We’ve been forced to come up with new and creative ways to keep in touch with loved ones, and to keep ourselves entertained during lockdown.
While many are making use of apps such as Zoom and Houseparty for pub quizzes and occasional get-togethers, there are many other virtual activities you can do with pals, like this lot…
1. Video games
Lockdown restrictions have made it easier for gamers who never normally step foot out of the house to play guilt-free. For those with a games console, playing a game with a friend who may live down the road or 1,000 miles away is as easy as clicking a button.
People who aren’t big fans of traditional video games can try their hand at multiplayer games available on most app stores. There are hundreds of games to choose from, from classics such as Mario Kart, to new favourites including Cards Against Humanity.
2. Netflix Party
The timely-launched Netflix Party allows users to stream TV shows and movies with friends and family.
The extension on Google Chrome also includes a chatroom for users to talk to one another, or you can have a separate video or voice app working in the background.
It’s especially useful for coordinating a virtual party, as it synchronises the show or film for everyone with a link, so if one person hits the pause button, it will pause for others too.
3. Cooking classes
Many have taken up cooking as a hobby, with some showing off their newfound prowess in the kitchen by posting pictures of freshly baked sourdough and banana bread. But making cooking a shared experience has never been easier with video apps to help you and your friends bake together.
There are also online cooking classes with chefs around the world, including famous faces such as Jamie Oliver, which allow groups to join and cook together.
4. Wine and beer tasting
If you want to learn more about your favourite tipple, online classes with friends could make a good social event.
Some wine companies, such as the aptly-named Grape Night In, are offering hosted virtual tasting sessions for groups. If beer is more your thing, you can join the Beer Bods club which is hosting live tastings on social media every Thursday at 9pm.
For those wanting to try their hand at hosting their own tasting, there are plenty of online guides with tips and tricks.
5. Book club
Now is as good a time as any to wind down with a good book. While there are plenty of existing book clubs you can join, hosting your own over a video chat is simple – the most difficult part is deciding what book to discuss with your mates.
While we’re allowed to exercise outdoors, why not keep motivated by working out with friends at home? Having a workout buddy is a great way to touch base with a friend on a regular basis, while simultaneously staying active.
Video calling makes it easier for multiple people to exercise together, be it a rigorous Zumba class or a chilled out yoga session.
If you’re living on your own or are self-isolating, lonesome dinners will only serve to bore you further. A virtual dinner with friends can be fun, especially when you make a meal of it by adding candles and fancy wine.
Pubs and bars may be closed but that should not stop you from enjoying some karaoke. It may require a little technical know-how to navigate between a video chat and karaoke versions of songs on YouTube, but once that is out of the way, you are ready to sing to your heart’s content.
9. PowerPoint party
In pre-pandemic life, no one would have thought a fun activity could be had with a PowerPoint presentation. But a nifty feature on Zoom promises exactly that. Users can prepare a presentation on the app about something they are interested in or care about, and present their PowerPoint to friends.
The idea is for the presentation to be funny and entertaining, and the list of possible subjects is endless. Social media users have shared their PowerPoint party ideas online, with suggestions including Netflix’s Tiger King and “ranking the soundtrack to Toy Story 2”.
10. Arts and crafts
We challenge you to recreate a work of art with objects (and people) in your home.
🥇 Choose your favorite artwork
🥈 Find three things lying around your house⠀
🥉 Recreate the artwork with those items
There is no excuse not to get creative and make things during the pandemic. Challenge a friend to a DIY project using only supplies found in your home, or create a drawing or painting challenge inspired by a topic.
If stuck for ideas, there are plenty of artsy challenges doing the rounds on social media, such as the Getty Museum challenge, in which people recreate famous artwork using household items and dressing up.