WESTFIELD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The coronavirus pandemic has upended nearly every aspect of children’s lives, especially the playdate.

On Thursday, CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to experts about the issue and got some tips on how to socialize kids safely.

With props and instruments, little ones ages 4 and under participate in an outdoor music class in Westfield.

“We had to change the program to make it work for COVID,” said Laura Greenberg of Wompy’s World of Musical Play.

MOREExperts Offer Tips On How To Help Children Deal With Anxiety As They Return To School Learning In The Coronavirus Era

Everyone’s temperature is checked as they walk in. Greenberg gets kids’ senses going despite interacting from afar.

“I mix the ages, so I love that the little ones watch the older ones,” Greenberg said.

“During quarantine so hard to make friends,” Jade Kamine said.

“It’s the perfect way to keep our social distance and make sure everyone still gets to engage with some music, some fun animals and shakers,” Waverly Kamine added.

Outdoor classes like this introduce a whole new world to babies, promoting healthy social emotional development.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

For grade school kids, parenting expert Karl Romain says set up small learning pods.

“They come, they learn, they interact, but the best part of it is that they are social. They are playing. They are getting that interaction that they desperately need,” Romain said.

Parents also get a little break.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Cranford mom Benee Meade hosts virtual sleepover parties for her 9-year-old daughter and her dolls. She has set up tie-dying stations outside, beading parties, and more.

“We set up a movie night for my daughter and her friends. They screened a movie and they had popcorn and we set up a concession stand. So, again, they were together but they were distanced,” Meade said.

Ideas for teens include bike rides with friends and pumpkin carving. Experts say socialization plays a key role in mood and happiness, so if you can sick to small friend circles, mask up, and play on.

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