In these prolonged days of sheltering in place, keeping in touch with friends and family from a distance has become more important than ever. Here are some creative ways to connect with those who are near and dear to our hearts while we must remain physically distant.
Joy in a Box
Send a “just because” care package to someone who means a lot to you. The post office is still open, and everyone loves receiving gifts in the mail.
Maybe some old photos of you and your loved one together, some dried flowers from the garden, a favorite book you think they would enjoy, and some snacks? Crossword puzzles, coloring pages, stickers, stationary, and fun magazines?
Remember to include a letter or note to tell them how much you miss them.
Now is an excellent time to use videoconferencing to connect with old friends you may normally be too busy to keep up with. My long-distance friends have been meeting weekly for a virtual hang out session on Zoom. (You don’t need to pay for a Zoom account. As far as other videochat software, Google Hangouts is free, as is Jitsi.)
If you need inspiration to get the conversation rolling, start with a simple ice breaker – like sharing your day’s rose (a highlight), thorn (a challenge you experienced) and bud (something you are working on or are looking forward to learning more about.)
Let the Gaming Begin
When you have chatted and processed your feelings together to your heart’s content, break out the games! There are many free versions of classic board games available online, like Scattergories! Just visit the site and share your screen to get started. There are also dozens of board games available to play for free with friends or with strangers on Board Game Arena.
Play an old school game like charades—use your imagination to think of a person, place, or thing and act it out without talking and see if your friends can guess it.
Download Houseparty, a free video chat app with built-in games like trivia and heads-up.
A fun alternative to gaming is to recruit some friends to do a virtual table read of a screenplay. My friends and I chose the original Jurassic Park movie to read aloud, but any movie with lots of dialog would be a good choice. Screenplays are freely available online just by doing a simple internet search!
Kanopy and Chill
Watch a movie with your friends, either together or on your own time. Countdown to pressing “play” together (1,2,3, play!) and watch and laugh along to your favorite comedy.
If you already subscribe to Netflix, they have a Netflix Party app that makes this process easy. For a high-quality free alternative, use your library card and pick an arthouse movie or documentary on Kanopy to watch on your own time and find a time to discuss it later.
All you need is some paints and a canvas or paper! Find an online painting tutorial (maybe a Bob Ross landscape video?) and paint along with your friends together using Netflix Party app or just watch a YouTube video and use the platform of your choice to video chat.
If you love entertaining, why not host a virtual dinner party?
Pick a small group of pals, or even just one friend, and decide what you would like to make together. Send out the recipe in advance so you can cook the same thing. If cooking is not your thing, order takeout from the same restaurant.
It could be a time to dress up in that cool new outfit you haven’t had a chance to debut, or just wear your coziest sweatpants!
Written by: April
Editing and formatting: Ana