlike other games, bewilderbox builds in a timer within the game so at the end of it you know how long it took a team to ‘escape’ and how many times they needed a clue. It costs £15 and covers the whole team and activation code to start the game is valid for 24 hours.

You can find out more at

  • Dinner and Netflix

If you thought that you would get away from eating pizza with young people during lockdown then you are sadly mistaken. A suggestion from one of your young people was to spend some of their social fund on a Netflix Party and order pizza to eat and watch together.

Netflix Party is a chrome add on and all viewers must have a Netflix account but it is a nifty way to chat and watch a movie or documentary together. The logistics of ordering pizzas for everyone is a headache but worth it, especially if you are buying local food. Otherwise you can ask young people to order their own food if they can and you reimburse (up to a certain amount of course!).

A cheaper option is to agree to watch something on tv so that the viewing is synced and watch together using a video conference platform with chat functions like zoom or google hangouts.

You can download Netflix Party here.

  • Games night

You can’t go wrong with a games night. Different rounds of varying challenges, quizzes and tasks - there is something for everyone. A typical HUDL Games Night lasts an hour and a half and includes the following rounds:

  • Charades

  • Guess the movie quote

  • 21 Questions

  • True/False

  • Riddles

Just remember to be very clear in your instructions and cue up questions/instructions in the chat function as well as saying them aloud. To avoid the inevitable challenges and arguments, we asked the young people to answer in the chat so that it is very clear to all who answered first.

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