With technology platforms like Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and more, those used to opening their doors to friends and family have embraced the art of imaginative forms of group entertaining. Take a look at 10 technology-enabled ways to keep those you care about connected and entertained.
Many moms are equally embracing and agonizing over increased responsibilities of working and educating from home.
Briana Marie, founder of Major League Mommy (MajorLeagueMommy.com), and friends have created a “Mom Survival Group” using Facebook Live.
“We meet up at the end of each day to discuss how our day went over a glass of wine or our drink of choice,” Marie said. “We also have fun trivia games that we play, and there are cool prizes up for grabs. It’s a great way to spend our time after getting the kids off to bed and spending the entire day kid-wrangling.”
“I think that cooking together is a lovely way to connect, and it’s something you can definitely do virtually,” said Becky Striepe, founder of Glue and Glitter (GlueandGlitter.com). “My mom, sister and I use WhatsApp to do group video chats, and we had a glass of wine together last night while I was making supper for my family. It was such a nice, low-key way to hang out.”
Many memes are circulating about the miracles and misadventures of cooking while in quarantine.
If, like many households, you seem to have an eclectic variety of foods and ingredients, embrace an opportunity to share a cooking experience. Get creative — the more unusual the makings and meals, the better.
Oh, Pinterest — you haven of self-and-mandated quarantine!
While perfectly pulled-off crafts, cooking experiments and other “pins” are great, sometimes the “nailed it” versions are even better. Pool a group of friends at the beginning of the week and pose a Pinterest “pin challenge” or two. By the end of the week, come together for a virtual celebration to show off the fruits and failures of the group. Inevitably there is always one or more of your friend/family circle who produces a magnificent “nailed it” project.
Wine groups and connoisseurs have banded together for virtual wine tastings.
“My boyfriend and I have some good friends who we often meet at our local urban winery for tastings. We have also amassed a wonderful collection of wines at home,” said Kristien Brada-Thompson (BradaPR.com).
“We’ve invited our friends to enjoy a virtual wine tasting. Each couple pulling a particular bottle from their collection (we have a lot of the same ones) and set up cheese plates and other pairings, and then we’ll FaceTime the experience as if we’re all there in person,” she said.
And, wine isn’t the only liquid to link people together — toast friends and family with different teas, coffees and food pairings.
The Facebook Watch Party feature isn’t new, but you’ve likely seen it used more frequently as of late. Creating a watch party allows you and your Facebook friends to collectively enjoy a prerecorded or live video together. Consider rewatching the last family reunion, wedding or other in-person celebratory events with family and friends. Or, encourage interactivity by organizing a yoga, cardio or another type of physical-related watch party.
From school bandmates to professional musicians, many music makers are uniting over online platforms to serenade fellow frustrated friends stuck at home.
Multiple book clubs have made a fairly seamless transition to virtual platforms, but you don’t have to have an established group to get started. Since more social distancing has opened the door for more reading, why not organize a virtual book club now?
Pictionary, charades, Monopoly, card games — the options are limitless! Challenge your friend groups to a friendly and/or competitive game using Zoom or FaceTime. There is even an online version of Cards Against Humanity.
Whether it’s a group painting party, a drawing class or other artistic gathering, free virtual artistic entertaining appears to be in abundance. For example, Berkeley University of California (artstudio.berkeley.edu) is offering ongoing Drawing Fundamentals with Danny classes on Zoom. Participants learn to draw with pencil and paper.
As long as you have Google Chrome for your computer or laptop, you can still Netflix and chill with the Netflix Party feature (Netflixparty.com).
Together, you and your friends can watch favorite binge-worthy series and movies, complete with group chat options.
Prior to arranging a virtual party, Meghan Gardner, director of Guard Up’s Guardian Adventures, suggests aiming for 10 participants (GuardUp.com). “With more informal gatherings like a movie binge group, smaller groups are better because the shared experience is more important than meeting new people,” she said.
And depending on the platform you’re using, it’s a good idea to check for any time restrictions. Zoom, for example, currently offers free online gatherings up to 40 minutes. Anything above requires a paid subscription.