We have all been coping with the ramifications of the ongoing pandemic for nearly a year now. With the health measures in place to protect both ourselves and those around us, it has been challenging to stay connected with friends and family. Although everyone’s living situations are different, we have all been grappling with the lack of social contact to some degree. Whether it’s been not seeing close family members in-person for months, or not being able to hang out with your friends over the weekend like you used to, the pandemic has taken away a lot of opportunities for social contact.
Quarantine can be tough on our mental health, making social connection is more important than ever. It can ease our anxiety, makes us feel less alone, and it offers some normalcy that has been dearly missed.
Thankfully we have apps like Zoom, Skype, and other video calling software that allows us to stay connected with those we love, albeit virtually. In this blog post, I am sharing ideas for fun Zoom activities that you can do with friends and family.
1. Game Night
This is a fantastic way to spend your evening with family or close friends during the pandemic. It doesn’t require much preparation, and many games can be easily conducted over video calls. We have your classics, like Charades or Code Words, which translate fantastically over Zoom. There are also simple games, like 2 Truths and Lie or Never Have I Ever, that don’t require any set-up or game pieces. If you are looking to get more complex, then get creative! Set up a board game and position your camera in a way so that everyone can see it, or use a website that can host long-distance games. Jackbox or Netgames.io are both fantastic options. No matter what you choose, Game Night is a great way to just have some fun and take your mind off things.
2. Movie Night
Similar to game night, this also does not require any set-up beforehand. Just have everyone jump onto a call, and then decide together what you want to stream for the night. No matter if you are in the mood for a comedy, serious dramas, or a horror flick to scare yourselves, watching movies together is a great bonding experience. With the Chrome extension Teleparty, you can sync up your Netflix movie with others, and there’s even a chat-bar to the side for you to discuss the film as it plays. Disney+ also has a similar Group Watch feature. And hey, if those sound too complicated for you, having someone screen-share their window is also a great option.
3. Virtual Brunch/Dinner Party
Do you miss getting together with your friends, and just having a meal together? While sharing food and having picnics is not an option for many right now, you can still opt for a virtual brunch or dinner party! Have everyone get set up with their own meals, and then sit down and eat together over a video call. If you want to get more creative, then plan ahead and have everyone cook the same meal! With apps like Skip the Dishes and DoorDash, you can even order food to get delivered to your friends! That sounds like a great way to stay connected.
4. Dungeons and Dragons
Now admittedly, this is a nerdier option, and may not be for everyone. However, Dungeons and Dragons can be very engaging with a close group of friends! If you’re unfamiliar with Dungeons and Dragons, read up on some articles, watch some YouTube tutorials, or just make up the rules as you go! This is, after all, a game that’s about your creativity. DnD allows players to get transported into a fantasy world, where you can play heroes and defeat vile villains. Honestly, visiting a fantasy world and leaving ours sounds like a great option at the moment.
5. Presentation Party
This is another activity that is going to take some preparation ahead of time, but it will be worth it! Essentially, a presentation party is an activity where everyone prepares a presentation on whatever topic they want, and then present it over video call. I know, I know, presentations may not be how you want to spend an afternoon with friends. However: this isn’t just your typical Shakespeare slideshow or Social Studies homework. You can make your presentation about whatever topic you want! It can be about your favourite books, how Scarlet Witch is the most powerful avenger, or why fish are disgusting.
You can teach your friends about something that you’ve always wanted them to know about, convince them to join you on some weird obsession, or just use it as an opportunity to be silly and weird! This can be whatever you want it to be.
These are just some of my suggestions. They have worked for me, but we’re all different. Try them out and see which ones work for you. If you find that game night or a presentation party was a great way to spend time with your friends, awesome! I’m glad I could help. If these suggestions don’t really vibe with your friends or family, that is okay too. The important thing is finding something that works for you. And look, spending a video chat together discussing what you should do for the next video chat sounds like a perfectly fine way to spend your evening.