Staying connected while apart is so important for all of our mental health right now. While video chats by themselves are fun, we’ve taken it up a notch and put together a list of ways to have even more fun interacting with your loved ones while using Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts or other video chat platforms. We love this video of a little girl having a dance party with her grandfather who lives across the street, but the fact is, most of us don’t live across the street from everyone we love.
Fun Activities to do During Video Chat
There’s nothing more fun than seeing the people we love or enjoy spending time with, but if there was a way to make that time even MORE fun, we know how!
Go to the Movies
Not really, please stay home. But did you know Netflix has a Google Chrome extension that allows you and friends or family to play a movie simultaneously? With this feature, you can share your reactions in a chat room, and if someone needs to pause for a popcorn refill, the show will pause for everyone.
LEGO or STEM Challenges
With either of these challenges, you can decide in advance (“Today we will be building a tree out of LEGO bricks”) or your challenges can be announced on the fly. (“Our STEM challenge is to build a boat that holds seven pennies and floats without sinking. You have two minutes to gather materials!”) Either way, these challenges are a blast and can be done while sharing screen time but staying socially distant.
Host a Talent Show
Hop on over to your favorite multi-person platform and allow everyone to let their creative side shine! Whether their talent is acrobatics or magic or setting the perfect table, you can learn something new about your friends and family, while having fun at the same time.
Try a Delicious Science Experiment
You can try any science experiment, really! Just make sure everyone knows what supplies to gather in advance. Have you ever made homemade ice cream in a bag? All you need is salt, ice, and heavy whipping cream or half and half! Once you have your tasty treat ready to go, you can raid the cabinets for tasty add-ins, like sprinkles or chocolate chips. You can also use flavored extracts to make your dessert even better! Race to see who can make ice cream first.
Go on a Safari
This is so cool and one we’re having a blast doing in our house. If you go to Google on Android or Apple devices, you can search for an animal and choose the option to view them in 3-D. This brings the animal up on the camera of your device. You can take pictures with them, move them around your house, and put them in all kinds of interesting situations! The ones we have found that work so far are: Lion, Tiger, Cheetah, Shark, Hedgehog, Duck, Emperor Penguin, Wolf, Angler Fish, Goat, Rottweiler, Snakes, Eagle, Brown Bear, Alligator, Horse, Macaw, Cat, Dog, Turtle, and Octopus. Pose with your favorite and share it with your friends.
Cook a Meal Together
Take turns teaching one another how to make a favorite meal. Grandparents can share stories about where the recipe came from or memories about eating the meal during special times.
Play Dress Up
The traditional sense or cosplay is fine, but I’m talking about something a little different. Whether you chat with avatars on your apple device or choose to wear a cowboy hat as your accessory on Google Hangouts, your options here are endless! Consider dressing as your favorite Disney character using clothes from your own closet before your digital meet-up
Art or Kindness Craft
There are tons of incredible and free art tutorials out right now that everyone can follow along together. You can also make rocks together to decorate and hide along a walk. If you can’t find any of those smooth rocks that are so popular with kindness rock projects, you can make salt dough tabs to bake and paint. Another fun option is to use stamps to decorate them before baking.
Karaoke or Dance Party
This is great for getting wiggles out and trying something new! Crank up the tunes and let everyone go! Pick a song and sing your heart out.
Storytime with Loved Ones
During social distancing, it can be really hard not to see our loved ones, especially those who may be higher risk. A very sweet option is for grandparent (or other loved ones) story time. The person reading the story can hold the book up to the camera to show off the photos. Try a role reversal for this one and have early readers select a book to read aloud TO their grandparents.
Play a Game Together
I feel like I could write an entire article on this one alone! There are so many great options for playing games with friends. If everyone has the same tabletop game, you can play things like Battleship, Yahtzee, GuessWho?, Apples to Apples, or Headbandz. There are also app games you can play on one device and video chat on another, such as Words with Friends or Draw Something. Charades would be a great game for just video chatting!
Try out Houseparty, a video chat app that allows users to play games like Heads Up or trivia, virtually though the app. If card games are more your style, you can invite friends to play Memory, Checkers, Crazy 8s, or Go Fish by creating a room on the Playing Cards website and inviting your friends. All player’s movements are synchronized across screens, so you get to see the cards played in real time. There are also the multi-player virtual games, like Roblox, Fortnite, or Minecraft you can play together, and if you have the same gaming devices as friends, such as the Nintendo Switch or 3DS, you can join up to play there while video chatting.
Enjoy a Meal Together
Set your laptop or tablet up at the end of the table and enjoy a family meal all together…separately. Lift your glasses for a group toast, have a normal conversation and share your day, just like you would if everyone was in the same room.
If you have any other ideas for making those Zoom calls more entertaining, playing with friends during a Google Chat or laughing during Facetime, let us know in the comments.